Choosing a Bible

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I am pretty picky about Bible translations, but when it comes to teaching young children the Bible, I find it’s important to use a translation they will understand.

However, in choosing one, you must be careful not to choose a translation that waters down or completely changes the meaning of verses. Strange as it sounds, you won’t find a “perfect” Bible, but you can find an honorable translation.

The translations I’ve found helpful for teaching my children are the NLT (New Living Translation), NIV (New International Version),  and the ICB (International Children’s Bible).

Particularly we use the Hands-On Bible and my daughter (10) uses the pink Sequin Bible (they also have one in teal). We also have the Big Red Holy Bible, which is also an ICB translation.

Of course, there are different Bible covers that contain the same words or translation. So pick one that suits your children.

Now keep in mind, translations are not perfect, which is why it’s important to have a good concordance and commentary.

A concordance helps you look up specific words to find their original meaning and synonoms that would accompany them.

A commentary gives further clarification on the Bible broken down in different chunks of text.

Don’t just buy any concordance or commentary either. They are not all created equal. You want one that has been tested against the Bible many times over with little fault.

We use Strongest Exhaustive NIV Concordance because NIV is what we use the most and we can easily compare it to everything else. For our commentary we use Matthew Henry’s through some Bible software we have.

But you can easily find a hard copy on Amazon or through your local Christian book store.

Is all this stuff really necessary you ask?

I would say yes, it is. It is our responsibility to test what we read. That doesn’t mean there won’t be times when the Holy Spirit gives revelation or clarification. But often He does so through our own laboring to find the Truth. It’s not always immediate. The Holy Spirit’s role is to give us understanding and help us remember what we’ve learned when we are living out our lives for the glory of God.

If we truly want Christ, we have to seek Him with all our heart.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13 (NIV)

I encourage you: don’t just open the Bible and read it. Study it. It is through these diggings that our faith grows and our walk with the Lord deepens.

Isn’t that what we want for our children, too?

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About Christin

The Dig Community Coordinator
Christin loves coming alongside and helping to create community and connection. She is here at the Dig to do just that!
She has a heart to encourage and equip women in aspects of discipleship, marriage, mothering, writing, blogging, and community. She sees the body of Christ as an important community of encouragement and discipleship and works to foster that around the web. Her biggest ministry is to her family and she knows how beautiful, hard, overwhelming, and exhausting mothering can be. Her passion is to encourage mothers who need a challenge or a lift (or both). She has been married 11 years and has 5 children ranging in age from 10 down to 2.

You can find her on her blog Joyful Mothering and chatting it up on Twitter as @ChristinWrites

  • Thank you for this article!

    For our children (6, 8, and 10), we like as a main Bible NIV “The Adventure Bible” by Zonderkids.

    We also really like “The Picture Bible”, “The Action Bible”, and “The Adventure Bible Handbook”.

  • Jennifer

    Up until recently, we have also used the NIV for our children for memorization and reading. But with the NIV making gender-neutral changes in their most recent updates, we have sought out a different translation to use. We have made the switch to the ESV.

    • Yes, Jennifer, I agree. We tend to stick with the NIV84 for now. But I understand they are no longer selling them (or will no longer be selling them). So when my Bible falls apart, I’ll have to choose a new translation as well.

  • Another great Bible for kids that is really awesome is the Action Bible. It is in cartoon form and really gets the stories across to kids in a way to bring it to life. They can see all the awesome art work and visualize it. We got to meet the illustrator last year at our church. He’s done work for Marvel and DC Comics.
    You HAVE to check it out!

  • Another important consideration for little kiddos is the set-up of the Bible. Columns are often confusing for kids so finding a Bible with straight-across text like a regular book is helpful if they are doing the reading by themselves!

    Just my 2cents! 🙂


    • Great tip, Amanda!! Thank you! 🙂