For as long as I can remember, I have loved reading the Word of God. As a young child, I remember the wonder of flipping through picture books that included stories of how God created the world, how Noah built an Ark to save his family and the animals from the great flood, and how Jesus came into the world to save mankind because He loved all of us that much.
As a school girl, I remember eagerly purchasing my first New Testament and reading it from cover to cover until it became dog-eared. As a young woman, I remember excitedly choosing my very first Bible and rushing home to read it each day after work after I committed my life to Christ.
Now, as I share my faith with the next generation, I want to instill in them the same life-long passion and enthusiasm for getting to know God through the power of His Holy Word that I remember having since my youth!
In Romans 10:17, the Bible teaches us that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.
How then, can we as parents excite our children about the Bible and inspire them to faithfully read God’s Word – particularly as they enter their impressionable tween and teen years, when the temptation to succumb to peer pressure and worldly influences often outweighs the desire to pursue the things of God?
Finding the right Bible for our children – one that meets them wherever they are, intellectually engages them and spiritually challenges them to grow – is a great place to start!
Here are a few ideas that our family finds helpful when it comes to selecting the right Bible for our children and keeping them grounded in God’s Word!
- Explore age-appropriate Bibles that address your child’s spiritual needs and interests. As adults, we have been taught not to judge a book by its cover – but picking a plain, no-frills budget Bible is probably not the best choice for your child! Children are drawn to books that will visually hold their interest, so make sure that the Bible you select for them has great graphic appeal, inside and out.
- Evaluate the translation. Choose a Bible that is easy for your child to read and understand. Today, there are a number of accurate and reliable translations available that are written with readers of all ages in mind. More dynamic/functional translations (which focus on interpreting the overall meaning of a passage) may be easier for young children to read than more literal, word-for-word translations (which we can give our children as their vocabularies expand and they spiritually mature).
- Examine the Bible and assess any supplemental material that the editors present alongside the text. Ask the following questions, then select the Bible with the features are most suitable for our children:– Does this Bible include any devotional material that will spiritually nurture our children?– Does this Bible include any study material that will help our children to interpret and understand what they are reading?– Does this Bible include any application notes that will help our children incorporate the Biblical lessons they are learning into their everyday lives?– Does this Bible include space for them to journal and record what they are learning so that they can discover how God speaks to them through His Word?
One Bible that’s particularly well suited for tweens is the NIrV Kids’ Devotional Bible. This Bible is designed to help children develop the life-long habit of spending devotional time with God! Because this Bible is different from many of the other children’s Bibles that I’ve seen, I’d like to take a moment to share a few of the features that make it so special.
- The NIrV Kids’ Devotional Bible contains the full text of the New International Reader’s Version translation – a simplified version of the popular New International Version (NIV) translation that is specifically written for children who are just learning to read, as well as adults who have trouble understanding what they read and adults who are learning English as their second language. The NIrV translation is a great choice to consider – one that prepares our kids to move to a more complex translation such as the NIV as they grow!
- The NIrV Kids’ Devotional Bible contains more than 300 engaging devotions and fun-filled weekend activities that will pique kids’ curiosity, stimulate their intellect, and challenge them to spiritually mature and to live out their faith. The devotions are inspiring and encourage our kids to dig deeper into God’s Word!
- What I like most about the NIrV Kids’ Devotional Bible is that it encourages our children to interact with their Bibles. This Bible includes illustrations for them to color and little check-boxes for them to mark once they’ve completed their devotional readings. This Bible also contains resources like a Dictionary and a Subject Guide at the back of the book. As we teach our children to look things up when they need more information on a topic, we plant the seeds for them to learn how to use external tools like Bible Concordances and Bible Dictionaries in the future!
Here’s a look inside…
Of course, the most important way in which we inspire our children to develop good Bible study habits and establish a meaningful devotional time is by setting a good example for them. As we personally feed on God’s Word, engage in family Bible activities and discussions, and live out our faith in a vibrant way, we do our part as parents to ensure that our children’s faith is built on a firm foundation – one that they will not depart from as they grow older.
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What features do you look for when selecting a Bible for your children? What activities do you like to share with them to encourage them to read God’s Word? Please share your thoughts in the comments and have a blessed day!