OK, I purposely made the title a little extreme…you actually only need 1 Bible. But that beings said, today we will describe 4 Bibles that have really helped us to teach the fundamental truths of the Bible to our kids and 4 Bibles that have helped us to go deeper ourselves.
1) The Beginner’s Bible: Link
This is the Bible that I read to our kids nightly – it’s how they learned the stories and it’s how they learned to read. It’s amazing what they can learn in only 10 minutes per night, several nights per week, when you are consistent over a year or two! This book is really well done. The stories are simplified for a younger audience, but still true to the story. The pictures are cute and simple. All in all, it was a good book to give our kids a grasp of all of the major Biblical stories. Now we have downloaded their free app to our iPad, and we allow them to enjoy that from time to time.
(Fun fact that our kids enjoy – older editions show Goliath laughing on the front page . Newer editions picture him looking decidely more grumpy.)
2) The Jesus Storybook Bible: Link
This is a newer one that we have recently added to our collection so we have less experience with it. We were looking for a book that targeted our 8 year old, and a friend recommended this one to us. It is unique because it goes into greater detail about each story, including the meaning and lesson from each story. Ultimately, the end of each story points out what we can learn about Jesus as a result of the story. I think this is perfect, because every story in the Bible really does point us to Jesus. As their subtitle says: “Every story whispers His name.” I don’t particularly care for the award-winning illustrations, and it is important to understand that she takes some literary license with some of the stories. We haven’t found this to be incorrect or misleading, but sometimes I will improvise or skip sentences or words as I read to our 8, 6, and 4 year old. Other neat things, they have developed various curriculum options, including this scope and sequence document and other curriculum options.
3) Jesus Calling Bible Storybook: Link
This is another newer one that was recommended to us recently. It is really more like a devotional, but it is still a good way to review a lot of Bible stories. In a lot of ways it is the Thomas Nelson version of the Bible above (or vice versa). Each story ends with a description of how you can apply the lesson. I think that the pictures are very nice.
4) NIRV Bible: Link
NIRV stands for New International Readers’ Version and is basically the NIV Bible slightly adjusted to be geared for young readers. Hannah started using this one in Kindergarten and thus far has read through Genesis, half of Exodus, and segments of Leviticus. (I pick and choose things that are appropriate and relevant…more on that another time.) It is perfect for her stage of reading: it is teaching her how to work through challenging words without making the Bible totally incomprehensible to her. It actually would be a good Bible for anyone who struggles with reading. Sometimes I read common passages in this version to hear them from a different perspective. Which brings me to our next section: 4 Bibles for us adults!
5) NLT Bible: Link
The New Living Translation is a version that we have started reading occasionally to mix things up and to hear verses in more ‘normal English.’ I especially enjoy reading the Psalms in NLT.
6) NASB Key Word Study Bible: Link
Now we come to a weightier Bible. Literally. This giant book is a Christian Nerd’s dream – it allows you to dig into the original Greek and Hebrew words as you read through the passages. As the name suggests, the key words are noted and you can find information about the meaning of the word in the index. Not all words are explored, but it is not really realistic to carry a Strong’s Concordance around with you all the time. The New American Standard Bible attempted to literally translate each word from the original languages, so it sometimes is a little more choppy to read. However, you can be pretty confident that you are really reading the original intent of the authors. So, the Key Word Bible is a good intro into the original languages, but if you want to explore the Greek and Hebrew even further, keep reading!
7) Online Studylight Interlinear Bible: Link
I can’t even describe how much I love this online Bible! It allows you to look at the Greek and Hebrew sentences, and click on each word to find out what it is. If you want to know more about that word, including every place in the Bible that it is found, all you have to do is click on the Strong’s number and it will pop up in another window with that information. It is a really awesome and powerful tool that allows amateurs to do in-depth studies that were only possible for the most serious of Biblical scholars not that long ago.
Example: John 3:16 You can click on each word to see the original Greek. Then when you click on ‘loved’ and then click on the #25, you can see all 142 places that it is used. Or ‘life,’ and see the 135 places it is found.
If you have clicked on any of our Bible links ever, chances are that you found yourself on BibleGateway.com. This is a simple site to use to search by a keyword or to look up a passage. We also like to add in parallels, which means that you read a verse in several versions.
So, to summarize, one trusty old Bible is really all you need. But, if you have the resources, these versions of the Bible are great tools to help you teach your kids and yourself about the fundamental and ancient Truth.
We want to know – what ideas do you have? What versions do you like to use? What kids’ Bibles do your kids enjoy?