Book Review: Old Story New by Marty Machowski


Family devotions are a tricky thing for a lot of families:

Where do you start? What are the best resources to use? 

When we were looking for something to for our family to use, we were recommended Marty Machowski’s Long Story Shortten-minute devotionals taking families through the Old Testament and connecting it all to Jesus.

For the better part of a year now, we’ve been working our way through this devotional and it’s been a fantastic experience (aside from, unfortunately, learning that some of the imagination exercises make our oldest daughter cry). But as we’ve been trekking through the Old Testament, in the back of my mind, I’ve been wondering what resources are available to look a little more in-depth at the New.

That’s one of the many reasons I’m excited about Machowski’s follow-up, Old Story New: Ten-Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family to God.

Those familiar with Long Story Short will find Old Story New very comfortable. Each 5-day lesson looks at a particular portion of the New Testament (from Matthew through Revelation), with two days of initial examination, day three connecting it to the gospel, day four completing the lesson, and day five taking you to one of the Psalms or the Prophets to see what we can learn about Jesus.

This lesson plan is hugely helpful because, while it should be obvious that the gospel is about Jesus, it leads to some tremendously helpful conversations. For example, recently, we were looking at Matthew 2:7-21, where we read that Herod planned to kill Jesus as a toddler, but an angel of the Lord warned Joseph to flee until Herod’s death (and fulfilling multiple Old Testament prophecies in the process).

The question that gave us pause as we read as “Why did God prevent Jesus being killed as a baby, but allow it when he was a man?”

Think about it:

Theoretically, Jesus could have been killed when he was two. In fact, he could have died at any number of points in his earthly life. But he didn’t until the exact moment appointed for him. Why?

Because he had to fulfill all righteousness. In order for Jesus to be the perfect sacrifice we require to pay for our sins, he needed to live under the Law. He needed to keep the Law perfectly. This would have required him living well into adulthood. Our sin could not have been atoned for by baby Jesus, toddler Jesus or preteen Jesus—it had to be the man, Jesus Christ, who would bear the punishment for our sins.

This is dinner conversation at the Armstrong house.

(Yeah, we’re kinda weird.)

One of the things families will need to consider when looking at a resource like Old Story New is how much time they want to devote to using one book or series of books. Combined, Long Story Short and Old Story New represent a three-year long journey through Genesis all the way to Revelation. Think about it this way: When we started these devotionals, Abigail was four-years-old; when we’re done, she’ll be seven. This is a little less than half her life we’re talking about!

It’s a big commitment, but it’s one we’re all-in for.

We want our kids to have a solid understanding of the Scriptures—not to just know stories or good moral lessons, but to know how everything connects to Jesus. We’re glad to have Old Story New be a part of that process. I hope it’ll be a part of it for your family, too.

Title: Old Story New: Ten-Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family to God

Title: Marty Machowski
Publisher: New Growth Press (2012)

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  • Kevin Brock

    As a family, we just finished Long Story Short and it was great. How would Old Story New help our devotional times? It will continue our long-held tradition of my boys shouting out which prophet or Psalm we’ll be looking at on Fridays and continue to draw us closer to God!

  • Julie Desch Brenneman

    It would give us a foundation as we begin seeking to infuse the gospel into all we do.

  • Amber

    This book would help our family devotion times, because we don’t have family devotion times yet!

    • Aaron Armstrong

      Then it definitely would go a long way to helping, wouldn’t it?

    • Aaron Armstrong

      And good news – you’re one of the winners!

  • Cindy Wolfshohl

    “Old Story New” would help our family devotional time by helping us to focus on how the Old Testament totally points to Jesus!

  • Adam Jones

    We would love to have Old Story New for our family devotional time. Our family devotions have been sporadic and this book would help lead our time together.

  • Katie D.

    I’m not married, so I don’t have a family. But after working at a preschool, babysitting and serving in children’s ministry at church, I would love another resource that will help me preach the gospel to the children I minister to.

  • Chris Canuel

    We’ve been going through the Jesus Story Book Bible, and this looks like it would be just as helpful…I’d love to have it, and start giving our (kids)family another perspective…maybe even a deeper perspective.

  • Dave

    i started a devotional blog for my kids. my plan was to do 365 devotions on the blog but i have missed a few as you may see. even though i have only 20 entries right now i have the hardest time coming up with topics. this book would help tremendously. my blog is “”. if you do look at it please excuse all the grammatical errors, there are many…

  • David Wagner

    This book will help my family the same way the last book did. It gives structure to the family devotion and depth when needed.

    • Aaron Armstrong

      Thanks David! You’re one of the winners!

      • David Wagner

        Awesome!!! Best news all day! Do you need my information?

        • Aaron Armstrong

          Yep—just sent you an email asking for your details

  • Ryan Higginbottom

    My children are 5 and 1, and we’ve been going through the Gospel Story Bible, also by Machowski. (The cover art is unmistakably by the same artist!) This book would be a great resource for my family when the kids are a little bit older, I think.

    By the way, Aaron, what age group do you think these devotionals are aimed at? The Gospel Story Bible has been great for our 5 year old. I assume these would skew slightly older, yes?

    • Aaron Armstrong

      These devotionals are great really beginning around age five. Before that, it might be a bit too much.

  • Christie Huff

    We are currently using “Long Story Short” so this will help us to seemlessly move from the OT to the NT when we are done. We have started using it with our 5 year old and it goes along with the Marty M sunday school curriculum that our church uses so it reinforces what he is learning there. Our 3 year old sits in, listens, and can answer some questions as well (we usually encourage our 22 month old to go to the play room b/c he is just abig ball of distraction right now) and we our excited to keep using this for years with all of our children (the three boys and the baby due in December) as they grow and even the oldest will glean more each year/time through it (plus WE are learning from it too!). Sorry, for rambling and thank you!

  • Erik & Christie Huff

    Have enjoyed using Long Story Short (though it seems shorter when my wife leads the devotions compared to when I do!) and so I am excited for this additional resource. It will be great to be able to work through the whole story of redemption in the bible year after year.

    • Erik & Christie Huff

      Hmmm, looks like I am 4 hours too late! Oh well. Thanks anyway!

      • Aaron Armstrong

        No worries! Sorry you didn’t make it in in time!

  • Ben Thorp

    Another one to go on the wishlist. I’m behind on my blog reading, so I only just read this, and I was hoping that the typo in the competition end date was the 11th rather than the Thursday :( Oh well.

    Would you recommend starting with Long Story Short first? Or does it not really matter?

    • Aaron Armstrong

      I’d recommend starting with Long Story Short, although it doesn’t really matter that much. If you want to be adventurous, you could always do Long Story Short in the morning and Old Story New in the evening :)

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