Recently, I saw an ad for a series of Christian books. Each contained several books of the Bible and used the NIrV translation (which I believe is one of the better choices for kids and many teens). The one I chose to purchase contained the books of prophecy from the Old Testament – The Prophets:Books of the Old Testament for Kids.
This way of presenting the Bible is unique, without changing scripture. Perhaps the most interesting choice is to go back to the original style and omit chapters and verses. (Chapter and verse numbers were not added until the 1500’s.) At first, I thought it might be confusing. After actually seeing it in person though, I have to admit I rather enjoy it. They do put a little squiggle between certain passages, and longer books are often divided into parts – arguably close to the chapter idea. There are less of them though and they tend to keep large thoughts together instead of breaking them up as some chapters tend to do.
The result is this Bible reads even more like a book or a letter, than the more extreme numbering system found in most Bibles. I found it less distracting and it made the flow a lot smoother. Of course, if you were to use these in a Bible class, helping someone figure out where to begin reading would be a little more difficult. English teachers in school do it with secular books on a regular basis though, so it’s not impossible.
The other difference is how they introduce each book of the Bible. They have an introduction as do many Bibles, with an added twist. Their introduction includes at least one question they suggest students ponder as they read. I love that idea of focusing their attention on something. I don’t think the suggestions were so specific though as to distract the student from other important ideas in the book.
The other main difference is the study questions at the end of each book. They are the same for each book as far as I could tell. I love the first three questions, but would change out the last two. While the Bible is absolutely about love, it’s also about obedience, worship, service and a lot of other things.
The only real negative to this method is that to read the entire Bible, you would need to purchase several volumes. I imagine that could get too costly for some. (I paid more for this one containing the Prophets than I have paid for complete Bibles in the NIrV.) I also wish they hadn’t named it “For Kids”. Honestly, I believe teens and adults would enjoy using them and some won’t just because of the title.
In general, I would say this is a great idea for encouraging your students to read the Bible independently. It would also make a great way to study the Bible in a “coffee shop” Bible study. It may interest students who are intimidated by the entire Bible and reinforce the idea that the Bible is a “library” of books – not one really large, difficult book. It’s definitely worth taking a look through one and seeing what you think.
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