“God’s Word is Profitable” - Part Two

2 Timothy 3:16b

One of the most important jobs we have as parents is to introduce our children to God and His Son who came to this world be their Savior. The primary way we accomplish this is through God’s Word, the Bible. The Bible is the most important text produced in the history of the world. It’s the most important text your child will ever read. Joe Carter, a journalist who works for the The Gospel Coalition states, “Instead of considering the literacy process as the means of teaching your children to read, think of it instead as the process by which your child reaches the goal of reading the Bible.” This may appear to be a trivial distinction but when the goal of reading is to read the Bible you will think differently about how you create the desire to learn to read so they can read the Bible for themselves.

A good way to begin to create your child’s desire for the Bible is to expose them to Bible stories and imagery. For example, in this month’s Kid’s Krate we will read about boy Jesus celebrating the Passover with his family in Jerusalem. The child wonders, “What is Passover and why was Jesus celebrating it?” Passover is a jewish holiday that relives the Biblical story of how God rescues the Israelites from slavery in Egypt which sets up their next curiosity. “Why did they need to be rescued from slavery in Egypt?” To help them better understand the struggle the Israelites endured as they labored as slaves to make bricks for the Egyptians, we will not only read about it and incorporate pictures but give them an actual experience of making clay much like the Israelites were forced to do as slaves. Children develop a deeper appreciation of the Bible when they have relatable firsthand experiences.

Experiencing the Bible in engaging ways makes Scripture relevant and memorable. The Bible uses symbolism and quite often the symbol is an element from nature. If children can experience not only God’s revelation through scripture but through the general revelation of that symbol in nature, it can have a lifelong influence on how they read the Bible.

In previous generations adults could only read their adult Bible translation out loud to children. Today we have numerous options. Here are some things to consider when buying a Bible for your child:

Choose a Bible targeted for the age range of your child. Your child will benefit from having two, maybe three different Bibles before becoming teenagers.


It is never too early to start using the Bible with your child. There are multiple age-appropriate skills for toddlers that will lay the foundation for helping them to value God’s Word. Sit with your toddler holding his Bible and let him touch/hold it. Say “Bible” so he learns that the Bible is a book. Turn the pages of the Bible and talk about God, Jesus, and other Bible people. This will help him associate God and Jesus with the Bible. Using Bible truths that relate to his everyday experience lays the foundation to understand that the words of the Bible apply to me. Read short Bible stories or share 3-5 word Bible truths. Simple truths like “God made the birds,” “Jesus loves you,” and “The Bible is a special book” provide building blocks in their heart and mind as a lifetime foundation for faith.

I just love this little Bible you can hug! I just bought it for my seven month old grandson. It contains a collection of ten favorite Bible stories, all in rhyme, and is an adequate introduction for the very young to the stories of the Bible. It is written by Sally Lloyd-Jones, author of the bestselling Jesus Storybook Bible.
Bible Storybooks
Bible storybooks are sometimes labeled as Bibles but they are not full Bibles. They are good to read to children because they have pictures, story summaries, engaging language, and all with words young children understand. Bible storybooks are great to use at home, as a companion to the full-text Bible.

The first of three Bible storybooks I can recommend is The Big Picture Story Bible. In simple words and colorful illustrations it tells the story of God's love for the world. It contains 11 stories from the Old Testament and 15 from the New Testament. The Big Picture Story Bible provides a free download audio reading by the author. The recommended reading is for ages 2-7.

Designed as a complimentary resource to The Big Picture Story Bible is The Big Picture Family Devotional. It offers parents a year’s worth of material using it three times per week. The recommended age for this devotional does not mimic the age of the companion Bible storybook. They recommend ages 6 - 10 but I think it is appropriate for older elementary age children.

The Jesus Storybook Bible contains 21 stories from the Old Testament and 23 stories from the New Testament. A unique feature of this Bible storybook is that the author intends to show children that the whole Bible is about Jesus.The entire Old Testament was looking forward to the coming of the Messiah. Everything was pointing toward Him. As the stories unfold, children will learn that Jesus is at the center of God’s great story of salvation.

A third option for Bible storybooks is the The Big Interactive Bible Storybook. With a similar format to the Jesus Storybook Bible it includes 145 stories, all with a “Christ Connection” feature showing kids how God’s plan for salvation through Jesus appears throughout the entire Bible. It has a free “augmented reality” app that brings the art and story to 3D life both visually and audibly.
I love what Sally Lloyd-Jones says about what makes the Jesus Storybook Bible so unique: “I wanted to write a children’s Bible storybook that first and foremost told the Great Story of the Bible--the story running under all the stories of the Bible like a golden stream--the story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them. The Story that at the center has a baby, the child upon whom everything would depend—Jesus, the only, real true Hero of the Bible. I wanted a Bible Storybook that was, like the Bible is, not all about us and what we should be doing--but about God, and what he has done.”


Full Text Bible Translations

There are 3 main approaches for Bible translations. Word for Word, Thought for Thought, and Paraphrase. The Bible translations we read today are translated from their original language - Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic. In a paraphrase the author has not started with the text in the original language, but has taken a translation of the Bible and put it into their own words. A paraphrase uses a lot more words in an effort to more fully describe the meaning of the words coming from the original language. That’s why we love to read them; they make the Bible a lot more understandable, but they are more difficult for children to memorize from. For this reason I suggest getting a a Bible for your child from either a Word for Word or Thought for Thought translation.

Scholars regard Word-for-Word as the most accurate translation method. Many of the best-known Bible translations are word-for-word: NASB, ESV, KJV, NKJV, NET. The NASB is not easy to read due to the strict adherence to literalism, but is widely regarded as the most accurate translation. Though the KJV is regarded as highly accurate, the English is 400 years old, dating to the original publishing date of 1611. Our language has changed greatly since the KJV was published four centuries ago. The NKJV, a beautifully updated version of the KJV, was published in 1975. Many of the antiquated words have been changed into modern English words so that the reader’s understanding is greatly improved.

Thought-for-thought translations can’t be thought of as the most accurate translations, yet they are still amazingly accurate. The most popular of these translations are: CSB, HCSB, NIV, and NLT. The NIV is sort of hybrid between word-for-word and thought-for-thought approaches to translation. This makes it very readable, but the combination of these two different methods creates a unique literary style that some like and others don’t like. The goal should be to find a Bible in a language your child can understand and want to read every day. Another tip I’ve heard is to buy the child the same translation as their parent use.

A preschooler’s Bible should be a size he can hold easily, but not too large or too heavy for him to carry. It needs to be a full-text Bible with both Old and New Testaments included. It should have large chapter numbers and smaller numbers for verses. You will also want to ensure that the FONT style and the font size are readable. Make sure the cover is durable. Consider buying a carrying case that will protect and add length to the life of the child’s Bible.

Pictures in the Bible can help reinforce that people and stories in the Bible are real and true. Preschoolers learn more through seeing and hearing than through just hearing. Pictures can stimulate conversations, which can give insight into the child’s understanding of the story. Good pictures help children develop a deeper understanding of how the people in the Bible lived differently from people today. If the Bible does not have a picture for the story you plan to read, check online. There are lots of Bible story illustrations readily available free of charge.

Elementary Age

Elementary Age - Please read through the preschool tips above as they also relate to choosing a Bible for an elementary-age child. In addition to these considerations, there are many options for different study helps that appeal to different learning styles and personality types of children. At a minimum, Elementary age children need a Bible with maps. When possible, allow your elementary-age child to help select the Bible. In addition to all the interesting features inside, this age child appreciates selecting the color or cover design of his Bible.

The ESV Following Jesus Bible is full of outstanding content designed to help children understand and enjoy the Bible. Designed for children ages 8–12 as they transition from a beginner’s Bible, nearly every other page features a box answering the who, what, where, when, or why of a particular text. “Seeing Jesus” sections explain how certain Bible passages point to Christ and “Following Jesus” sections explain a text and apply it to a child's life.

Additional content includes Bible book introductions for all 66 books, a glossary, Old and New Testament timeline art, and kid-friendly maps. “God’s Word for Me When...” and “God’s Word for Me About...” pages also help orient kids to key Scriptures on various topics.

The NKJV Airship Genesis Kids Study Bible has an exploration/space theme. Airship Genesis is a Next Generation brand from Turning Point and Dr. David Jeremiah. Every resource from Airship Genesis is designed to reflect the truth of God's Word with the creative excellence.

In the Airship Genesis: Legendary Bible Adventure, the Genesis Exploration Squad, a group of five kids (plus a monkey) are commissioned to embark on a series of adventures that guides them as they “travel throughout the Bible”. These young adventurers travel through time led by a special Bible that opens Pathways into the past. The members of the squad step into history and explore the stories of the Bible. Along the way, these globe-trotting adventurers discover legendary artifacts that help them learn and remember the lessons of God’s Word. Each mission is a learning experience, both in biblical understanding as well as character building.

The Airship Genesis website www.airshipgenesis.com has fantastic activities which enhance the features in the Bible. There are complimentary resources available for purchase including Mission Quest a Kids Devotional, Discovery: Understanding the 66 Books of the Bible for Kids, Airship Genesis Chapter Books, CD Albums containing Bible stories, and Power Force: Be All God Wants You to Be. In Power Force, kids will discover 75 power-filled and practical truths to live by. Each truth is introduced with a Scripture and a brief lesson, followed by a Power Up action step, and a Power Prayer. Airship Mobile Game has recently been added to the website.

The website also includes a Grown-Ups section with helpful articles, some relating directly to the Airship Genesis Legendary Adventure and some not. Here is a sample based on the topic of this Hearts Like His 3-part Blog series: https://www.airshipgenesis.com/grown-ups/7-quick-tips-for-reading-the-bible-with-your-child
When I was a Children’s Minister I purchased The Adventure Bible for our classrooms and for the children receiving a Bible from the church. They publish it in multiple translations: NIV, NIrV, NKJV, and NRSV. Take a quick tour through the features included in this Bible.
The NIrV translation is written at a 3rd grade reading level just for developing readers, so that all children can share and understand God’s Word.
The CSB translation accurately captures the Bible’s original meaning without compromising readability. It is an optimal blend of accuracy and readability translated straight from the Biblical languages. One of the Bibles I REALLY like is the One Big Story Bible. This Bible has several unique features. It includes a Christ Connection feature that shows how each Bible story points to Christ. I love that parents were considered in the design of this Bible. The Parent Connection feature is an easy tool to help moms and dads (or anyone else who loves kids) discuss the book's message with their child and the ‘Seeing the Big Picture’ feature digs into key Bible stories and provides parents with more discussion material. I’m all about connecting parents and kids to each other and God’s Word. It also includes a free downloadable app that lets kids view 146 full-page color illustrations in an augmented-reality, Digital Pop-Up™ format and listen to a narration.
How much of the “study” aspect are you looking for in a Bible for your child? If you want your elementary kids to really dig into the Bible for themselves, you might want to look at a Bible designed to help them learn for themselves as they read.

The NIV Thought-for-thought translation, though not the most accurate, is still uncommonly accurate. The NIV Study Bible touts over 20,000 study notes, with icons to make important information easy to spot. The study notes are the work of the NIV translators themselves. Special interest areas, such as character studies, archaeology and personal applications, are coded for easy identification. Introductions and outlines for each of the 66 books of the Bible provide valuable background information. Full-color maps, charts, diagrams, time lines and illustrations visually clarify the stories in the Bible making this an excellent study Bible. The words of Christ are featured in red. Set in Zondervan’s exclusive NIV Comfort Print® typeface makes this easier on the eyes.
As with the other Thought for Thought translations, the goal for the translators of the NLT was to convey the meaning of the ancient Hebrew and Greek texts as accurately as possible to the modern reader. A purpose of the translators was to create a text that would make the same impact in the life of modern readers that the original text had for the original readers. They accomplished this purpose by translating entire thoughts (rather than just words) into natural, everyday English. The end result is a translation that is easy to read and understand and that accurately communicates the meaning of the original text.

Jesus taught with hands-on lessons and illustrations. The NLT Hands-on Bible is a fun, application-oriented Bible packed with activities and experiences that help kids think about, understand, and apply what they are reading. The102 experiences in this Bible invite kids to “do” the Bible with science experiments, crafts, snacks, journals—all the ways kids learn best!

Features include Bible Hero Biographies, Fun Facts, helping kids see the Bible as true and amazing, Bible Book Introductions, a Kids' Dictionary/Concordance, eight full-color maps, and color illustrations through-out. This Bible also includes on-line parenting resources. If your child is a kinesthetic learner, this Bible is great for their personality and interests.
There are hundreds of Bibles on the market today. My goal in this post was not to endorse a specific Bible because as stated earlier, you will want to select one with a theme or features that appeal to your child. I wanted to highlight a few “kid favorites" in a variety of translations to give you some things to think about as you select one and get your child started in developing the vital faith skill of Navigating the Bible and becoming a life-long listener, learner, and lover of God’s Word.

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