If you’ve stepped into a bookstore lately to purchase a Bible you’ve probably noticed how very many choices exist. And while a vast selection of Bibles is a wonderful option to have, it can also be very overwhelming.
I’ve spoken to countless parents who have gone into a bookstore to purchase a Bible for their child but have left empty handed- not because they couldn’t find a Bible they liked but because they found too many!
And out of fear of buying the wrong kind of Bible, they just simply didn’t buy a Bible at all.
This is why I’ve partnered with Zondervan to launch their “How to Choose a Bible Campaign.”
And this is why I’ve dedicated an entire chapter in my book, Parenting the Wholehearted Child, to leading parents in engaging their children in buying and reading the Bible.
Our hope is to empower parents in choosing a Bible that is right for their children- because a key element in engaging our children in Scripture reading is using a Bible to which they can relate. And our hope is to encourage parents in how they approach the Bible with their children — because a parents’ attitude about reading the Bible has a profound impact on their kids’ desire to read Scripture.
Oh how important it is that we remember that God’s Word is not primarily about us and what we should be doing. It’s about God and what He has already done through Christ Jesus. Reading the Bible with our children through that lens changes everything!
We are so passionate about encouraging parents to read the Bible with their children because reading God’s Word is one of the primary ways our children will come to know the heart of God.
This isn’t about making the Bible come alive for our kids. It already is alive and powerful (Hebrews 4:12). In the words of R.C. Sproul, “I can’t make the Bible come alive for anyone. The Bible is already alive. It makes me come alive.”
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This is about finding a Bible to which your six month old, or your six year old, or your sixteen year old can relate.
And we want to come alongside you to help you narrow your options, make informed choices, and find the right Bible for the children in your life!
So let’s begin with just a few of the questions parents can ask themselves when they are comparing different Bible options:
- What is my child’s age/ reading level?
- For what purpose will my child use this Bible?
- Do we have a translation preference?
- Does my child prefer items specific to their gender?
- Is my child drawn to realistic images or cartoon style images?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you can narrow down your choices to either a Storybook Bible or a Full Text Bible.
A Storybook Bible is a shortened, storybook style adaptation of the Bible that may include scripture references, photos, or illustrations. This Bible is ideal for preschoolers, pre-readers, and newly independent readers.
A Full Text Bible is a full version of the Bible which features special supplemental devotional or learning elements. Full Text Bibles are ideal for new readers to adult readers. The most widely used translations of Full Text Bibles are the NIV and the NIrV.
To further explore which Bible is best for your child, you will find answers to the rest of your questions a www.ChooseKidsBibles.com.
And here’s the good news! It is never too early and it is never too late to start reading God’s word with your kids.
Did you know that 90% of a child’s brain is developed by the time they are five years old?
Children’s brains are little sponges, waiting to absorb the truths about God’s great love for them. These stories teach our children that the Creator of the universe made them and loves them and is intimately involved in every detail of their lives. The stories reveal God’s faithfulness, His greatness, His goodness, and His grace. The Bible reminds our children that there is no detail too big or too small for our God. And most wonderfully, all of these stories point our children to the one great story woven from the very first to the very last sentence in the Bible — the story of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and His life, death, resurrection, ascension, and His coming again.
While our young children cannot fully appreciate all the story has to offer, we must trust the story and the power of God’s Word. We are planting the seeds and the story will grow in meaning for them as they grow in their understanding of the gospel.
For example, several years ago, on one of the first beautiful days of summer, I packed up our cooler with lots of snacks and drinks and I took all three of our young boys to the beach. We arrived at our usual spot with our beach toys, balls, and fishing nets. And while I focused on making sure Owen, my two-year-old, didn’t drown in the ocean, which he was desperately trying to do, my seven-year-old son, Cal, found a group of friends and quickly joined in the quest to build the best sand castle on the beach.
Brennan, however, ran straight for the water’s edge, began throwing heaps of sand into the ocean, flexing his little muscles, and yelling, “Take that, you Philistines — I will defeat you!”
While I’m sure some people were looking at five-year-old Brennan like he’d gone mad, I couldn’t have been more proud. I knew exactly what Brennan was doing — he was pretending to be David defeating the Philistines in God’s strength. He was acting out his favorite story in the Bible, the story of a young boy who became an unlikely hero when he fought and defeated the seemingly undefeatable giant Goliath — a story in the Old Testament that sets the stage for another, greater hero (Jesus) who would soon come to defeat an even bigger giant (sin and death). Indeed, God’s powerful Word can penetrate tender little hearts.
As we come alongside our children in reading God’s word and planting seeds of faith in their hearts, we will be so beautifully reminded of what the Lord says in Isaiah 55:11, “My word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
Open those Bibles, friends. Let it surprise you. Let it wreck you. Let it empower you. Let it heal you. There is so much grace, so much hope, and so much freedom just waiting for us and our children in God’s Word.
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What are some methods you’ve used to introduce your children to Scripture? Join the conversation on the blog. We would love to hear from you!