By Rachel Lower
As your child grows too old for cardboard and plastic pages, the time comes for the tooth-marked baby's Bible to be passed down to little sister. As he learns to read on his own, short beginner Bible story books temporarily take the baby Bibles place.
When he has passed the young reader stage, and he's ready for more words and fewer pictures, you'll find many and varied options for his next children's Bible.
It can be a daunting task to pick out the "perfect" one. There are literally 100's of books to choose from!
The Illustrated Bible
There is a long-standing place for the basic childrens bible with vivid color illustrations, like the "The Child's Story Bible." They are great to use for bedtime stories or family devotionals. However, activity filled Bibles would likely be put into use more often by the child himself.
There are various types of childrens bibles, but in my opinion the best of the best offer not only easy reading, but also exciting activities that can merge devotion and play in a way that helps a child build a personal relationship with God. Getting excited about the Word early on will have lasting effects.
The "Adventure Bible" is the updated version of one Bible I grew up with, containing features like "Life in Bible Times" and "Did You Know?" as well as plenty of activities to reinforce biblical lessons. It's a best-seller. Similarly, there is the "Hands On Bible." Many kids will automatically model their private study after Sunday School with these, reading a passage and then doing the related activity. Others may need guidance to learn to do so.
When your child first sits down to read their new activity filled Bible, be there with them to guide them and show them any special features and how they can be used, and remind them that the nitty-gritty is in the actual bible chapters and verses themselves. Remind them or show them how to pray before and after their Bible time. Let your child write his or her name inside the front cover, and/or design their own book cover to make it theirs.
You can help your child figure out when and how much to plan to read each day. He or she may want you to share in the fun and use the Bible and included activities for family devotionals sometimes.
"Grown Up" Bibles
If you child thrives on acting mature like mom or dad, there are childrens bibles that look like mom and dads on the outside but are easier to understand inside. There is even a one-year bible for kids if they are not keen on the extra activities.
If you can afford it, you can try various types. Any that don't receive much attention could be passed along to another child or given to the church library. You may be able to find different types in your church library for test runs.
Devotional Bibles for Young Adults
As your children grow older, there are devotional Bibles tailored toward young adults, especially for young women or men, or for teens in general. Many of these incorporate devotionals addressing teenage issues and peer pressure.
Off to the Christian Book Store
If your child is in a cooperative mood, they might like to tag along to the Christian book store to have a say in which Bible they take home. Be sure to open or do your research on any prospects to make sure that they are true to the word, and really contain the high quality features that you are looking for. Be sure any info. boxes are helpful, in context, and preferably incorporate nearby verses into them.
If you're in search of add-ons, little extras for your child to read, you will find Bible story books about heroes, Jesus' proverbs, women in the bible, adventures, value driven stories, etc., which may already be in your church library. Beyond that are many genres of biblically rooted stories and books that can reinforce Christian values in children of all ages. To be safe, be sure to review them first to see if they are sound.
Lately there has been some coverage of raunchy and x-rated passages in secular teen novels. With that and the amount of non Christian influences creeping into regular childrens books, Christian childrens/teens book writers deserve a good look. Every year there are more reading options out there for young Christian readers by Christian authors.
Need more Guidance?
Zondervan has a page called, Steps to Choosing a Bible.
Various Bibles, book details, and reader's reviews were found at Amazon.com. Amazon also has a category of Christian books for kids, again with helpful reviews from readers.
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