“The very Word of God itself, which is a lamp to our feet, and a light to our path, can’t save us from many a tumble if we don’t use it aright, and let the light shine on our daily life, helping us in its smallest duties and cares. Remember this, my little Mary.”
How very true are the words of Mary’s mother in the book we are reviewing today, Mary Jones and Her Bible. We are so blessed at this time in North America to have abundant access to the word of God. However, if we don’t use it to influence our thoughts, words and everyday deeds, then even that access may not be the blessing it should be.
One method that our family has used to hide God’s word in our hearts is to sing Psalms during our worship time. In the Methodist church of Wales, in the 18th century, their church singing was drawn from the metrical book of Psalms which Mary Ropes refers to several times in Mary Jones and Her Bible. We have used various versions of the Scottish Psalter to learn new pieces. Our post on Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs is a good place to start if you are looking for resources on psalm singing.
Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy our review of Mary Jones and Her Bible as much as I enjoyed reading it in preparation for this post.
- Title: Mary Jones and Her Bible
- Author: Mary E. Ropes
- Publisher: Lamplighter Publishing
- Genre: Historical Fiction
- Number of Pages: 167
- Theme: Life in small town Wales in 1790’s
- Age Range: 6-11 *see the last paragraph of this review for a qualification
- Links: Lamplighter Publishing
Summary of Mary Jones and Her Bible
“Remember, Mary, when the multitude that waited on the Saviour were hungry, the Lord did not send them away empty, though no one saw how they were to be fed; and He’ll take care you get the bread of life too, for all it seems so unlikely now.”
The poor, uneducated daughter of the town weavers had always found Bible stories entrancing, occupying many a Sunday on her father’s knee as he told the stories he remembered learning in his youth. She desired greatly to learn more, but there was no Bible in their frugal home even if she had been able to read. Her neighbor, kind Mrs. Evans, invited her to come to their farm, two miles away, to study from their Bible as soon as she learned how to read.
Alas, for poor Mary, there was no school nearby that she could attend even if her many daily duties would have allowed her time to do so. She contented herself by spending her few moments of relaxation envisioning Bible scenes in the rugged but beautiful Welsh landscape around her, and dreaming of a day when she could afford to buy a Bible of her own.
It was not a very likely event for one who could not even read, and even more unlikely at this time in the late 1700’s when Bibles in Wales were scarce and expensive. Through a charming series of events, Mary not only gained the opportunity to expand her education, but influenced the entire country of Wales by her unending desire to have a Bible for her very own.
SAW Rating System
- Good Qualities – 4.5/5
- Great Qualities – 3/5
Items of Note
- Romance and morality—No issues
- Disturbing content—No issues
- Language—No issues
- Alcohol and drug use—A Christian man gives up pipe smoking to set aside money for the poor.
- Spiritual content— Mary’s family attends a Methodist church in Wales and her faith is the central theme of the story.
- Family roles and Behavior—No issues
- Mature subject matter—No issues
Mary Jones and Her Bible is based on the true account of the birth of the British and Foreign Bible Society. The first seven chapters stand alone as the story of Mary Jones and her Bible and would be considered historical fiction. The final three chapters focus on what happened to Mary in later life and how the Bible Society actually came about, written in the style of a journalistic report.
The story itself gives a wonderful portrayal of Welsh life in the 1700’s as well as a worthy example of childhood character and perseverance. Mary might be seen as too perfect by some; however, her unusual circumstances probably caused her to grow up much more rapidly than today’s children. The final chapters are informative and interesting, but somewhat drier than the story, hence our rating of 3/5 for great qualities.
Similarly to our reviews of Little King Davie and The Courage of Nikolai, we feel that Lamplighter has placed this book at a much younger reading level than we would find suitable. There are no mature or disturbing issues, but the final chapters are really written more to an adult audience than to that of a 6 year old. Many of the spiritual lessons learned by Mary will be much more relevant to an older child as well. There is no danger in reading this book to younger children, but you shouldn’t be surprised if it is not fully engaging for that age range.
If you have read Mary Jones and Her Bible and enjoyed it, click over to our review of The Courage of Nikolai, also written by Mary E. Ropes, but a totally different style of book.
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