Wondering About Translation Choices?
Some thoughts from me...
My church is an NRSV church. But the NRSV isn't always the best choice for kids, and never was intended for their reading level. My third graders stumble through it, as do some of my older kids.
The popular CEV (Common English Version) is a simpler version, but there are still some passages that are just too difficult or long for kids without some editorial/paraphrasing. Others similar to the CEV are the Good News Bible and New Living Translation. That said, I tend to prefer the Good News Translation for kids. It is modern English aimed about a sixth grade reading level, and it also tries to preserve key verses in their most memorable and or popular forms that the kids will hear them over the course of their lives.
These "modern English" translations, however, can sometimes be the wrong choices for certain passages. Some modern translations can lack the poetry of memorable passages, and others can be too different from what our kids will hear over the long haul.
Take Psalm 23 for example, ...a passage our kids will be hearing the rest of their lives. We want them to read, "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want." (NRSV), not "The Lord is my shepherd, I have everything I need." (Good News), or "I have all that I need." (NLT)
The answer is to compare translations, and if you need a "better" one for your kids, find it at biblegateway.com, copy and print it.
I think LONG stories especially need to be handled with "storybook" versions or translations that are easier to read. Children require a clearer more concise storyline than adults.
In Rotation we believe in Bible literacy. But if our kids can't understand the Bible story because the version is over their heads, why bother with Rotation at all?
One suggestion is to make sure we are using a variety of versions (both storybook versions and translations). Online resources make this easy. Check out Biblegateway.com for example. You look up the passage, find the translation that works best for your situation, copy, and print.