5 Bibles Great Bibles For Kids!

Trying to pick out your child’s first real Bible, can feel like trying find a ball in a ball pit. There are so many options, it can be hard to know where to begin. Today, I want to share with you my top five Bible for kids: (If you are looking for children’s Bibles checkout my reads page here)

ESV Big Picture Bible

esv-big-pictureIf your kids have grown up reading the Big Picture Story Bible, they will like the Big Picture Bible.  This English Standard Version (ESV) translation is full of illustrations taken from the Big Picture Story Bible. Some are a full two pages. Other are nestles within the text. All of them are tied directly to a verse or surround passage. And as an added bonus, all the chapter headings are printed in pink or purple. As your children read the Bible, they will love the colorful pages.

The Bible’s negative qualities are related to the fact that it has no notes, maps, or articles. The Bible does not help children study the Bible. And kids could outgrow the childish format of the Bible quickly.

With that being said, the Bible is still a great option for preschoolers and younger grade schoolers, especially since more and more pastors are starting to preach out of the ESV. It is by far the most colorful edition of the ESV to date. Click here to learn more


The Big Picture Interactive Bible

big-picture-interactive-bibleThe team at Lifeway has infused its popular Gospel Project Bible Sunday school curriculum into this colorful Bible. Available in either the New King James Version (NJKV) or Holman Christian Standard Verision (HCSV), this Bible is full of notes, pictures, maps, questions, and diagrams that help children understand how all of the Bible is connected to Christ. And the editors also included sections that highlight key verses to memorize, that offer definitions for “Big Words,” and encourage kids to see how Old Testament relates to the New Testament through “Seeing the Big Picture.” The Bible is stuffed with  great content, colorful illustrations, and pictures of historical artifacts. Both older preschoolers and grade school students alike will find this Bible engaging and helpful.

The one down side with the Big Picture Interactive Bible is that it is not available as in the ESV. But it is still worth a look as both the NJKV and the HCSV can be easily read by kids. Click here to learn more.


Apologetics Study Bible For Students

apologetics-bibleIf you have a child who regularly ask questions about Christianity and the Scriptures, this is the Bible for them. This HCSV Bible contains over 120 articles from authors like Ravi Zacharias that tackle topics such as, “Does the Bible Endorse Slavery, Why are There So Many Translations of the Bible, Are UFO’s Real, Does The Bible Demean Women,” and many more. Keeping in line with traditional study Bible, each page of this Bible contains notes that help the reader better understand the context and meaning of the Scriptures above. As your kids keep flipping through this Bible, they will also come across great personal stories, famous quotes, and twisted scripture sections, where the editors of the Bible address various misuses of God’s word. The Bible is designed for older grade school and junior high students.

The one negative is that the Bible is only available in the HCSV. But if you have a questioner or a child seeking to gain ownership of their faith, they will greatly benefit from having this Bible on their shelve! Click here to learn more.


ESV Student Bible

esv-student-bibleIf you are looking to get your child his or her first study Bible, consider this ESV Bible. It is packed with tons of Bible study notes that help explain translation issue and the meaning of the text, several maps, a few illustrations and book introductions. The Bible has its pages dotted with the profiles of famous men and women in the Bible and “Did You Know” text boxes that help children understand the historical context of various Scriptures such as when the Solomon compares his love to “a mare among Pharaoh’s chariots.” At the back of the Bible students will find a section dealing with how to study the Bible, another section on important Christian Truths, a glossary, and a concordance. The ESV Student Study Bible is a great starter Bible for grade school and older students. And if you have a child who likes color, they will like the fact that this Bible comes in bright orange, blue, green, purple, and a host of other options.

The one negative with this bible is the notes have been abbreviated from the ESV study Bible, causing one to wonder, “Why not just get my child and ESV study Bible?” But that concern aside, this is still a great Bible that will assist kids in their attempt to fully understand and apply the Scriptures. Click here to learn more.


Any Literal Translation

esv-bibleAt the end of the day, the most important thing about the Bible we select for our kids is the text. We need to give them a word for word translation. Translations like the NKJV, ESV, or HCSV and others would qualify because they to translate the ancient text as accurately as possible, avoiding editorial comments. While the notes in the Bibles above can be helpful, they transforming power of the Scriptures is found in God’s Word and not in our commentaries upon it. If you get your kid a simple black and white pew Bible, they will be fine. But if you want to get them a Bible already pre-equipped with some study tools checkout the ones above! Click here to learn more.



Review of: The Big Picture Interactive 52-Week Bible Story Devotional

Sargeant, Anna. The Big Picture Interactive 52-Week Bible Story Devotional. B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, 2016. pp224. $13.49

I cannot lie. I am a big fan of the Gospel Project and all things related to it. It combats the biblical ignorance of our day by walking families through every book of the Bible. With colorful pictures, great lesson, and fun crafts, the study shows kids how all of scriptures points to the gospel of Jesus Christ. In addition to producing great Sunday school materials, the Gospel Project brand via Lifeway has produced a ton of great resources for the home. They’ve released board book Bibles, children’s Bibles, and a student study Bible that empower parents to reach their kids with the gospel.

And now Lifeway has released its first Gospel Project devotional for kids called, The Big Picture Interactive 52-Week Bible Story Devotional For Kids. Although the title is not too catchy, the content is! If you are looking for a great devotional for grade school kids that will connect them to the story of Jesus, then this is the devotional for you!

How It Works

As the title suggests, the devotion is divided into 52 weeks. Each week stars with a one page devotion filled with application from a Bible story such as creation, the ten commandments, or the parable of the sower. The next page contains a colorful picture that your kids might recognize from Sunday school with a brief summary of the story underneath it.

Turn the page, and you come across a whole host of additional information. There is a “Read It” section, containing verses that show how the principles of the story appear all over the Bible. Underneath the “Read It” section, the “Christ Connection” shows how the story fits into the entire gospel narrative. Also a QR code on the page links you to the Gospel Project Sunday School video that creatively recounts the Bible story you just read.big picture devotoin

On the next page over there are three sections: “Live Big.,” “Big Picture Questions,” and “Dear God.” The “Live Big” section is full of great ideas that will help your kids apply scriptures. The activities include everything from planting seeds, to praying for the lost, to getting your family to do a trust fall (You might want dad for that one). The “Big Picture Questions” help kids apply the lesson to their own lives, by challenging them to think about whether they would obey God or cheat on a test. Would they be willing to love the bully next door? Lastly, each devotion ends with a “Dear God” section. It is a prayer designed to show the kids how they can ask God to equip them for every good work in light of what they have just studied.

How you go through the material is up to you. You could do it in a day, a few days, or stretch it out over the whole week. Regardless of how you do it, this devotion brings the truths of the Bible into your kids’ lives through stories, Bible reading, videos, activities, discussions, and prayers. With so many resources at their disposal, parents should be able to connect their kids to the gospel.

What To Like:

Of all the kid’s devotionals I’ve come across, this is one of the best because it faithfully teaches Jesus in a kid friendly manner. It helps kids to see that salvation comes through Christ alone through faith alone. And then it helps them to understand what it means to be a Christian in real life. Because the devotion covers the full scope of the biblical narrative, it touches on a ton of relevant topics for kids and their families. It talks about death, suffering, how to fight the urge to work our way to heaven, how to overcome the fear of man, and much more. In short, the devotion hits on a ton of the issues of that kids struggles with day in and day out. And as families work through the stories and illustrations, they will learn that God’s word is relevant for their lives and hopefully grow in their faith.

What Not To Like:

Although, the devotion does many things well, it has a few draw backs. First, there are no big picturedirect scripture references. Although the devotions are filled with supporting scriptures, the reader is never told where the Bible stories come from. I feel that having the scripture references printed somewhere in the devotional would help the kids and parents grasp that the stories are historical. Second, a few of the devotions such as the one about Zacharias and the one on Samson, assume that the reader already knows the story (p.76, 122). The “Hear It” section does offer a short explanation of the story. But I could easily see a reader doing these devotions and not gaining a full understanding of that particular biblical text. And lastly, some of the devotions focus on secondary points of application. For example when talking about Samson on page 76, the devotion says we need to trust that God is always working. And while this is true conclusion, I think the main point of Samson’s story is that Samson shows our need for Jesus, the true deliver. And thankfully, the “Christ Connection” says just that. “Jesus would come as the last Deliverer, saving through His life and His death those who would trust in him” (p.78). Sometimes, I wish the “Christ Connection” was the devotion.  But at the end of the day, these are all minor concerns. Anna has done a great job of walking people through the Bible in 52 lessons. This was not an easy task.

Final Thoughts

Like all of the other Gospel Project for Kids materials to date, the 52-week devotional does not disappoint. It is a great resource for families with grade schoolers. The devotions are filled with illustrations that most every kid can relate to. (Using the stories of Corrie Ten Boom and Martin Luther King to explain the gospel is an added plus). Moreover, the “Live Big” and “Big Picture Questions” sections show kids how to insert the gospel into their lives. How great would it be if every kid applied the scriptures by praying for their lost cousins, by doing the dishes, and by getting the bully at school a birthday present? If you are looking for a devotional that will help your young family understand and apply the narratives of the Bible, get this new devotional.

And if your church is like mine and currently uses the Gospel Project Curriculum, this devotional will be an even bigger blessing. It will enable you to work in tandem with your church I will allow your church to reinforce your family worship time.

Are you ready to get copy of the 52 Week Bible Story Devotional?

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2015 Christmas Guide

On Black Friday, the holiday shopping season begins in earnest. I affectionately refer to this time as “The Season of Insanity.” And part of the insanity is caused by the seemingly unending array of choices. Lifeway and Christian Book Distributers alone recommend thousands of items. Don’t even think about amazon. Determining which Christian books and resources are good and which are religious fluff is hard. And who has the hours to do that?

Hi, there! Throughout the course of the year, I read and examine a ton of books and resources for the FBCE kids’ ministry. Below I have listed the best of the best. I hope my reviews make your Christmas a little less insane! And if you know of things that could be added to this list, leave me a comment below!

Christmas 2015 Guide


Ideas For Preschoolers

The Big Picture Interactive Bible Stories in Five Minutes.  – $10.74

Gospel ProjectBible Story in five minutes

This is one of my favorite preschool/kids’ Bibles because it doesn’t try to be a traditional kids Bible.  Starting with creation and ending with Jesus’ resurrection the book covers 12 important biblical stories.  By not being exhaustive, the book can recount each Biblical narrative as a story. The beautifully illustrated pages flow from one to the next. And last page always ties the story back to the gospel. And the best part for us with young kids is: the stories only last 5 minutes!

The Bible App For Kids Story Book Bible – $9.57

You VersionBible App Kids BIble

It has finally happened. An App has become a book! The Bible App For Kids Story Book Bible left the digital world earlier this year and is becoming an instant hit. Each of the book’s gospel-centered Bible stories can be read in about 1-2 minutes. But what makes this preschool Bible stand out from all the rest is its free digital content. You can download the “Story Book Bible App” for free and get access to even more Bible stories. You also can go to the bibleappforkids.com website and download coloring sheets, videos, discussions guide, and much, much more. With this one preschool Bible, you can teach your kids the scriptures across all platforms (print, mobile, and PC).  


The Big Picture Interactive Bible Stories for Toddlers – $9.99

Gospel Projecttoddler Bible

Divided into two volumes (one is Old Testament stories and one is New Testament stories) 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!  


The Big Picture Story Bible – $16.98

David Helm with illustrations by Gail SchoonmakerBig Picture Story Bible

“The Big Picture Story Bible” is one of the better preschool Bibles. The pictures are large and simplistic. The stories are short and include some commentary. But for the most part the Bible follows the content of the Scripture closely. Some additions also come with a nice audio recording of the Bible. If you have younger kids on your list, I encourage you to give this Bible a look!


Everything a Child Should Know About God – $19.99

Kenneth N. Taylor with illustrations by Jenny BrakeEverything a child should know about God

This is a great little book that covers all the major doctrines and ides of the Bible in one-page devotions. Each devotion is accompanied by a picture and follow questions. The book is perfect for the child with a short attention span. If  you already have a great preschool bible and are looking to add another book to your preschooler’s library check out Everything a Child Should Know About God.


Ideas For Kids

The Big Picture Interactive Bible Story Book – $12.22

Gospel ProjectBig Picture Interactive Story Book

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 (the gospel project app for kids), 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 Biggest Story: How The Snake Crusher Brings Us Back TO The Garden – $12.57

Ken DeYoung with Illustrations by Don ClarkBiggest Story Every Told

The Bible is not just a collection of short stories. It’s one big story with a central theme. DeYoung’s book encourages us to rediscover this truth this Christmas. Seeking to explain the importance of Christ’s arrival, Pastor DeYoung walks he readers through the entirety of the Bible in a playful, elegant, and hopeful manner. With each chapter, DeYoung shows kids that all of the Old and New Testament are about Jesus. He is the Biggest Story! DeYoung designed his book to be read aloud on Christmas morning while the family relaxes by the fireplace. You may not have a fire place, but you will still benefit from adding this book to your Christmas traditions. It’s worth the read.


Sticky Situations: 365 Devotions For Kids and Families – $11.71

Betsy Schmittsticky situations

The best thing about this devotion is that makes the scriptures relevant for kids. It shows kids that the Bible has the words of life and the words needed for everyday life. Here’s how the devotion works: Each day begins with story about homework, dirty clothes, or some other sticky situation. Then, the author asks the reader what he or she would do listing several responses both good and bad. Lastly, your kids are encouraged to look up the scripture verse listed at the bottom of the page to discover God’s solution to the situation. To make sure everybody stays on track, an answer key and additional discussion questions are located in the back of the book. This collections of 360 practical devotions is second to none.


The Ology: Ancient Truths Ever Knew – $26.99

Marty Machowskithe ology

If you are looking for a colorful book that explains theology to grade schoolers and middle schoolers without babying them, you need to grab a copy of The Ology. The book explores the subject of God, scripture, humanity, salvation, the church, and many other topics. Each section contains colorful illustrations, well written explanations of big theological truths, and tons of scripture references. You can use the book either as a family devotional or hand it off to your middle schooler and let him or her start learning the scriptures anew!


Heaven For Kids – $9.17

Randy Alcornheaven for kids

Have your kids ever asked you about heaven? You probably heard the questions: “Will it be boring, will our pets be there, how do we get there, etc.?” If they have, grab them a copy of Heaven for Kids. Based on Randy Alcorn bestselling book, Heaven, Heaven for Kids provides thoughtful answers to the above questions and many more. Each chapter is filled with stories, analogies, and scriptural explanations that bring the reality of heaven into full view. Get a copy for your kids and help them start thinking about eternity! 


Ideas For Parents

Big Truths For Young Hearts: Teaching and Learning the Greatness of God – $11.55

Bruce A. Warebig truths for young hearts

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. If you want to get one book this year that increases your understanding of God, this is it. By far, this is one of my favorite books to handout to parents.  


Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full: Gospel Meditations For Busy Moms – $9.88

Gloria Furmantreasuing Christ

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! 


Shepherding A Child’s Heart – $12.56

Tedd Trippsheparding a childs heart

Tedd Tripp shows parents how to discipline for the purpose of discipleship. He gives parents the scriptural foundation and the practical methods for addressing the issues that often define the parent-child relationship. But instead of focus on outward changing, Tripp goes deeper and looks at the heart. He shows parents how to reach their little sinners with the gospel. Tedd Tripp’s book is a both a practical and biblical resource for parents.


Show Them Jesus: Teaching the Gospel to Kids – $15.54

Jack Klumpenhowershow them Jesus

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 will challenge and re-energizes our hearts to reach the next generation for Christ.  


Is God Ant-Gay? -$7.99

Sam AllberryIs God anti Gay

Homosexuality is daily becoming more applauded in our society. As Christians, we need to know how to address the issue in a loving, compassionate, and truthful manner. Is God anti-gay? gives us the biblical knowledge to do just that. The short 84-page book helps us answers several of our culture’s questions about homosexuality such as, “Jesus never mentions homosexuality, so how can it be wrong?” And, Allberry goes beyond addressing the sins. He shows his readers how to extend grace to the sinner. Grab a copy today!

For Fun

apples to apples bibleApples to Apples (Bible Addition) – $21.89

If you want a fun, family friendly game that is sure to create some laughter grab a copy of Apples to Apples! You deal every player a hand of cards and then turn over a green card such as “heavenly.” Each player submits their card that best represents the card played, such as “Ruth; Camels, Samson.” The players then vote to decided who’s card best represent the word players. It’s time to grab some apples.   


catch phraseCatch Phrase- $21.99

Set the timer, pick a category, and go! You then try describe the catch-phrase on the screen without using any of the words in the phrase. If “Christmas” were the word you were trying to say, you would say something like, “We celebrate it every December 21.” But don’t take too long as times money. And if the devise in your hands when the timer goes off, you lose. The game is one of my family’s favorites. I hope your family will love it too!


51zhk2pdjWLFocus on the Family Radio Theatre Drama – $9.99 – $27.99

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!


The Prince’s Poison Cup – $15.35

R.C. Sproulprince and the posion cup

Beautifully illustrated as R.C. Sproul’s other children’s books (The Priest With Dirty Clothes, The Donkey Who Carried a King, The Baber 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.


Princess and the Kiss: A Story of God’s Gift of Purity – $10.62

Jennie Bishopprincess and the kiss

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!