The Bible is the one Book that can have the most powerful impact on a person’s life. Choosing the right Bible for children can open the door for them to engage with Scripture at an early age. There are all sorts of wonderful storybook Bibles that do an excellent job of paraphrasing the stories and teachings in God’s Word in a more palatable way for kids, but nothing can substitute for the actual biblical text.
I want to share three easy tips as you search for the Bible that would best serve your child, and I will follow this up with a few suggestions of different Bibles for children along with the unique features and ages they serve.
1. Find a readable Bible translation.
A kids Bible is normally a child’s first introduction to reading the actual biblical text. Odds are a child will not be able to fully read and understand every part of the Bible, but the goal is to get him/her started—just a few baby steps to hopefully spark a flame that will grow into steadfast love for Scripture.
Choosing a translation that will be fairly easy to read is important. The KJV is a beautiful translation, but many of the words found in this translation are not used in our current vernacular. For a child just learning to read, this may be a barrier. Translations like the CSB, NIV, NIrV, or NLT flow more smoothly in certain portions of the Bible and are less choppy than translations that might use a more literal word-for-word approach.
Most likely, a parent will be reading the Bible with his/her child, so most translations will be useful. It may just take more explaining and researching on your end to convey the meaning of the text you are reading.
2. Consider the age of your child.
The age of your child will impact the study helps and illustrations that will be found within the Bible. If you are purchasing for a toddler (ages one through four), the Bible should have a lot of pictures and really simple study tools or callouts. For children ages five through eight, a Bible that will be most useful will normally be more visually engaging with illustrations of Bible stories scattered throughout and callouts that highlight the most basic themes or teachings in Scripture. For children ages nine through twelve, they may be ready for a Bible with more robust study tools that help them understand how the Bible flows as one story. They can see how themes relate and meditate on more thought-provoking questions as they begin to feel more confident in reading the Bible by themselves.
3. Think about how your child learns.
It is important to note that all children are different, and it takes some discernment as to what will best help them feel more comfortable reading the Bible. Some children are more readily drawn to illustrations, videos, and pictures while others are interested in reading book introductions, short explanations of the text, or interesting excerpts about characters and events in the Bible.
If your child is more captivated by drawings and illustrations, then it might not be as important to purchase a Bible with book introductions or a plethora of special callouts. On the other hand, if your child is a bit more analytical, he/she might enjoy digging into the different facts that will give him/her a greater context to what he/she is reading. This is where you can use discernment beyond just age to determine what the best Bible is for him/her.
Now that you have a few tips for selecting a Bible for children, below are a few great options to choose from!
The CSB Great & Small Bible is a great choice for toddlers ages two through four. Throughout the Bible, there are inserts with beautiful illustrations of animals with verses at the bottom. There are also spots where parents can write special notes to their children, noting their hopes for them, prayers for their children, or a special Bible verse chosen for them.
This is a wonderful Bible to pass down to your child as a keepsake when he/she grows older.
The CSB Kid’s Bible is an excellent option for children five through eight years old. This particular Bible includes a greater number of excerpts with different special helps. Some of these helps include how to study the Bible, the books of the major prophets, the life of Jesus, and many others. This is a Bible that is really easy to follow and doesn’t overwhelm with too much information.
This Bible will help your child become comfortable with the Bible.
The CSB One Big Story Bible is an incredibly robust Bible for children and a strong option for ages nine through twelve This Bible includes book introductions, excerpts that showcase how the entire Bible points to Jesus, illustrations of different Bible stories, and many other study helps. There is even an app that allows the user to see a video that explains the text being read.
The CSB One Big Story Bible gives children a better understanding of how the Bible fits together as one story, as the name implies.
Brandon Taylor works on the marketing team for the Christian Standard Bible. He graduated from the University of Alabama and love to cook and cheer on the Tide in his spare time.