How many Bibles are made for children?
Children are important to humans, to families, and to God in Jesus Christ. As it is written in the Gospel of Mark:
[Jesus] said to his disciples, “Let the children come to me, and do not stop them, because the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I assure you that whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” Then he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on each of them, and blessed them. (Mark 10:14-16)
As Jesus demonstrated a particular love, blessing, and welcome to children into the Kingdom of God, the Word of God itself has been paraphrased or summarized in many different versions at a children’s reading level so they can read it for themselves. In doing so, the text of the Bible can be made more welcoming to children.
To make the Bible more accessible to children, some editions of the Bible is presented with vibrant art and illustrations, while others use a simpler set of vocabulary to make reading the Bible more age appropriate. Here are a few examples:
The Beginner’s Bible: Timeless Children’s Stories (by Kelly Pulley) uses “vibrant art and compelling text” to illustrate more than 90 Bible stories for kids ages 6 and under. The Beginner’s Bible was the 2006 Retailers Choice Award winner in Children’s Nonfiction.
The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name, by Sally Lloyd-Jones, in January 2016 reached a milestone of 2 million copies sold and was named on the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA) Top 100 Bestsellers of 2015 List. This retelling of the Bible story for children presents a very special and important perspective, as the author explained:
... 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.
If you lose the greater story of the Bible, the danger is you start thinking that it’s all about you and what you should or shouldn’t be doing. You can start to think it’s a book of rules to follow (of course there are rules in it and they show us how life works best but if we could save ourselves by following the rules, Jesus never would have had to come); or you can think it’s a book of heroes to copy (clearly that can’t be right though. So many of the people God uses are not heroes at all—they’re broken sinners!).
The Children’s Bible provides, in simple English, a translation of selections from both the Old and the New Testament, with this description: “These selections have been made as a result of more than twenty-five years of observation and study. The text is that of the Bible itself, but in the language of the child, so that it may easily be read to the younger children and by those who are older. It is not in words of one syllable, for while the child is reading the Bible he should gradually learn the meaning of new words and idioms.”
And for today’s digital world, there’s the Bible App for Kids by YouVersion in partnership with OneHope; plus a print edition of The Bible App For Kids Storybook Bible was recently published too!
For children around the world, bibleforchildren.org has the Bible for children in 121 different languages and in multiple formats as downloadable PDF or PowerPoint slides.
With so many to choose from, how can parents choose a good Bible for your children? Yes, you can refer to an online store’s reviews or you could refer to lists of recommended children’s Bible, like one of these:
Top Children’s Bibles: Age Appropriate Bibles Your Kids Will Love to Read by Mary Fairchild at about.com’s Christianity channel
How to choose a good children’s Bible by Jean Williams, a mom from Melbourne, Australia.
Choosing a Children’s Bible — an article at ABC Jesus Loves Me.
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