One thing that Matt and I decided not too long into the journey was that we would always get Isaac's "big boy Bible" out and have him "follow along" as the pastor read. We have John MacArthur's study Bible for kids that my parents gave both of my kids at their baby dedications and I've heard great recommendations for it. The only thing is, our pastor reads from the ESV (English Standard Version) and it's hard to "follow along" when he's not reading the same word for word translation as what Isaac has. I'll take two second to brag on my little man. Even though he only turned 4 at the end of the month, God has gifted him with an incredible mind and he's reading very, very well for his age, so he gets that the words being read are not the same as are on the page. Because of the confusion, we quickly began using our Bibles to have him look at while the pastor read. (And in case you're thinking my brainiac is also some sort of strange phenomenon that will read along with the passage with intense concentration, he rarely makes it past a verse or two before he begins to fidget and wants to flip pages in the Bible. :)
Anyway, we thought it would be fun if he got his own Bible for his birthday complete with a
We wanted the Bible to be ESV so that he could use it at church and follow along more easily, so I started looking into children's Bibles in the ESV. I found three:
1. ESV Children's Bible
More importantly though it had lots of little boxes with very short, kid friendly explanations of things in passages immediately surrounding it. Big words or concepts that might confuse a child trying to read on his own (or sitting in a sermon where the pastor assumes that his audience understands, but a child is unfamiliar with it). It had explanations for things like, "Why was it a shame for a man to cut his beard?" or "Why was the ark of the covenant important?" or "What is casting lots?" I even thought some of the questions and explanations would be helpful for a parent as they tried to explain some of those tough concepts to a young child. Obviously, Isaac won't be reading these himself any time soon, but he can still definitely understand a lot of the explanations, even if they have to be read to him.
The target audience on this one is 8-12 years old, so it's a little advanced for my little guy, but I'm excited to give him one that he can grow into and will have great tools and helps inside as he begins to study God's Word. All throughout this Bible you'll find Who, What, When, Where and Why Questions with short explanations about characters in stories, Bible customs, definitions of big words and such. There are also timelines, maps and verses that can be referenced during various situations in a child's life in the back. There are Cross Connections that connect stories throughout Scripture to the gospel, 4U sections with application and some various articles and charts just for kids. It's really neat!
So, my suggestion as you choose a Bible for your child is to consider what translation your family or church uses most and then find a children's version to correspond to provide some continuity. If you're stuck and completely indifferent on a translation, then I highly recommend the ESV for it's literal accuracy and readability and from what I can tell so far, the Grow! Bible is an excellent children's version of that translation. :)
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