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