The Mailbag: Children’s Bible Recommendations

I continue to update this article as new
Bibles and information become available.

Do you have any recommendations for a trustworthy Bible for children? My son is almost 6 and still learning to read well. I’m looking for a Bible that he might be able to grow with and use until he’s 10 or so. We’d love to get him in the practice of bringing his own Bible to church. I saw you have a large family so I thought you might have some insight.

Getting your kids started on Bible ownership and reading at an early age is definitely something Christian parents should be doing, and finding a great Bible for young readers can take some searching.

I do have six kiddos, but my youngest is almost fourteen- a little above the age bracket you’re looking at. I couldn’t remember which kids’ Bible we had most recently used with our own kids, so I asked my almost fourteen year old and my fifteen year old. They both reported that we had given them the NIV Adventure Bible when they were around six or eight. Sadly, I cannot commend that children’s Bible to you today (see below).

My friend Rachel over at danielthree18 recently wrote a helpful review of the ESV Following Jesus Bible she and her husband bought their son for Christmas. It wasn’t available when we were Bible shopping for our own kids, but if it had been, it’s probably the one we would have chosen.

As I was gathering links for this article, I stumbled across a couple more kids’ Bibles that, while I haven’t read them, look like they might be worth checking out: the ESV Grow Bible and the ESV Children’s Bible. I can’t personally vouch for either of them, so examine them carefully, but ESV Bibles generally have a reputation for being trustworthy.

More recently, Steadfast Bibles and Three Sixteen Publishing released the NASB (New American Standard Bible) Children’s Edition. The NASB is one of the most accurate and reliable English translations of the Bible on the market today. I used the NASB as my primary reading Bible for over 20 years and highly recommend it. I have no doubt that the children’s edition is equally stellar. Read more about the NASB Children’s Edition here.

If you’d rather get your son a simple, non-child themed, no frills Bible, I’d recommend a regular old ESV. If you’d like to examine the translations I’ve mentioned here, or any others, you can “try before you buy” at They have numerous Bible versions you can take a look at online for free. There’s even a side by side comparison feature:

You can also check your church’s library or your local public library and examine their children’s Bibles to see what’s available out there, and what your child likes, before purchasing him a Bible.

For our readers with smaller children, I’d like to suggest checking out (I haven’t read it) The Biggest Story Bible Storybook by Kevin DeYoung. Kevin has long had a reputation as a solid, trustworthy pastor and teacher of God’s word, not to mention a dad of young kids.

“Beginning in Genesis and ending with Revelation, DeYoung provides engaging retellings of various Bible stories, explaining how they fit into the overarching storyline. Each reading is coupled with beautiful illustrations by award-winning artist Don Clark and concludes with a reflective prayer. Perfect for bedtime stories or to read together as a family…”

While there are a number of good children’s Bibles out there, unfortunately, there are some that should be avoided. The following children’s Bibles and Bible storybooks are..

Not Recommended

Though numerous doctrinally sound sources have recommended The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones in the past (including Tim Challies and me), I’m afraid I can no longer commend it to you.

The Jesus Storybook Bible was released in 2007. In 2018, Sally Lloyd-Jones released a children’s book entitled Goldfish on Vacation which included an illustration of a homosexual couple. When a homosexual man commended her for this on Twitter (the tweet has since been deleted) she had this to say:

There are other issues with the Storybook Bible itself:

Though our own children used it, and I used to recommend it, I have retracted all previous recommendations of the NIV/NIrV Adventure Bible (and any other NIV or NIrV Bible). As you may be aware, in 2005, Zondervan revised the trustworthy 1984 translation of the NIV to include gender neutral/inclusive language. It was called the T(Today’s)NIV. In response to completely appropriate backlash from the Christian community, Zondervan again revised the NIV in 2011. Unfortunately, they did not revise out the gender neutral/inclusive language, but, rather, essentially merged the NIV with the TNIV, dropping the “T,” and simultaneously took the 1984 NIV and the TNIV out of print. The current editions of the NIV/NIrV Adventure Bible contain the 2011 gender neutral/inclusive text of the NIV.

For a better grasp of the problems with the gender neutral/inclusive verbiage of the 2011 NIV, please read: A fair analysis of the new NIV.

Here is an excerpt from the preface of the current edition of the NIV Adventure Bible. (Click on “look inside” at the upper left of the page for the entire preface.):

On a “wear and tear” note- we’ve purchased both soft cover (paperback) and hard cover Bibles for our elementary-aged kids, and both seem to get torn up pretty easily. (Or maybe my kids are just tough on Bibles!) With soft covers, the front and/or back cover can get ripped clean off, and with hard covers, the binding tends to detach. The only solution I can think of for this is to purchase a hard cover edition and some sort of case to keep it in (maybe one made of whatever those airplane “black boxes” are made out of). Perhaps training your child to keep his Bible in a certain place (on his dresser, the coffee table, etc.) whenever he’s not reading it might help. We neglected to do this and I often found Bibles on the floor, in the toy box, at the bottom of the closet, and other places conducive to Bible destruction. Anyway, keep the duct tape handy is all I’m saying.

The main thing, when you’re looking for a Bible for your kids is to find a good translation, avoid paraphrases, and be on the lookout for false doctrine, which has, unfortunately, trickled down into kids’ Bibles and devotionals (such as the kids’ versions of Jesus Calling). You might find my article Which Bible Do You Recommend? (for selecting an adult Bible) to be helpful.

If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.