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I don’t know what you’re planning to give your kids for Easter this year (if anything), but I am ridiculously excited to give my kids their first real Bibles.
They have a lot of picture-book Bibles, and they were given New Testaments when they were dedicated as babies, but since they’re both emerging readers, and since they’re going to classes where it matters if they have a Bible with them or not, it seemed like time to make sure they have their own copies of God’s Word.
So, in case you’re wanting to give Bibles to the littles (or anyone else!) in your life this Easter, I thought I’d share with you some of my favorites.
For little kids:
The Jesus Storybook Bible
I cannot recommend this Bible highly enough. I bought it for my boys when they were babies, and I just bought it for my brand-new niece, too. We’ve read through it several times as a family, and my kids love the DVDs, too. I love how it shows how the entire Bible points to Jesus, and the language of the storytelling is beautiful and fun to read.
Read And Learn Bible
This was one of the first Bibles we started using for bedtime stories when my boys were very small (as in, under two). The stories are very, very short, but what I love about it is how much of the Bible it includes (it’s the only kids’ Bible I’ve ever seen that tells the story of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream from Daniel 2), and how close it stays to the actual language of the Bible. This is a great Bible to read to wiggly toddlers.
The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden
This amazing book tells the entire narrative of the Bible in 10 short chapters. It’s such a good look at the overall picture that the Bible is telling and helps kids see where all those little stories like David and Goliath and Daniel and the lion’s den fit in the BIG story God is telling throughout history. Also, the illustrations in this are just lovely.
The Big Picture Interactive Bible Storybook
This is by the people behind the Gospel Project curriculum. We bought this when we were considering using their curriculum for our church, but it quickly became a favorite bedtime read-aloud in our home. Like the Jesus Storybook Bible, this shows how the whole Bible points to Jesus, but it covers a whole lot more stories. This one will take you a while to get through (I think there are about 150 stories), and there’s only one illustration per story, so this one isn’t great for the littlest kids. But we’ve found 4-6 to be a great age for this Bible, and there’s a question at the end of each lesson to help you gauge if your kids are really getting what the story is saying.
For bigger kids:
The Adventure Bible
This the Bible I had as a kid, and the very first Bible I read all the way through (for my Honor Star requirements; if you grew up in an A/G church, you know what I’m talking about). This is also what we got for Caleb for Easter this year (this one). It has some child-appropriate study helps that I think will really be useful for him as he learns and grows. We chose NIrV for him (after a LOT of deliberation) because we believe it will encourage him to read this on his own, but this Bible is available in several versions.
The Big Picture Interactive Bible
This is what we got for Garrett for Easter (this version). I love that it has the same illustrations as the Big Picture storybook they’ve been reading from, and I think it will help him transition better from picture books to a big kids’ Bible, and help him stay interested in it while he is still learning to read. This isn’t available in as many versions as the Adventure Bible, but there are still a few options to choose from.
THE BIBLE STORY Complete 10 Volume Set
This is a 10-volume set. Don’t be put off by its outdated appearance; this is a fantastic Bible story set. We only have two volumes so far, so I haven’t read every single story, but what I have read, I’ve been very impressed with. Like so many of my other favorite Bibles, these show how each story the Bible tells is part of a larger whole of what God is doing. Also, when I first became a parent, I was disappointed by how many kids’ Bibles (even some I remembered loving) presented a very works-based concept of salvation, as if the whole message of the Bible was to be a good girl or boy. This Bible doesn’t fall into that trap–it explains, in kid-friendly language, how we can’t be good enough, and that is why we need Jesus. Finally, these books are beautifully illustrated with the types of pictures I hope form my kids’ imaginations as they grow.
For everyone else on your list:
The Books of the Bible
This is one of my favorite ways to really read the Bible. There are no chapter or verse numbers to distract from the text, so this is excellent for when you want to read a long passage or an entire book in one sitting. One day recently, when we were going through the hard season at the end of our church, I was feeling frustrated and read through the entire book of Job one afternoon. I don’t think I could have done that as easily in any other Bible. It’s in TNIV, which I don’t think lasted for very long, and I’m not sure why, but as far as I can tell, most of the text is very similar to NIV (my preferred version), and like I said, I use this for reading, not for study.
I write a lot of notes in my Bible, and I’m happy with the Bible that I have, but whenever I’m in the market for a new one, I imagine I’ll get something like this with wide margins to give me room for more thoughts.
Fire Bible: New International Version, Student Edition
This is Jason’s go-to study Bible. The study notes are comprehensive, and written from a Pentecostal perspective. We loved recommending this to our students when we were youth pastors, and we love it for ourselves as pastors.