Teaching the Bible to kids can be a challenge, as is finding books and Bibles suitable for your children’s level of learning.
The Illustrated NIRV Holy Bible for Kids works to remedy this challenge by creating a more kid friendly format.
The recommended age range for children is 4-8 years old. The binding is a durable hardback with a flap on the back to hold the large map included with this bible. This flap is easily removed. The map should probably be posted or stored somewhere separately to avoid getting lost or torn.
Unlike most bibles, the text is formatted in a single column, rather than the traditional double column, so that kids do not lose their place or become confused while reading.
Many early readers struggle with the column format because they are used to reading straight across the page from left to right until they run out of letters. The layout does not include footnotes or mid-column cross references, making it a simpler read.
Another useful feature is the inclusion of occasional maps within the text. (Personally, I wish I didn’t have to flip to the back of a regular bible in the hopes of finding a correlating map!)
The images throughout the bible are colorful and connected to the passage within, adding interest for early readers. Occasionally, it will add helpful information that children are unlikely to know, such as this line of descendants:
The Bible also includes a full-color, double-sided poster with a map of the middle east region where many of the Bible events occurred. One helpful feature is the inclusion of modern-day nations superimposed over the ancient regions.
The opposite side has a family tree:
The only problems with this “tree” is it isn’t laid out like most family trees. In that it goes in a sort of odd zig zag from left to right, rather than down like a traditional family tree.
While the layout and pictures are well-done, there are some issues that warrant addressing.
First, when it comes to the Bible, I want my children to have as accurate a version as possible. I prefer word-for-word translations (such as the NASB and ESV) rather than thought-for-thought translations (NIV, The Message, etc). In the preface, the translators note that they did check the original Greek to ensure accuracy, but it is still a thought-for-thought translation which I find to be problematic in my own studies. My children have not struggled with basic comprehension while reading the ESV or NASB. I also feel the beauty of the prose is lost in this translation; it’s a little oversimplified. Again, this is a matter of preference; I recommend reading some passages and deciding if you think it would be helpful to your own children.
Secondly, it’s important for parents to note that rather than the traditional use of “know” or “lie with” to refer to sexual relations, the words “sex” or “slept with” are often used in their place. While I appreciate the straightforward accuracy of the terms, a parent must decide whether they are ready to have that discussion with their child should they come across the word while reading. This is a difficulty in reading any translation of the Bible with children, because these topics are often advanced for their level anyway.
Lastly, it’s important to note that within in the book of Matthew, there is a large layout of Jerusalem called “the Easter Story Map.” This may or may not be an issue for you, but since this was not a term in Jesus’ time nor a “holiday” referred to in the scriptures, it may be something you want to consider if that is an issue for your family.
I hope you found this review helpful in your search for an early reader children’s bible. If you have any questions, please comment below!
I received a copy of this Bible for free as a member of the Bible Gateway Blogger Grid for the purpose of honest, unbiased review. I received no monetary compensation for this review. This Bible is available for purchase from Bible Gateway. I do not receive any affiliate money through clicks or links.