I frequently read a book to my children during lunch to keep them on task with eating (and to accomplish our read-aloud homework). There’s currently a feud between the eldest and the youngest over whether we read Little Pilgrim’s Progress or our children’s Bible. A good problem to have….
With four boys (ages 7, 7, 6, and 4), we’ve gone through a lot of children’s Bibles. Here are our three favorites out of all the ones we’ve used:
The Beginner’s Bible is perfect for reading aloud to ages three and up. It has 48 stories from the Old Testament and 46 stories from the New Testament. It includes lesser known stories such as “Naaman is Healed” and “Boy King Josiah” (instead of jumping straight from David and Goliath to Jonah, like many other children’s Bibles do). The stories have simple language that I’m hoping my seven-year-olds will be able to read on their own soon. It also doesn’t interpolate commentary but stays pretty true to the Biblical text. The artwork is very cartoon-y, but I don’t think that bothers my kids. There are also YouTube versions of The Beginner’s Bible stories which I let my kids watch on Sunday morning before church.
The Jesus Storybook Bible is great for reading aloud to ages five and up. It has less stories in it (44 total), but it fleshes each one out in detail (and in very poetic prose), showing how each story points to Jesus. Age five is a great time to start teaching typology to kids…my twins loved finding connections in stories at that age. This book is on the curriculum for Kindergarten at our school, so I haven’t done as much reading in it with my younger two since I know they will be getting it in class. The artwork in this Bible is absolutely gorgeous.
My Bible Story Book is probably my favorite children’s Bible. It’s at around the same reading level as The Jesus Storybook Bible, but it doesn’t have pictures (just a few black and white drawings) so it may seem more suitable for older children. My children started enjoying it read aloud when they were age five. This book has 270 Bible stories, covering lesser known stories like “Wicked Manasseh Turns to God” and “Eutychus Falls from a Window.” The narration stays very close to the Biblical text, although it occasionally interpolates some commentary. This Bible would be very suitable for a fourth grader to read on their own, helping them develop a mastery of Biblical stories even if they are not quite ready to read the original text cover to cover. The huge bummer about this Bible is that it is out of print. I was able to get a reasonably priced used one a couple years ago, but it looks like the prices on Amazon are astronomical now.
Besides these three children’s Bibles, I could also give you a list of all the children’s Bibles that I don’t like, but perhaps that is better saved for some other time, some other place…. And of course, none of these Bibles can compare with the unbowdlerized Word of God which we want our children reading as soon as they are able.