Tuesday, February 18, 2014

What is the Difference Between Children's Bibles? How Do I Choose?

At the time of this post, there are 85 posts on this blog with the label of Bible.  The majority of these posts are reviews.  That is a lot of new Bibles!  Paraphrase, picture Bibles.  Story Bibles, theme Bibles.  So many choices. 

But which Bible is right for your child?

Here is how I mentally separate the Bibles and my experience with each:

Picture Bible - This Bible includes large illustrations with stories that are shortened but the main points are still provided.  The Bible typically includes scripture references.  Some include 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 Toddler - 4 Years)

Story Bible - Similar to a Picture Bible with its large pictures, this option differs in the stories.  Being a story Bible, the authors add descriptions or specifics 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. (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.  The wording has been simplified from the traditional translations adults use but the context remains the same.  These Bibles are for children who are reading well and often times follow a theme such as the The VeggieTales Bible. The theme generates images and allows for key points to be noted.  The New International Reader's Version is a popular version.  (Best for elementary age)

So many options!

When choosing a children's Bible for your family, I encourage you to think about the following points:
  • How will be the Bible be used?
    Will it be the child's main Bible or is it for supplemental purposes?  It is my opinion that the child's main Bible should be spot-on with the Scriptures, without added fluff.  This way, the child has a bases of Bible stories that is accurate. |
  • 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 on using it as the child's main Bible.  How many times do we assume something is in the Bible when it isn't because of a story we heard or a (Veggie Tale) movie we saw?  The Christmas story is a great example of this as the Wise Men weren't even at the manger.  I want our children to know the stories and not the extras. 

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 to children, making it age appropriate, biblically accurate, and applicable is key.

What is your favorite Children's Bible?

Disclaimer:  The views in this blog and suggested ages of each type of Bible are my opinion. 

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