Behold the Lamb: An Introduction to the Signs and Symbols of the Church

Ok. I have a number of similar reviews coming up. Basically, they’re books I’ve been wanting for my kids and happily received for Christmas. 🙂 First in line is Behold the Lamb: An Introduction to the Signs and Symbols of the Church by LCMS Deaconess and Editor Pam Nielsen.

Behold the Lamb Review

This is an excellent book, really highlighting Deac. Pam Nielsen’s ability to grasp and work with children and their religious instruction.

Behold the Lamb is a book for all ages. It introduces many of the most basic signs and symbols used in the historic church and ties them to the teaching of the Word. Ideal for family use or coffee table reference, watercolors and calligraphy let us feast our eyes even as we ask, “What are symbols?” (That’s literally a question that sets up the rest of the content.)

The book includes:

  • Symbols about God
  • Symbols about God the Father
  • Symbols of the Old Testament
  • Symbols of God the Son
  • The Cross (or should I say crosses! :))
  • The Holy Spirit
  • The Word of God
  • The Sacrament of Holy Baptism
  • The Office of the Keys
  • The Sacrament of the Altar
  • Prayers
  • Advent (including the seven O Antiphons)
  • Christmas
  • Epiphany
  • Symbols of our Lord’s Passion
  • Easter
  • Evangelists and Apostles (I really, really appreciate that these were included!)
  • Luther’s Rose

The signs and symbols are informative and reflective, but neither exhaustive or exhausting. Vocabulary terms include sacrifice, altar, sacraments, triune, nave, nimbus (so some art words), ICHTHUS, etc. Solid terms that anyone from elementary age on can learn and master, mostly common with a few more specialized inclusions. Really, the glossary in the back makes a very helpful list of vocabulary for kids, catechumens, and other new members to learn.

Some liturgical and church year elements are treated briefly, and things such as paraments and vestments are explained.

Lutherans will particularly appreciate the holistic nature of each treatment: introductory, yes, but still substantial. There are definite catechetical elements, such as treating all six chief parts (law, creed, prayer, Baptism, Lord’s Supper, Office of the Keys) and the Gospel is well proclaimed.

Overall, it’s just a wonderful tool to walk through many of the major elements of historic Christianity. Great for elementary through adult introduction, catechumen instruction, new member classes, baptismal gifts, church libraries, family devotions, and coffee tables. Perhaps best enjoyed with two similar books, to be reviewed throughout this week. 🙂

Happy reading & writing!

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