A Bible is not an expensive purchase, but it is one of the most valuable purchases you’ll ever make. It’s God’s self-revelation and it’s written in our language to a population that is literate. We really have no excuses! So, what goes into choosing a Bible that will last you for years and will help your children as their vocabulary grows? What I think you will find is that you will purchase one Bible for yourself and one for your child, but you will use both, frequently, I hope! Let’s look at what you should consider when choosing a Bible.
A Good Fit – Bible Version
Any time we purchase something new, shoes, an outfit or even a home or car, we want it to be a good fit! Shopping for a Bible is the same. Look for a Bible that helps you understand God’s word and how it applies to life.
Finding a good fit in a Bible is all about language. The Bible was originally written in three languages, Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. Unless you are fluent in these languages, you’re going to be hard pressed to understand the earliest manuscripts. Thankfully, we live in a day where scholars have been able to translate the original manuscripts into our language, English. These translations are many. They all fall on a scale that ranges from a direct word for word translation to a thought for thought translation to what we refer to as a paraphrase. When choosing a translation, the goal is to find one that is easily understood while also maintaining an accurate word for word meaning.
For adults, I recommend the NASB (1971), ESV (2001) or the NIV (1978) versions. These versions utilize modern English. The NASB and ESV fall on the word for word end of the scale. The NIV falls more toward the thought for thought end of the scale. These three seem to strike the best balance of remaining true to the word for word construct of the original languages while also offering ease in readability. I typically steer Bible study students away from the paraphrase versions because they stray from the word for word translation. You will lose some of the richness of the meaning of a passage if you are only looking at a paraphrase.
Since I seem to be on the theme of shopping, I’ll keep going! A great fitting outfit can be accentuated by the accessories we choose to go along with it. The same is true in our purchase of a Bible.
All of the aforementioned translations come with a variety of accessories. I’m talking here about things like print size, study Bibles, Bibles that have places to journal or draw, Bibles that have cross-references, and those that have Jesus’s words in red (Red Letter Bibles). There are specialty Bibles that include encouragements for women, men, and those in recovery. You can make your Bible personal with the binding style, engravings, and color. These are all a matter of personal taste, and are secondary to the translation. Whatever accessories you choose, I hope they will make Bible study exciting!
Mommy And Me – Finding a Children’s Bible
Now, what about the children? How do you find a good Bible they can understand? You’ve seen families dress alike on holidays. Mom and the girls all in the same dress, color coordinated with the fellas in the fam. This is much the same principal. Once you have selected a Bible for yourself, you’re going to need to choose one for your children. For kiddos, my personal favorite is the NIrV Adventure Bible for Early Readers. This is the New International Readers Version. The translation sits just between thought for thought and paraphrase on our scale. It is for ages 6-10. Written in a way that helps children understand what they are reading, the NIrV Adventure Bible for Early Readers comes in a hard cover jungle theme, and soft cover in pink and blue. There are some other really cool “accessories” included like, Live It, People in Bible Times, Words to Treasure, Did You Know? and Life in Bible Times. All of these special sections help children understand context and important concepts. From personal experience I’ve seen my grandkids use this Bible and understand what they are reading.
Can’t Wait To Use It
One thing I know is that when we make a purchase of something new, we are eager to use it! I hope it will be that way for you as you purchase a Bible for you and your child. When used in conjunction with the translation you have selected for yourself, I think you’ll find that you are able to bring some of the broader concepts of the Bible into concrete terms for your child’s level. Let’s take as an example the 10 Commandments. Most of us are familiar with those, but how do you explain things like idolatry, taking the Lord’s name in vain, keeping the Sabbath holy, coveting and adultery to your littles?! Within the pages of the NIrV Adventure Bible for Early Readers, one of the “accessories” is the explanation of the Ten Commandments for Kids. Command #3 instructs kids to only use God’s name in a loving way. Never use his name out of anger or frustration. So practical and understandable! I sometimes grab the NIrV version just to help me get a grasp on things at that 6-10-year-old level. We need that sometimes and it can be very convicting!
A Family Hand-Me-Down
There really is nothing in the world greater than knowing God and the way we get to know him is through his words to us. When you begin to read and understand scripture, you will begin to gain confidence in talking with your child about scripture. You can help your child understand God at a young age. This kind of instruction is a gift that will last a lifetime and never wear out! Now that’s a Hand-Me-Down that never goes out of style! Here are some of my favorite Bibles for children.
From Christian Book Distributors:
Or, if your an Amazon Fan:
This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using this link. Please see my disclosure for more details.