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First Thoughts

Children’s Bibles

The new year is a time when Christians think about Bible reading plans (First Baptist Church Bible Reading Plan) and are often looking to purchase a new Bible as they set goals for the next 365 days. There are tons of great options for adults, but there are also many delightful options available for kids.

I am often asked by parents of younger children which Bibles I would recommend. Children’s Bibles are typically collections of biblical stories retold in age-appropriate ways that are accompanied by pictures. Not all children’s Bibles are created equal, and some are better than others. The authors of children’s Bibles do pick and choose which biblical stories to re-tell, and they even select which details of those stories to highlight or neglect. The artwork itself interprets the biblical text and is significant for little guys and gals who can’t read yet. Our family has a slight obsession with children’s Bibles, and we collect a ton. We like having a variety of versions and encourage comparing and contrasting the stories between the story Bibles. Below is a brief review of some Bibles to consider for your family.

1.The Biggest Story Bible by Kevin DeYoung

This Bible is intended for ages 6-12, but we have enjoyed it for our even younger kids. The chapters are short and filled with humor from Kevin DeYoung. More importantly, the theology is rich. DeYoung covers stories that often get neglected in other kids’ Bibles, and he intentionally shows how the whole of Scripture is about Jesus. The artwork is unique, modern, and mesmerizing.

This book is also part of a collection that includes a shorter version, a board book, and a free video series of every story (which is also available as a free podcast). I highly recommend this book in every format it comes in. You won’t regret adding this book to your family time.

2. The Beginner’s Gospel Story Bible by Jared Kennedy

The Beginner’s Gospel Story Bible is my favorite Bible for toddlers. The chapters are just the right length, the content is relevant, and the questions are terrific. This Bible points to Jesus repeatedly and provides many opportunities for gospel conversations. We have read this book several times with our family and will keep reading it as we add more children. It is also part of a collection of sturdy board books that can be brought on the go. The section on the Passover and Easter week is memorable and helpful.

3. The Big Picture Story Bible by David Helm

The Big Picture Story Bible is the book we give to all families at their parent-child dedication service at First Baptist Jacksonville. This Bible does not merely emphasize behavior but shows how the whole story of the Bible is about God’s redemption through Jesus Christ. It is a simple and sweet book that takes you from Genesis to Revelation. There is also a free audio reading podcast that you can listen to as you read. The podcast includes chimes that indicate when to turn the page. We have enjoyed this podcast in the car on trips where the kids can follow along in their copies. There is also an older child version that includes the full English Standard Version (ESV) text of Scripture and pictures throughout the Bible.

4. The Read and Share Bible by Gwen Ellis

My honest complaint with this Bible is that it leans towards a works-based emphasis that does not easily connect the stories to Jesus. It takes additional work on the parent’s part to apply the gospel to the stories and show how Jesus is the true hero of the Old Testament. It will try to make connections with kids about having good “manners” when it should really make a connection to faith in Christ.

I almost didn’t include this Bible on the list, but we have benefited from it. The Read and Share Bible has 200 stories, and the stories are wide-ranging. It has your typical stories such as Noah, David, and Paul, but it also includes wild and forgotten stories from books of the Bible like 1 and 2 Kings. Those stories don’t appear much in kids’ Bibles, and it is good to cover them. More significantly, it has a movie for younger kids called The Jesus Movie, which is wonderful. The movie follows the life of Christ in a gentle and engaging way that is filled with Scripture. I would not make this Bible the primary Bible to read but don’t miss the movie that goes with it.

There are other options, but these four Bibles offer something unique for your family. These books are not the inspired, inerrant Word of God, but they are good tools to point your children to the most important truths they will ever hear. You won’t regret getting a new kid’s Bible this year and setting aside five minutes daily to read it together.

Sean Perron (Ph.D. in Applied Theology from Midwestern Seminary and M.Div., The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) serves as the Associate Pastor.  He is the co-author of three books: Letters to a Romantic: On DatingLetters to a Romantic: On Marriage, and Letters to a Romantic: The First Years. 

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