Have you ventured into the world of children’s Bibles on Amazon or Christianbook.com? The sheer multitude of options can be overwhelming – paraphrase Bibles, picture Bibles. story Bibles, and theme Bibles, just to name a few. Yet the burning question remains: Which Bible is the perfect fit for my child?
The answer hinges on both your child’s age and your goal when reading the Bible.
In this post and podcast, we’ll navigate through the maze of choices, helping you discern the distinct characteristics of each type and matching them with the appropriate age group. Let’s unravel the world of Children’s Bibles and find the perfect one for your young kiddos.
▼ Jump to Listen to Episode #47: Finding the Best Children’s Bible for Your Child ▼
A Picture Bible is a resource designed for children ages toddler to 4-years of age. They are characterized by large illustrations paired with condensed stories written in a language easily understood by children. Many of these editions incorporate scripture references with some including comprehension questions and memory verses. These abbreviated stories add details only to maximize the understanding. The Beginner’s Bible: Timeless Children’s Stories is an example of this style, with toddler versions available as well.
Much like the Picture Bible, the Story Bible captivates young readers with its abundant visuals. However, it distinguishes itself in the way it presents Scripture. As a storytelling book, the author introduces descriptions or details to the Bible narratives sometimes embellishing with elements that may or may not have occurred. These creative additions infuse color or depth into the characters or situation. The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name is a favorite in many homes, while Veggie Tales would be an animated example of a Story Bible. This resource is best for preschool to early elementary ages. My Story Bible and the Big Picture Story Bible are my favorite options.
Bibles falling into this category contain the familiar structure of books, chapters, and verses found in a traditional “real” Bible. However, only pertinent verses to the story are included. Those verses found to be extra or not appropriate for younger listeners are simply omitted. Much like Picture and Story Bibles, only key Bible stories are included in Beginner’s Bibles. Suggested for ages 4-6, these Bibles strike a balance between the visual richness of the Picture Bible and the scripture-focused Children’s Bible. My favorite is the My First Hands-On Bible,
A Children’s Bible maintains the structure of an adult Bible with books, chapters, and verses. Without changing the content, these Bibles are found in translations that are easier for young readers to understand and begin reading (i.e. The New International Version, The New International Reader’s Version, The Living Bible). Children’s Bibles feature thematic elements like adventure, science, and boy or girl-focused topics. Here are some examples: The Investigator’s Holy Bible, The Adventure Bible, The Explorer Bible, The Ultimate Bible for Girls. The theme is woven into the cover, graphics, charts, and highlighted points provided throughout the pages. This category is well-suited for elementary-aged children who are seeking a deeper engagement with Scripture.
Critical Considerations for Selecting a Children’s Bible
Consider these points when choosing a Children’s Bible:
- Will the Bible be used as the child’s main Bible or 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?
Three Children’s Bibles Points of Caution
#1 – While the Story Bible certainly has its value, I would caution you when considering it as the primary source of a child’s biblical education. It’s easy to assume certain elements are in the Bible because we’ve encountered them in books or animated adaptations like Veggie Tales or radio dramas like Adventures in Odyssey. The Christmas story is a prime example of this, where the Wise Men are frequently seen in the manger. While these adaptations have their place (and I’m a huge fan of them myself), my foremost desire is for our children to know the truth of the stories before encountering the creative embellishments introduced by the authors to create a more dramatic storyline.
#2 – I wholeheartedly believe that a child should own a physical Bible. Although Bible stories are easily assessable online or in apps, having a tangible Bible that they can claim as their own makes a profound significance in the child’s life. For only a few dollars, the child can carry this Bible to church, place it on his nightstand, and read during free time.
#3 – While having a Bible is a crucial aspect of spiritual development, for maximize learning and retention the Bible must be read. So, explore my investigate for yourself which of the above Bibles will be best for your home and classroom. Then make it a habit to read these Bibles to your child, grandchildren, or students as frequently as you can.
And just in time for Christmas, gift a quality Children’s Bible to the kiddos in your life to inspire and nurture the child’s spiritual growth for years to come.
#47: Finding the Best Children’s Bible for Your Child
Listen for more tips or read the transcript.
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