Have you ever done a search for Children’s Bibles on Amazon? There are a lot of options! Paraphrase and picture Bibles. Story Bibles and theme Bibles.
But which Bible is right for your child? The answer depends on the age of your child and your goal when reading the Bible.
Here is how I separate the various options and the target age for each:
Picture Bible – This Bible includes large illustrations with stories that are shortened but the main points are provided in child-like terms. Most include scripture references. Some add comprehension questions and memory verses. The condensed stories do not add to the Bible story except for basic understanding. For little ones, the Picture Bible is the closest representation of the Bible. The Beginner’s Bible: Timeless Children’s Stories would be an example. Toddler versions are available as well. (Best for Toddler – 4 Years)
Story Bible – Similar to the Picture Bible with its large pictures, the Story Bible differs in how it tells the Scripture. Being a story Bible, the author adds descriptions or details to the Bible stories that may or may not have happened. Often time the additions add color or depth to the characters or situation. The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name is a favorite in many homes. Veggie Tales would be the animated example of a Story Bible. (Best for Preschoolers – Early Elementary)
Beginner’s Bible – Bibles in this category contain books, chapters, and verses like a “real” Bible. But, verses which are not relevant to the story are skipped. Similar to the picture and story Bible, only key Bible stories are represented. These Bibles, such as the My First Hands-On Bible, are a cross between the picture Bible and Children’s Bible. (Best for ages 4-6)
Children’s Bible – A Children’s Bible is written with books, chapters, and verses. Typically they are written in translations that are easier to understand (i.e. The New International Version, The New International Reader’s Version, The Living Bible) but the context remains the same. These Bibles are for children who are reading well and include a theme of ideas such as with the The Investigator’s Holy Bible. The theme generates images and allows for key points to be noted. (Best for elementary age)
Here are a few points to consider when choosing a Children’s Bible:
- How will be the Bible be used? Will it be the child’s main Bible or is it for supplemental purposes?
- Does the children’s Bible accurately paraphrase the Scriptures without adding assumptions or subtracting important information?
- Is the added information in the stories to help the child understand the Bible story or does it provide unbiblical addition?
- Is scripture reference included with the stories so that the child begins to recognize the books of the Bible?
- Do the illustrations draw in the child or are the details overwhelming?
- Is the Bible written in a way that the child can easily understand and recall the Bible stories?
- For older children, does the Bible theme aid in the application process?
One word of caution. While the Story Bible has its place, I would caution you in using it as the child’s main Bible. How many times do we assume something is in the Bible because of a story we read or a Veggie Tale DVD we saw? The Christmas story is a great example of this as the Wise Men weren’t even at the manger. While there is a place for these (and I’m a huge fan), I want our children to first know the stories and not the additions made by the authors to create a more exciting story.
I also believe that it is very important for a child to have a Bible of his/her own. Although Bible stories are readily available on the internet for free, I encourage you to spend the few dollars to give your child a Bible to hold, to take to church, and to sit on his/her night stand.
While reading the Bible is important, for the most learning and retention make sure that the Bible is age appropriate, accurate, and applicable.
Read my favorite children’s Bibles for each age…
It’s time for a giveaway! Appealing to kiddos who love science, want to use a magnifying glass, and like to put clues together, Zonderkidz has just released the NIV Investigator’s Holy Bible. 6-10 year old children are invited to investigate the Bible using the following pullouts to break down the learning. Evidence—Bible book introductions answer what kind of book it is, who wrote it, what happens, and the “best part”
Breakthrough—answers questions kids might ask, such as “Who were the Philistines?” and “What is The Spirit of God?”
Scene—includes descriptions highlighting geographical information pertinent to a verse
Witness—explains the meaning and history behind Biblical names
Detective—quizzes students on what they have learned
Case Closed—explores how the events of a particular book of the Bible relate to children as individuals I am so thankful to Zonderkids for providing a giveaway of this fun Children’s Bible! To enter, click on the rectangular image below. This giveaway will end on Monday February 20th @ 12:00 p.m (CST). Winner will be announced Tuesday February 21st on this blog so be sure to come back and see if you have won!
One entry per household, US residence only. Click to read our Giveaway Rules.