We had one of those priceless family moments last Saturday – the sort of moment you wish you could just bottle and re-produce time and time again.
Suz & I were keen to spend some time alone with God (code-named “Q” (for quiet time) in our house) but struggling to work out how to fit it in, having to take turns with the kids etc etc. Then one of us – I can’t remember which but it was probably Suz – suggested that EVERYONE (except 4-month old Gussy who was mercifully asleep) should spend some time reading the Bible & praying – “doing their Q”. To our great surprise and delight the idea was greeted with warm enthusiasm from both 5 y.o. Daisy and 3 y.o. Hamish.
So we grabbed a couple of our kids Bibles, set each of them up in a different spot in the house and left them to it. 20 MINUTES LATER the silence was broken and we all got back together – refreshed and re-focused from our reading and prayer.
Now I’m not sure that the kids really did much more than look at the pictures but that in itself is a wonderful thing and a great encouragement to me – that they enjoy God’s word enough to want to spend some time in it by themselves. My great hope and prayer for our kids is that they will hold on to that enjoyment and grow in it and in Christ as a result.
It also made me very grateful for the resouces we have at our disposal to encourage our kids to enjoy reading the Bible. Below is a selection of the kids Bibles that we use in our house and a brief description of each. We find that having a few kids Bibles that we can rotate means that the kids interest is maintained even though we read the Bible together everyday.
1. The Beginner’s Bible (distributed by Zonderkidz): this was the first kids Bible we bought and is the most appropriate for very young kids because of the bright & simple pictures and the very short stories. We started reading the Bible to our kids from quite young – perhaps about 6-9 months because we wanted them to grow up from teh very beginning knowing that it was a normal part of life. We knew that they wouldn’t really understand anything more than that at such a young age but prayed that the example of daily Bible reading would be something that stays with them all their lives.
2. The Big Picture Story Bible (by David Helm): This Bible opens with an acknowledgment of the influence of Graeme Goldsworthy – an Australian theologian who is the “father” of what is often called “Biblical Theology” –
reading the Bible as ONE BIG STORY, rather than just a collection of lots of
little unrelated stories. To have a kids Bible that reveals the wonderful unity of the Bible story is such a great gift. If you want your kids to grow up with a true sense of how all the Bible fits together around Jesus, get your hands on this one.
3. The Step-By-Step Bible (by V. Gilbert Beers, published by Chariot Victor Publishing): This is a kids Bible that grows on me every time we read it. I actually bought it by accident – misled by the blurb on the back which boasted: “Now kids can get an overview of the Bible as a comprehensive whole and understand how God has orchestrated events over time”. I took this to mean something similar to what I described as “Biblical Theology” in the previous paragraph it was only later that I discovered that this Bible didn’t quite deliver in this area. BUT what it does have is a lot more detail than any of the other kids Bibles and so introduces them to a
broader selection of the Bible and not just the key moments in salvation history. For this I highly recommend it.
4. The Jesus Storybook Bible (by Sally Lloyd-Jones): Our most recent kids Bible purchase combines the best features of the previous 2 (the Big Picture Story Bible & the Step-By-Step Bible). It has the “Biblical Theological” approach of the former (it’s subtitle is “every story whispers his name”) while adding some of the detail of the latter. I think it also has the best illustrations of all our kids Bibles and in terms of writing content and style is probably most suitable for kids in the 5-10 age range. One of the best features of this Bible is that it doesn’t just tell the story of the Bible but also includes some helpful intepretation of what each part means.
No-one will ever write the perfect kids Bible but I reckon if you take the smorgasbord approach that we’ve adopted in our family (i.e. rotating through a number of good ones) your family will end up benefiting from the best features of each of the Bibles and your kids will love reading the Bible together as a family – or even apart!