What Bible translation should you use with children? What are the best Bible resources for them?
I interviewed three children’s ministry leaders who shared their favorite Bible translations and Bible resources for children. The kidmin experts who joined me for the interview are Sam Luce, Kathie Phillips, and Chelsea Bell.
1. Which Bible resource(s) have you found works really well for toddlers and preschoolers?
KP: My favorite resources for toddlers & preschoolers would include the Jesus Storybook Bible & My First Hands-On Bible. The Jesus Storybook Bible is a resource that can grow with a child (meaning that a parent can read it to a preschooler but an older child could read it on their own) and it points back to Jesus. My First Hands-On Bible is visually appealing, offers interactive activities and discussion questions.
CB: The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones is an excellent Bible resource for toddlers and pre-schoolers. I have found that even the youngest ones can follow along well and be engaged in this Bible.
2. What other resources would you recommend to help children learn about God during these younger years?
SL: I would recommend – Jared Kennedy’s The North Star Catechism – He sells a flash card version that is well worth the 5 dollars. I think every kids should learn the Catechism; there are few things in my mind that ignite faith like centuries of truth condensed into short statements of truth.
KP: Other resources I’d recommend for toddlers & preschoolers are Veggie Tales. I also love the preschool curriculum resources provided by Orange; the curriculum is, in my opinion, the best preschool curriculum on the market.
3. Ok, let’s move next to elementary-age kids. What is your favorite Bible translation(s) for them, and why?
SL: The Action Bible by David C Cook is a great resource because it is very accurate and extremely visual. There is something about seeing a story that impacts a kids faith. After that I would recommend The ESV Grow! Bible – because it is broken into much easier segments and they also add in information about the text you are reading that give kids a better context for who it was written to as well as who it was written about.
KP: My favorite Bible translations for elementary-age children are New International Reader’s Version & New International Version. New International Reader’s Version is written on a very child-friendly level and is a great option for beginning and intermediate readers. New International Version is also easy to read and understand.
CB: I enjoy using a slightly newer translation, the Holman Christian Standard Bible. As far as literal word-for-word translations go, HCSB is a step above the NIV and just below the ESV. For elementary children though, it’s actually a readable and understandable translation.
4. Do you have any awesome Bible resources that you would recommend for children at this age?
SL: Again, I am a huge fan of Catechism. I would encourage parents to download New City Catechism for their iPad or online. It has prayers, songs, explanations and videos for each question as well as a long and short form of the answer. Kids desperately need grounding in theology and Catechism does that well. The first question of the Heidelberg Catechism still moves me every time I read it.
KP: Awesome resources for elementary-age children include Adventurebible.com (games & activities), What’s in The Bible, and The Action Bible (for older elementary-age children). I would also recommend You Version’s Bible App for Kids.
CB: Recently, I just discovered The Big Picture Interactive Bible from The Gospel Project for Kids. Something I love about this resource is that it provides a Big-Words dictionary, Christ-connections, and “100 verses to remember.” It also highlights “Big Questions/Big Answers” and comes with a downloadable app. The best part though is that this is the whole Bible—no stories are left out!
Steven: That’s it, thank you all! For our readers, I hope these resources help you as you seek to disciple children. If you want to connect with these ministry leaders, check out their info below.
About the Authors:
Sam Luce has been the children’s pastor at Redeemer Church in Utica, NY for the past 14 years. Currently, he is serving as the Utica Campus Pastor and the Global family pastor. SamLuce.com is his personal blog, which is focused on leadership, children’s ministry and creativity. He writes about things he is passionate about, the power of the gospel, becoming a better leader, ministering to kids, technology, humorous anything, and being the best dad and husband he can be.
Kathie Phillips has served in children’s ministry since her teenage years and is the Director of Children’s Ministry at Central Presbyterian Church in Baltimore, Maryland. Her blog, KidMinspiration.com, is designed to provide practical tips and inspiration for kidmin leaders, volunteers and parents.
Chelsea Bell is planning on graduating Dec. 2014 with a B.A in Children’s Ministry from Moody Bible Institute. For the last 6 years, she has served in children’s ministry through Sunday School, Awana, camping ministries, and para-church organizations. Besides children’s ministries, she enjoys writing and a good bowl of (Ben & Jerry’s) ice-cream.