Reply to "Bibles for Children, Presenting Bibles to Children"

More Bible recommendations moved here to consolidate the topic--

Posted by Leslee Kirkconnell on April 21, 2003

The Good News Bible (Today's English Version) is a good Bible for children.
Also there's a Children's NIV Bible -has a colorful cover, I think it's the NIrV, that's good.
NIV is also a good scholarly translation. NRSV is a scholarly translation, but difficult for children (good resource for teachers). I would also avoid King James and New King James. Language is a problem as well as the debate about corrupt texts from which it is translated in parts.

In our Bible skills and games workshops we try to have several different versions of the Bible available for times when it is appropriate for older elementary to read different translations and discuss. You'd still want to have a uniform 'class set' in any case.

Posted by Dian on April 21, 2003

Yes I agree with Leslee. The Childrens NIV is a great Bible for the kids to use. I teach 1st and 2nd graders and they do very well with a little coaching on finding the scripture.
We also give the same Bible to our 3rd graders every year.

Posted by Neil MacQueen on April 21, 2003

Tyndale's Kid Life Application Bible in the New Living Translation is the best I've seen. Last year I reviewed several for my church and didn't find anything approaching it in quality and content. We bought several cases.

More than just an adult level translation wrapped in a cute cover, Tyndale has made a real effort to include a LOT of kid oriented content and explanations.

The New Living Translation is a complete translation, not a paraphrase. It is very comparable to the Good News translation in ease of reading.

The NIV and NRSV are college level English and grammar. I only occasionally find them appropriate for use with younger children.
<>< NEIL

Posted by Jaymie Derden on April 22, 2003

We use the Zondervan Adventure Bible for Young Readers (a NIrV translation on a 3rd grade reading level) for our 3-6 graders. For our 1-2 graders we use the Little Kids' Adventure Bible (also by Zondervan). We had used the NIV Adventure Bibles for years, but these NIrV are newer and better translations for kids. We like them because of the extra features -- the Bible notes, quotations, charts, etc. We use these to supplement our lessons and encourage the kids to read their Bibles. The Little Kids' Bibles are NOT a complete Bible however. They are a good transition between a preschool story Bible and a complete Bible for 3rd graders. We like them because they are set up like the older version with the same notes, charts, etc. which makes the transition for our 3rd graders easier. The downside is that it is sometimes confusing to our kids when a story that we teach is not found in "their" Bibles.

You're really smart to check out your options thoroughly before you buy. Once you do decide, especially if you give Bibles to kids, it's harder to switch because all the kids will not have the same Bible. We've been gradually phasing out our old NIV Bibles. Two more years to go!

Posted by Valerie on April 23, 2003

I agree 100% with Neil. We actually bought enough of the Kid's Life Application Bibles - New Living Translation to have at least 6 or 7 in each workshop room.
There are several web sites that sell Bibles by the case at excellent prices. And a few sites that sell individually at greatly reduced prices (something like Bibles For Less).
The children really seem to understand the lesson better from this translation...and to so do the adults that are teaching.

Posted by Robin on May 01, 2003

We give our kids the Contemporary English Version from the American Bible Society. It is a translation, not a paraphrase, and is intended to be easily understood, easily read aloud (avoiding tongue twisters and complicated sentence structure), and easily understood by the hearer. As far as I know it doesn’t come in a children’s edition. The books we give our kids have a plain maroon cover – probably not as appealing to a second-grader as a cute drawing, but on the other hand, the kids won’t be embarrassed to be seen with their Bibles a few years from now.

When I’m writing curriculum I always compare the CEV to the New Revised Standard Version, which our church uses in worship. Sometimes the differences in meaning or emphasis are fairly significant. Several people on our curriculum writing team prefer the NIV or another translation, so when we meet to study the scripture before writing our workshops, we usually end up comparing several translations and rely on the expertise and research of our study leader to help us with interpretation.

The CEV is readable and accessible to children and is a good choice for giving to chidren and for use in the workshops. That said, I’ll add that to my ear, some of the language of the CEV sounds flat. This is a problem to me when we’re choosing memory verses -- some of the CEV language to me is so ordinary that it just seems unmemorable. The difference is especially acute in the Psalms. Whereas the NRSV and some other translations update the language but retain much of the rhythm and beauty of the Psalms in the King James Version, the CEV renders them in mundane language that doesn’t even sound poetic to me. The other curriculum writers tell me that’s just because I was raised on older translations (mainly the Revised Standard Version), and our children will remember and love the Scriptures in whatever form they learn them. But really, do you think this passage from the CEV is likely to stick with our kids long enough to provide comfort and inspiration when they need it 20 years from now? “You are true to your name, and you lead me along the right paths. I may walk through valleys as dark as death, but I won’t be afraid. You are with me, and your shepherd’s rod makes me feel safe.” (When we wrote our curriculum for the 23rd Psalm, we were so torn over which translation to have the children memorize that we ended up mixing parts of several together. For a Psalm written by committee, see .)

Another thing to keep in mind is the influence of the King James Version on our culture at large. Countless commonly used words and phrases allude to the KJV. Consider “widow’s mite,” “prodigal son,” “the meek will inherit the earth,” “valley of the shadow of death,” “going the second mile,” “Thou shalt not…., to name a few.” When our children hear these phrases in secular contexts, I want them to recognize the biblical origin (even if the speaker doesn’t know he’s making a biblical allusion). When we teach a Bible story from a translation that does not use the traditional words, we make a point of telling the children the traditional terms as well, e.g., “When you hear somebody talk about a ‘widow’s mite,’ they’re referring to this story.”

I guess this is all a long way of saying give the kids a readable Bible, but don't make it your only resource.

Posted by Robin on May 08, 2003

Correction -- I just saw the Bibles we recently gave to our second graders. The CEV does now come in a children's illustrated edition. It's in large type and has lots of pictures.

Posted by Arlene on June 07, 2003

The Tyndale Kid's Life Application Bible in the New Living Translation does not have a concordance. Is it not important to teach a child 3rd grade or older how to use a concordance? Inc. is a volunteer-run, 100% member supported, 501(c)3 non-profit Sunday School lesson ministry. All content here is the copyrighted property of its listed author. You are welcome to borrow and adapt content here for non-commercial teaching purposes --as long as both the site and author is referenced. Posting here implies permission for others to use your content for non-commercial purposes. Inc reserves the right to manage, move, condense, delete, and otherwise improve all content posted to the site. Read our Terms of Service. Google Ad Note: Serving the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, S. Africa, and more! is rated 5 stars on Google based on 55 reviews.