Are you wondering how to pick a Bible for your child? With so many options, where do you begin, and how do you decide which one’s the best?
Here are three guidelines to help you pick the right Bible for your child
- Assess your child’s reading level. Bibles have different reading levels. For example, a King James Version has a grade 12 reading level, and the New International Reader’s Version has a grade 3 reading level. If your child is in grade 3, the obvious selection is the NIrV.
- Determine your child’s learning style. Children gather information differently and don’t fit neatly into the visual, aural, reading/writing, or kinesthetic learning categories. If your child’s more of a visual learner, consider a comic-style Bible or colouring Bible. If your child’s more of an auditory learner, select an age-appropriate audio Bible on Bible Gateway.
- Choose an age-appropriate Bible. Abridged Bibles are more suitable for younger children learning to read and a great way to get them started. The International Children’s Bible, New International Readers Version, Easy to Read Version, or God’s Word are suitable choices for children who read. The New Living Translation or New International Version are excellent choices for tweens and teens.
Younger children (2-5) – The most challenging selection is children’s story Bibles for younger children. Because they’re storybooks and not actual Bibles, look for these three features:
- God-centered. The theme of the Bible is Jesus. A good story Bible consistently identifies that the Story’s core is who God is and what He does. If a story Bible is mainly focused on humans as heroes, good behaviour, or moral lessons, it’s man-centred and inadequate.
- Suitably illustrated. Pictures and graphics should illuminate key biblical themes, be age-appropriate, and help children engage imaginatively with the Story.
- Well written. Language and literary devices should fit with the age level of the children. A well-written story Bible should give you a strong sense that you’re reading the scriptures at a child’s level. It should repeat key phrases, identify the primary theme, and creatively use rhyme, rhythm, onomatopoeia, or suitable humour.
Older children (6-9 ) – Children learning to read need a Bible that’s not as daunting to read as an adult’s Bible. It should help them understand the central theme and sub-themes of the Bible and how the Bible, while it’s a collection of stories, is one Story. Our top picks include The Action Bible, NIrV Adventure Bible for Early Readers, Big Bible Challenge, Jesus Storybook Bible, Laugh and Grow Bible for Kids, and the International Children’s Bible. Check out The Bible App for Kids – You Version as an online option.
Tweens (10-12) – A pre-teen needs a Bible that’s easy to read. The most popular Bible for this age group is the NIV Adventure Bible. For a thought for thought translation of the Bible that’s very readable, we recommend the New Living Translation. Consideration should also be given to Scripture Union’s award-winning Big Bible Challenge. An excellent online option for tweens is the Engage App by Scripture Union New Zealand.
Teens (13-19) – One of the best Bibles for youth is the Teen Life Application Study Bible. The English Standard Version (grade 10 reading level) is suitable for youth who are growing in their faith and prioritizing Bible reading and reflection. For a Bible that facilitates artistic expression and journaling, we recommend the NIV Beautiful Word Coloring Bible.
Bible Reading Guides
All children, regardless of their age, need help interpreting and applying the Bible. In addition to picking the right Bible for your child, you should choose the right reading guide. Scripture Union specializes in guides for all ages – Hotshots (7-8), Snapshots (9-11), Airlock (15-18), Daily Bread and Encounter With God (adults).
© Scripture Union Canada 2022