Four favourite children’s Bibles

  • Timothy Raymond
  • 1 June 2016

Most Christian parents and grandparents are constantly looking for good reading material for the little ones in the family. What could be a better gift than an age-appropriate, biblically and theologically accurate children’s Bible that you can read aloud while the kiddos are sitting on your lap or wreathed around you on the sofa? I’m a big believer in family Bible reading and have been fortunate enough to read through several different ones with my children over the years. Below is my recommended list of four favourites in ascending order of preference, along with a couple comments about why I like them.

The Jesus Storybook Bible (cover)

The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name (Sally Lloyd-Jones and Jago)

I realize that this is many Christian parents’ number one choice, but I’m slightly put off by the avant-garde artwork, the occasionally imprecise paraphrasing and the (in my humble opinion) rather stretched Christological connections. But if you’re looking for an easy-to-read, colourful and sometimes humorous children’s Bible that will hold your kids’ attention and connect every story to the work of Jesus, this is a great one. We’ve read it probably six to eight times in its entirety. Ideal for children ages three to seven.

The Big Picture Story Bible

The Big Picture Story Bible (David Helm and Gail Schoonmaker)

This is the Bible I’m currently reading with my kids and they are thoroughly loving it (as am I). It’s colourful, conversational, engaging, accurate and arranged around the biblical-theological theme of God’s people living in God’s place under God’s word (see, for example, Vaughn Robert’s God’s Big Picture: Tracing the Storyline of the Bible and Graeme Goldsworthy’s The Gospel and Kingdom). My only criticism is that I wish it was longer and included more Old Testament stories. Designed for kids age two to seven.

The Child's Story Bible (cover)

The Child’s Story Bible (Catherine F Vos)

Though nearly 80 years old, this one is a hidden treasure. In some ways, I have a hard time understanding why my kids love it so: it’s long (410 pages), wordy (it contains double columns of text), it sometimes employs King James language, and it only includes an occasional picture (one every 50 pages or so), and even then, those look like they were drawn 80 years ago (see, for example, the cover art). Although it took us nearly a year of reading it every night to make it through the entire thing once, this is nonetheless one of our very favourites that the kids continue to rave about. The author Catherine, wife of the famous biblical theologian Geerhardus Vos, does an outstanding job, accurately summarizing the Bible’s accounts and fitting them into the overall drama of redemption. While it’s recommended for seven to 12-year-olds, my kids younger than that were captivated by it.

The Story Bible (cover)

The Story Bible (Edward Engelbrecht, Gail Pawlitz and various illustrators)

This lesser-known edition is our family’s all-round favourite for two simple reasons: first, the artwork is beautiful and realistic (as opposed to outlandish and cartoonish), and second, the text is actual Bible text (simplified ESV) and not somebody’s paraphrase. This is our default family Bible: we keep reading it through again and again, and will occasionally put it aside to read something else, only to come back to it afterwards. I’m so excited about this Bible, I wrote a longer review and recommendation about it here. The authors claim it’s geared for children three to eight, but I have a hard time imagining how anybody wouldn’t benefit from reading it.

Well, those are this father’s favourite children’s Bibles. Let me know what children’s Bibles you’ve found helpful and why you like them. Any other hidden gems out there?