2014 Christmas Gift Guide
As a children’s & preschool pastor, questions about children’s Bibles and other kids resources start to pop up around me like Christmas trees in living room windows. In an attempt to answer a few questions and to save parents, grandparents, and the occasional aunt from having to sift through endless internet reviews, I offer you a few recommendations for the following resources: preschool & children’s Bibles, parenting & family books and kid’s books, as well as Bible buying guidelines for older children! If you have other suggestions please leave comments below!
Divided into two volumes (From the Old Testament & From the New Testament) these Bibles are perfect for toddlers. Covering twenty Bible stories each, these books deliver gospel centered truth in a board format that your toddler eat on while you read!
David Helm with illustrations by Gail Schoonmaker
“The Big Picture Story Bible” is the best children’s Bible designed for preschoolers and younger children. The pictures are large and simplistic. The stories are short but have a high fidelity to the content of the Scripture. If you have an infant or early preschooler on your list, I encourage you to give this Bible a look!
Children’s Bibles & Devotionals
Created by the writers of the “Gospel Project,” our church’s Sunday school curriculum, this children’s Bible does an excellent job of presenting the whole counsel of God as seen by the pages devoted to Zephaniah and the Pauline letters. Each story is accompanied by a great illustration, interactive media, scripture references, an explanation of how the story relates to Christ, and a discussion questions. If your child is only going to have one children’s Bible on his or her self, make it this one!
The author has done a wonderful job of representing the entirety of scripture in his children’s Bible. Beginning in Genesis, Machowshki covers every major Bible story. Each lesson is accompanied by Scripture references and discussion questions. The biggest benefit of this Bible is that is can be used with Marty’s two family discipleship books, “Long Story Short” and “Old Story New,” creating a great family worship and/or Sunday school curriculum for children of all ages! If you have room for another children’s Bible, get this one!
Sally Lloyd-Jones & Jago
This beautifully illustrated book is a great devotional for kids of all ages. It’s pictures are beautiful enough to capture a baby’s attention, and the content consistently points to the beauty of Christ in a creative but truthful manner. This devotional makes a great addition to every kid’s bookshelf.
Bruce A. Ware
Written by a seminary professor for his two little girls, the book breaks down the deepest doctrines of faith into bites that children can easily digest. This child styled systematic theology book will be an encouragement to parents and children alike as they seek to understand humanity, God, and the Bible. It’s one of my favorite books to handout.
Though I am not generally a fan of devotionals, I picked up this one at the recommendation of Dr. Stuart Scott. And this book has quickly become my favorite devotional. Complied from the expositional writings of the famous preacher, C.H. Spurgeon by Roy H. Clarke, this devotional is stock full of timely encouragement taking straight from the scriptures. This is a great resources for tired parents and everyone else.
This book is short enough for a busy mom to handle and provides sound gospel-centered truth on the realities of motherhood. Motherhood is a hard but important job, and Gloria encourages the worn out women of God who are called to the task! The gospel provides everything a mom needs to relieve stress and overcome misguided expectations. Ladies this is perhaps one of the best books available for moms!
Tedd Tripp shows parents how to discipline for the purpose of discipleship. He gives parents the scriptural foundation and the practical methods for addressing a child’s sinful heart. Tedd Tripp’s book is a great resource for parents both new and old.
This book is written by a lifelong Sunday school teacher for Sunday School teachers and for anyone working with kids either at home or at church. This book is full of practical wisdom concerning how to teach the gospel to children in way that is both Biblical and relational. Jack’s focus on the gospel challenges and reenergizes our hearts to reach the next generation for Christ.
Use wisdom when giving this book as a gift. But don’t be scared by the title. If you are looking for a book that discusses marriage, homosexuality, and birth control all in one place, this is your book. By sticking his nose deep into scripture Denny Burk helps Christians to think through many popular misconceptions about sex and tastefully helps believers grasp God’s plan for our lives!
If you spend large amounts of time in your car, are fond of road trips, or have middle school children who refuse to read, you should give Focus on the Family Radio Theatre a listen. It brings classic works such as “ The Chronicles of Narnia,” “The Hiding Place,” and “Ann of Green Gables” (just to name a few) to life with fantastic performance by a host of professional actors and actresses!
Beautifully illustrated as R.C. Sproul’s other children’s books (The Priest With Dirty Clothes, The Donkey Who Carried a King, The Barber Who Wanted to Pray, etc.) this book tells the story of Christ’s death through a medieval parable. The beautiful story is laced with the power of the gospel and makes a great addition to every child’s bookshelf.
Beautifully illustrated, the book presents the splendor of chastity in a fun, thoughtful manner that can be enjoyed by young girls and appreciated by those leaving the ranks of elementary school!
Tips For Buying Your Child’s First Bible:
- Avoid paraphrases. Several would-be Bibles, such as, the “Living Bible” and the “Message” take several interpretive liberties when translating Scripture. Though more grown up in nature, these Bibles are similar to children’s Bibles. They typically capture the idea of the passage or story, but bear little resemblance to the original text.
- Find an accurately translated Bible. For example, the “King James” Bible, the “New King James Bible, the “English Standard Version” of the Bible, the “New American Standard” Bible, and the “Holman Standard” Bible were all translated in such a way that the English words you find on their pages parallel the text of the original languages of the Bible.
- Give your child a readable Bible. If your child does not enjoy Shakespearean plays or cannot read old English, please do not give your kid a Bible with thee’s and thou’s. Hand your child the Bible that you consider to be the easiest to understand. Personally, I like the “New King James” (NKJV) and the “English Standard Version” (ESV) the best. However as Bibles aimed at children go, I think the new Holman Standard Big Picture Interactive Bible has perhaps the best and most helpful notes for kids.
- Do not fret about the frills. The Bibles listed above have been published with notes for kids, teens, babies, soldiers, and for every other type of person. Although the notes and packaging are nice, the Bible’s ability to transform lies in the content of the Word not its appearance. If you choose a themed Bible, look over the notes to make sure you agree with them.