Children’s Bibles have come a long way!
It used to be that Bibles written for kids were collections of disjointed stories who’s focus seemed to be on human achievement and a very tame God. This set kids up to be adults who have no idea how to read and interpret the real Bible and have faulty views of God.
Children need to understand that the Bible tells one overarching story, and all the events described need to be viewed in light of that one story, the gospel, or “good news”.
I’ve put together a list of my favorite children’s Bibles and WHY! If you have any specific questions, be sure to ask in the comments below!
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The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name This was the children’s Bible that renewed my faith in children’s Bibles. It’s still my favorite. Sally Lloyd-Jones treats the Bible with the wonder and delight it deserves. There are roughly 40 stories in this collection, but the beauty of this book are the themes the author weaves through each story. No longer is the Bible seen as random stories but a cohesive group of stories all telling the story of a God who sends a Rescuer.
We have loved this Bible so much that it’s fallen apart, been taped back together, and is now beyond repair. The language Lloyd-Jones uses will help even seasoned readers of the Bible see the glory of God and the passion of Jesus in a whole new light. It has brought me to tears on many occasions. It’s a must have. In fact, I worked with a bunch of other bloggers to come up with activities for each and every story in the Jesus Storybook Bible.
The Big Picture Story Bible Ok, this Bible has stolen my heart. It’s different than the other Bibles in that it is intended for the very youngest crowd. Even kids as young as 18 months will get something out of it. But older kids will learn tons too. My 5 year old and 3 year old never want me to stop!
I’m AMAZED at how well the author explains the stories and themes of the Bible to such a young audience! The writing is short and simple, the pictures large and imaginative, but the lessons are profound. Even a toddler will start to see the Bible as a big story about a big God with some big promises. I’ve been renting this from the library and even though I’m a total cheap wad, I’m buying this to use over and over again.
Jesus Calling Bible Storybook This Bible is very similar to the Jesus Storybook Bible. It’s roughly the same size and styled similarly. It’s also geared towards the same age. I preferred the drawings in this Bible. They just seemed more friendly. It also covered more stories which was really cool. I would still pick the Jesus Storybook Bible over this because it focuses on God’s overarching plan working throughout history. The stories seemed more isolated from the whole of the Bible. It had a section at the end of each story titled “Jesus Calling”. It was an application section written as if it were written by Jesus himself to your child. While I get the idea behind it, I just wasn’t comfortable attributing words to Christ especially when my boys are too young to always understand fact from fiction. I don’t want them to ever be confused about the reality of the Word of God.
The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden If you really want a quick overview of the themes of the Bible in chronological order, this is the book. Divided into ten chapters, this book is gorgeous and hilarious all at the same time. The illustrations are quirky and retro. The focus is on God’s control over it all and how he is the one that does it for us screwed up people. It’s humor and writing are more directed toward a grade-school crowd.
The Gospel Story Bible: Discovering Jesus in the Old and New Testaments I must admit, I’m not as familiar with this Bible as my kids just don’t seem to be at the age where they’re into it. Each story is on a single page with one illustration. It seems to be more geared toward oral narration than reading a good book. I think it would work well in a Sunday school setting or for family devotions. In fact, it has an accompanying book Long Story Short: Ten-Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family to God for just that!
The Action Bible This is such a unique idea for a children’s bible. Written as a graphic novel, this Bible is picture rich. It is definitely geared toward and older crowd, probably boys, as it emphasizes action stories. The stories seemed to be more disconnected from each other, but they cover a lot of both the Old and New Testaments. While this Bible doesn’t seem to have as much theological depth as some of the others, it will certainly draw older boys into God’s Word and hopefully get them interested in reading more.
Please note that some of the pictures are quite dramatic and may scare the younger crowd. I let my five year old “read” some of them, but mostly I picked certain stories to read to him. He’s still really sensitive to fear.
ESV Grow! Bible When your child is reading on their own, get them in the habit of reading the real Bible on their own. This Bible is in a great translation that is both readable and accurate. It has lots of study notes and things to help kids relate the Bible to their world.
The Ology: Ancient Truths, Ever New While not actually a children’s Bible, it was so cool that I had to mention it. The Ology is actually a systematic theology textbook designed for kids. Don’t know what that is or why you should have it? Well, instead of presenting the ideas of the Bible chronologically, this book explains the teaching of the Bible by topic and in an order that builds on itself. It’s the perfect compliment to these Bibles and can be used as a Bible curriculum. It’s probably best for a little older crowd (think 5-12 years old).