Devotions For Kids: Which Bible Do We Use?
My children are still young enough that they can show me how old they are with just their hands. Yet, despite their age, we have managed to read all the way through at least three Children’s Bibles. The very act of sitting down for devotions with a child can be daunting for some, so asking the question, “Which Bible do we use?” can often be the last question on someone’s mind. Yet, it’s a rather important decision.
If you’re reading your children the King James Version (KJV) and they are as young as my children are, you may want to reconsider you’re answer to this question! If you’re reading a children’s storybook Bible to a boy who is itching his first chin-hairs, you might want to reconsider. And if you’ve read through the Bible you are using with them and the stories or morals of the story are considerably different than what you understood them to be, you may want to reconsider. Let me give you a few suggestions.
First, if your children are young, use a storybook Bible. They can condense large portions of scripture into simplified stories that they can understand. This is important if they are going to get the message of each story. This will allow truths to be conveyed, and young hearts to be impacted, without a lot of definitions, and advanced theology courses.
Second, if your children are old enough to tie their shoes, start giving them small doses of a real Bible translation. I’d encourage that you use a version that your whole family can be comfortable with, as it’ll simplify Bible memorization and catechisms if you do those sorts of things. Even if you don’t do those things, it’ll still be easier for you to answer any of their questions if you’re using the same version.
Finally, whatever Bible you choose to use, make sure you help them get excited about the stories by asking questions, thinking through the story with them, and maybe even using more than just one tone when reading the stories to them. In other words, brush up on your acting skills and make it fun!
For children under six, I’d recommend The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones. The illustrations within this Storybook Bible are very well done, the stories all point back to Christ, and they are Gospel-Saturated. I’d highly recommend this Bible. We are on our third time through this Bible, and we still all enjoy it (I still haven’t to try to pick apart the theology)!
For children who can tie their shoes, buy them a copy of the ESV Children’s Bible and encourage them (gently) to read portions of it (or read it with them)! Get them used to reading it regularly. As they get older, make a habit of asking them what they are reading about in their devotions or if they have any questions about what they are reading.
The ESV is just our family’s preference. We prefer a translation a little closer to the word for word translation while still having a modern sound to it. It’s a good blend for us. So, let me ask you! What Bible do you use for your children?