Now that you know you are looking for a Bible for your child.. which one to pick?
FIRST: PICK A TRANSLATION
Storybook Bibles are fun for the younger kids and are great to initially engage kids, but did you know that there are actually TRANSLATIONS of the Bible created with children in mind? They are not paraphrases, Bible story books, or devotionals. They are translations from the original Hebrew and Greek, broken down into language that makes them easy for children to understand.
The two translations created WITH CHILDREN IN MIND are The New International Readers Version (NIrV) and the The International Children's Bible (icb). Both versions:
- title each chapter,
- break chapters up into smaller sections,
- give titles to some of those smaller sections so it's easier to follow
- sentences have been kept short and the vocabulary is limited
The NIrV uses an approximately grade 3 reading level, and the icb vocabulary uses a bank of words based on the same standard used by the writers of The World Book Encyclopedia. If a more difficult word IS used in the icb an "n" indicates a note to be found at the bottom of the page and any word written in bold means you can find that word in the dictionary at the back of the Bible.
Both translations make adjustments and modernized measurement and geographical terms. For example, "shekels" is converted into dollars and cents, and "the Great Sea" is written as "the Mediterranean Sea." Also, if a specific name of a major character in a story is known, for example if a particular Pharoah's name is "Hophra", this information is included to make the meaning of the story even clearer.
The BEST WAY TO FIGURE OUT WHICH TRANSLATIONS IS FOR YOU, is to simply look up a few familiar passages and see how these children's translations handle them.
There are also children's bibles that are New King James (NKJV), King James (KJV), New International Version (NIV), New Living Translation (NLT), and the English Standard Version(ESV). The same thing applies - look up your favourite passages and compare how these translations handle them.
SECOND: WHAT ELSE IS IN THERE?
The next thing to consider then is what kind of help or enhancement (if any) you want with your translation. Most Children's Bibles have additional aspects that the publishers hope will engage and help children understand the Bible more readily. Do you want pictures, study aids, activities, prayers, devotionals, etc., in your child's Bible? Some editions cover Basic Christian concepts, highlight verses for memorization, include maps and explanations of Biblical times and culture. These are often very helpful for kids and help them dig further into the Bible.
THIRD: APPEARANCE . . . AUDIENCE . . . EXTRAS
The last thing to look at is all the extras that have nothing to do with your actual Bible, but are things that publishers think kids might like. These become very specific, for example "The Brave Girls Bible" is pink and has been designed specifically for girls and will highlight women in the Bible and include devotionals and extra editorial thoughts around topics for girls, while still others yet get more specific such as the "Minecrafter's Bible" and has a Minecraft Bible character on the front and includes discussion and tips around the popular Minecraft video game. Sometimes the extras are endless.. but that's just what they are - extras. They can add to the experience or just be distracting based on what it is that you are looking for.
Look online. Compare. Find just what you are looking for.