Christian parents can get stuck on what may seem like the little things. You know your kids should be exposed to the Bible at home, but what’s the best way to do it for the currents ages of your kids? While every child is different, these guidelines can at least give you a starting point.
- Infants – baby Bible….few words, lots of engaging art work, interactive aspects to Bible like texture, tell simple Bible stories regularly
- Toddler – toddler Bible …a few more words, still lots of pictures, basic questions about the story to help them remember it, tell simple Bible stories regularly and ask simple questions and/or explain parts which may be confusing
- Preschool – Depending upon child, toddler Bible or children’s Bible, still need artwork, still summaries of the stories, exposure to a few verses from the “real” Bible with each story, questions and scripture memory work to help remember story, more formal family devotionals regularly including Bible story or scripture, prayer and songs or activity when time allows
- Early elementary – begin transitioning to a simple translation of the Bible, like the NIrV. Children who aren’t strong readers may still need a children’s Bible for independent Bible reading…start child on independent Bible reading with discussion afterwards to clarify vocabulary, meaning, etc. Continue reading and telling Bible stories to the child…including more complex ones. Continue discussing what is read and encouraging reflection upon and memory of scripture
- Late elementary – depending upon reading level of available translations of Bible and reading ability of child – may continue mix of children’s and adult Bible reading or transition entirely to adult Bible (still NIrV translation if possible). Should be able to retell numerous Bible stories from memory, have several scriptures memorized and be able to summarize many others. Should be moving towards independent Bible study more comfortably, although still needs parents to read or tell complex Bible stories and explain them. Able to read and discuss Bible passages that don’t involve a story
- Teens – should be moving towards independent daily Bible study…still need help understanding complex passages, should be exposed to the majority of the stories in the Bible and many passages not connected to stories…should show the beginning of being able to use the Bible to teach others about Jesus/God. Should have either memorized or be able to summarize a wide variety of key Bible verses
The specific baby and children’s Bibles you choose are largely a matter of the preferences of you and your child. We prefer ones that follow the actual Bible story as accurately as possible without a lot of added details. For readers, we prefer the NIrV version in English. We chose it because it is a translation and not a paraphrase and is written on a third grade reading level. You can now find them in more “grown up” covers and with study aids included.
Teens who do well in school, may prefer a slightly more accurate version than the NIrV, but watch reading levels carefully. If they choose a version with a reading level much higher than their current reading level (ask their school teacher if you don’t know their reading level), they may become frustrated and not want to read the Bible because it is “too hard”. (This link gives the reading levels of many popular versions of the Bible. https://www.biblegateway.com/blog/2016/06/bible-translation-reading-levels/
Taking the time to introduce and/or expose your kids to the Bible in age appropriate ways can make it much more likely they will understand it and learn to enjoy reading it regularly themselves.