Best Children’s Bible…after buying all of them

I wanted to know without a doubt what the best Children’s Bible was.

So I went online and found all the popular Children’s Bibles and purchased them…all of them.

Okay…there are actually hundreds of kids Bibles on the market…but I went to BiblesByTheCase.com and found the most popular Kid’s Bibles and bought them!

Why?

Because it’s one thing to look at at Bible online. You can go on Amazon and “look inside” the Bible, you can get a sense of what’s in it and how a child might enjoy it, but until you actually hold it in your hands and “use it” you don’t really know what it’s like.

I know enough about you to realize you don’t have time, and are not interested in spending weeks buying Bibles and evaluating each one meticulously. That’s why I’ve compiled this list of all the Best Children’s Bibles. Scroll through the list below and come to your own conclusions about what is best for your child or the kids in your ministry.

At the end of this post I offer some conclusions on Bibles you might choose. However, my goal here is not to endorse any particular children’s Bible. My goal with the following information is to help you find the Bible that is best suited for the children you have in mind.

 

4 things to look for in a Children’s Bible

When I look at a children’s BibleIi have my audience in mind which is elementary age kids typically 2nd – 4th graders.

As I’m flipping through a Bible I’m thinking about what they would like and what they would find interesting.

Here’s a few ideas for what to be on the lookout for when you are evaluating the best Children’s Bible for the kids you are entrusted with.

1. Is it readable?

Obviously if you have mostly Spanish speaking kids it goes without saying you’d want to find a Spanish Bible…hahaha

Duh.

But is the FONT style and the font size readable? Looking through the Bibles below you’ll actually see quite a variance in size. You have everything from the NIV Holy Bible for Kids which has 2 columns of print on a page and would be hard for most kids to read.

Then you have the NIV Discoverer’s Bible which has some of the largest text I’ve seen in a children’s Bible.

Kids have to be able to easily read the words on the page.

I know all of this might sound fairly elementary (hahaha…get it?) but the difference in font size between Bibles is something you definitely need to consider.

2. Is it a Bible?

Again, you are probably thinking, what’s the point Nathan?

Well, I’ll tell you the point.

Not everything labeled, “Kids Bible” is a Bible that is for kids.

A case in point would be the beautiful Complete Illustrated Children’s Bible. It contains short stories that describe what happened in the Bible, but entire sections of Scripture are summarized onto a single page or two.

So while it is stunning to look at, and a great devotional type resource, it’s not actually a Children’s Bible. (For my money, I would have called it a devotional or something else…)

3. What kind of helpful features does the Bible have?

Kids that want to read God’s Word for themselves are going to need help.

There are difficult words and ancient traditions and practices that aren’t easily understood without a little (or perhaps a lot, of explanation).

So if you are in the market for a Bible, and want features included on the pages of the Bible that help kids understand what they are reading, not every Kid’s Bible is going to fit the bill.

For instance, The Hands-on Bible is fantastic because it’s the only one of the group that has activities (thus the “Hands-on” in the name) included with the text of Scripture.

These activities help kids think about and apply the truths they are reading in the Bible.

But…there isn’t as much helpful explanation features in the Hands-On Bible as there would be in say, a Bible like the Airship Genesis Kids Study Bible where there are tons of sidebars and articles that ‘teach’ kids the Bible as they are reading it.

How much of the “study” aspect are you looking for in your Bible for kids? If you want your elementary kids to really dig into the Bible for themselves, you might want to look at a Bible designed to help them learn for themselves as they read.

4. Does it fit their personality?

Every one of these Bibles has a cover and interior style designed to attract a certain type of kid.

I imagine the active, kinesthetic learners are going to love something like the Hands-On Bible with its whimsical look and “carefree” design theme.

Other kids are going to love a Bible like the Following Jesus Bible” because it is very neat and orderly in it’s approach. I don’t think there’s a squiggly line in the whole thing! 🙂

Now I realize kids aren’t going to care about how curly the lines are, but each of these Bibles has a style all it’s own. Take time to figure out what kind of kids you are buying for.

God created a wonderful mixture of many different personalities and preferences when it comes to kids (and adults for that matter) so choose a Bible appropriate to the personality and interest of the kids you are buying for.

 

Popular Children’s Bibles Currently on the market:

These Bibles are presented in no particular order.

When i purchase these from Amazon I put them in a drawer for organization purposes and when it come time for me to work on the next Bible, I literally just pulled the next one off the stock.

So there’s no rhyme or reason to this order…so don’t take any indication of preference by the order the Bibles are listed in below.

 

Airship Genesis Kids Study Bible

Version: NKJV

Publisher: Tommy Nelson

Available Cover Styles: TechTile (like a tough leather / space suit type material), Hardback

Size: Typical Bible size, similar to an average book, obviously thicker because it’s got a lot of pages

Layout: Full color throughout, stronger pages then your typical Bible page, lots of articles / sidebars

Approach (taken from Bible’s introductory pages): This Bible has a exploration / space theme. Just a few pages into the Bible you are introduced to the “Genesis Exploration Squad”. These are a group of 5 kids (plus a monkey) that guide you as you “travel through the Word of God”.

“The Genesis Exploration Squad” is comprised of five incredible young adventurers who travel through time aboard the futuristic Airship Genesis. Led by a special Bible that opens Pathways into the past, the members of the squad step into history and explore the stories of the Bible. Along the way, these globe-trotting adventurers discover legendary artifacts that help them learn and remember the lessons of God’s Word.

Special Features:

Mission Overviews – book introductions

100 Rupert Reports – informational notes (people, places, things)

75 Power Force – Bible truths / Christian essentials

66 LOGOS Discovery – Articles

51 Bible Heroes – character studies

100 Bible Blasts – selected verses to memorize

13 Full-Color Maps – what is sounds like 🙂

Concordance

Correlating Website: AirshipGenesis.com

A look at the Table of Contents can help identify all the special features placed throughout the Bible.

 

NKJV Study Bible for Kids

Version: NKJV

Publisher: Tommy Nelson

Available Cover Styles: Paperback, Hardcover, Kindle

Size: Typical Bible size, similar to an average book, obviously thicker because it’s got a lot of pages

Layout: Full color throughout, lots of sidebars and articles

Approach (taken from Bible’s introductory pages): The NKJV Study Bible for Kids is the premier study Bible for kids in the trustworthy New King James Version. This Bible has been created and designed especially for you! Now studying the Bible can be easy and fun. There are many themed articles placed within the Bible text to help make it easier for you to read, understand, and learn about God’s Word. By studying this Bible you can experience the big picture of the incredible Bible story, God’s love for you, and how to use it in your daily life.

Special Features:

 

Book Introductions

Timelines

On Location: Maps

Spotlight: How Bible stories connect to our lives

Starring Roles: Personality Profiles

In Focus: Definition / Explanation of a word

Action!: Articles on day-to-day topics that show how people in the Bible experienced the same things we do today

Epic Ideas: Articles on important Bible themes

Dictionary / Concordance

Articles Index

 

A look at the Table of Contents can help identify all the special features placed throughout the Bible.

 

The Complete Illustrated Children’s Bible

Version: The Biblical text is not included, Story summaries written by Janice Emmerson

Publisher: Harvest Kids

Available Cover Styles: Paperback, Hardcover

Size: More square in shape, same height as other Bibles but wider than most of of them

Layout: Full color throughout with tons of illustrations

Approach (taken from Bible’s introductory pages): This wonderful Bible is written in straightforward and engaging language and is filled with beautiful and imaginative illustrations. Very young children will love looking at the colorful pictures while the book is read aloud, and older children will enjoy reading the stories for themselves. With nearly 300 full-page color illustrations helping to tell the stories from the Old and New Testaments, this Bible is sure to win every child’s heart.

Special Features:

None

 

Hands-On Bible

the paperback version came with a “sleeve” pictured here

Version: NLT

Publisher: Tyndale / Group

Available Cover Styles: Hardcover, Paperback

Size: Typical Bible size, similar to an average book, obviously thicker because it’s got a lot of pages

Layout: Dark blue and black text throughout with a couple 4-page full color sections intermixed

Approach (taken from Bible’s introductory pages): The Hands-On Bible is loaded with activities that parents and kids can do together. Experiencing the Bible in engaging ways makes Scripture relevant and memorable. It features the clear New Living Translation to help children understand God’s Word. Plus MyHandsonBible.com gives parents free bonus activities, devotions, music, and more.

Special Features:

Hands-On Bible Experiences – “do” the Bible with experiments, crafts, snacks, journals, etc…

52 Key Verse Activities – one for each week of the year

Bible Book Introductions

Bible Bonanza Experiences – full color introductions to the biggest and best Bible stories

Fun Facts – see the Bible as true and amazing

Bible Hero Biographies

“Where to Turn When I’m….” Index

Dictionary / Concordance

Maps

Charts

Correlating Website: MyHandsonBible.com

 

The Action Bible

Version: The Biblical text is not included, David C Cook created the text

Publisher: David C Cook

Available Cover Styles: Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook, Audio CD

Size: Largest Bible of the group, larger (and heavier) than an hardcover average book

Layout: Full color comic style readings

Approach (taken from Bible’s introductory pages): People don’t usually think of God like this, but God is the original action hero. Everyone is so impressed when Superman bows a car over with his breath, yet God created the whole universe with His breath. Superman may save the day with his strength, but Jesus saved the whole world with His death.

And then there are the humans God chose to fulfill His divine plan—they were pretty awesome (though imperfect) action heroes themselves. Read about Samson wading into an army of Philisitines, killing them all with nothing more than a donkey’s jawbone. Discover how Esther risked the wrath of a tempermental king to save God’s people. Every few years there’s another action movie about Robin Hood or King Arthur–but Hollywood always forgets about King David, a shepherd boy who lived as an outlaw before he became king. He was a part of history long before both of those legends.

But here’s the thing: The Action Bible is more than just the exciting stories of the past. Here and now, today, it inspires us to be God’s next generation of difference-makers. The heroes of the Bible were flawed and chosen; you and I are flawed and chosen. The action you read about in these 750 pages is nothing compared to the action will occur one you put this book down.

How will you answer God’s call to action?

Special Features:

None

Correlating Website: The Action Bible

 

Discoverer’s Bible

Version: NIV

Publisher: Zondervan

Available Cover Styles: PaperbackHardcover, Kindle, Audiobook, Audio CD

Size: Typical Bible size, similar to an average book, obviously thicker because it’s got a lot of pages

Layout: Black and white Biblical text with a couple sets of full color pictures intermixed

Approach (taken from Bible’s introductory pages): The NIV Discoverer’s Bible offers the full text of the New International Version of the Bible in an easy-to-read, large-print type. It’s the perfect chance for you to embark on your own Bible exploration. Included are 30 full-color pages of illustrations, Bible scenes, and important themes, including the 10 Commandments for Kids, the Lord’s Prayer, the Love Passage for Kids, and the ABC’s of Becoming a Christian.

Special Features:

30 full-color pages – experience key Bible stories and themes

Book Introductions

Dictionary / Concordance

Maps

 

NIV Adventure Bible

Version: NIV

Publisher: Zonderkidz

Available Cover Styles: Paperback, Hardcover

Size: Typical Bible size, similar to an average book, obviously thicker because it’s got a lot of pages

Layout: Full color throughout, lots of articles / features / sidebars

Approach (taken from Bible’s introductory pages): Ready for Adventure? Embark on a fun, exciting journey through God’s Word with the Adventure Bible — now in full color throughout! Along the way you’ll meet all types of people, see all sorts of places, and learn all kinds of things about the Bible. Most importantly you’ll grow closer in your relationship with God. Recommended by more Christian schools and churches than any other Bible for kids!

Special Features:

Life in Bible Times – articles and illustrations about what life was like

Words to Treasure – verses to memorize

Did You Know? – interesting facts

People in Bible Times – Articles offer close-up looks at amazing people of the Bible

Live it! – hands-on activities

Correlating Website: AdventureBible.com

 

Following Jesus Bible

Version: ESV

Publisher: Crossway

Available Cover Styles: Paperback, Hardcover

Size: Typical Bible size, similar to an average book, obviously thicker because it’s got a lot of pages

Layout: Full color throughout, lots of articles / features / sidebars

Approach (taken from Bible’s introductory pages): The ESV Following Jesus Bible is full of outstanding content designed to help children understand and enjoy the Bible. Designed for children ages 8–12 as they transition from a beginner’s Bible, nearly every other page features a box answering the who, what, where, when, or why of a particular text. “Seeing Jesus” sections explain how certain Bible passages point to Christ and “Following Jesus” sections connect the Bible with the hearts and lives of young readers.

Special Features:

W Questions – Who, What, When, Where, and Why of God’s Word

Following Jesus – Understand what certain passages mean for me

Seeing Jesus – verses that remind us of Jesus’ death and/or resurrection, and how the verse connects to God

Articles and ChartsHand

Section and Book Introductions – Bible is divided into 6 sections, Intro pages give the big picture on the contents of the book

Dictionary

Timelines and Maps

 

Big Dreams Big Prayers Bible for Kids

Version: NIV

Publisher: Zonderkidz

Available Cover Styles: Hardcover, Kindle

Size: Typical Bible size, similar to an average book, obviously thicker because it’s got a lot of pages

Layout: Dark blue and black text throughout with a couple 4-page full color sections intermixed

Approach (taken from Bible’s introductory pages): The Big Dreams, Big Prayers Bible for Kids includes the complete NIV of the Bible along with devotions, prayers, and highlighted verses to help kids pray and listen for God’s answers to their prayers.

Special Features:

Devotions – about people who prayed and listened to God

“Hand” Prayer Model – to help kids remember to pray for others and themselves

Highlighted Verses – for memorization

Book Introductions

Prayer Journaling Pages

Reading Plans

Topical Index

 

 

NIV Children’s Holy Bible

Version: NIV

Publisher: Zonderkidz

Available Cover Styles: Paperback

Size: Typical Bible size, similar to an average book, obviously thicker because it’s got a lot of pages

Layout: Black and white text, no special features

Approach (taken from Bible’s introductory pages): The NIV Children’s Holy Bible is perfect for introducing children to the Word of God. With beautiful full-color illustrations and the complete text of the New International Version, this Bible will help children discover the Scriptures as the unfolding story of God’s love for his people. Perfect for ministry and outreach use.

Special Features:

 

 

The Best Children’s Bible

I was first of all surprised that a few of the Bibles I purchased were not really Bibles at all. While they contained Bible stories, the stories were summaries and the actual words of Scripture weren’t included.

So in specifically looking for the best children’s BIBLE….I had to exclude The Action Bible and the Complete Illustrated Children’s Bible because they aren’t actual Bibles.

Next, I felt a few of the Bibles fell short of being really great study resources.

The NIV Children’s Holy Bible doesn’t have the word “Study” in it’s title for good reason. It is just the text of Scripture printed in relatively small type on black and white pages.

The Big Dreams, Big Prayers Bible for Kids fell short for me as as well too. While I appreciate the concept of a Bible that leads kids toward prayer, the Bible didn’t feel built from the ground up to be all about prayer. Most of the features are limited to a few colored insert pages and some blank lines in the back for a prayer journal. In my opinion, some of the other Bibles had much stronger study content and that information was more deeply woven into the pages of Scripture.

The Discoverer’s Bible seems to be aimed at a little younger of an audience. I was specifically looking for a Bible that elementary kids might like so this particular Bible didn’t really fit that bill. From page one it felt very ‘young’ to me.

The Best Children’s Bible

So for me, the Bibles left really come down to personal taste and preference.

Specifically, what theme are your children interested in.

Each of the remaining Bibles have lots of great features and I don’t think there’s much value in trying to distinguish slight variations between them. All the remaining Bibles have a nice selection of helps for kids as they read.

So…if your kids like a Space/Time Travel feel then they would probably love the Airship Genesis Bible. The 5 explorers who make up the Airship Genesis Exploration Squad guide kids through the Bible and help them discover more about what it says and what it means.

I also really loved the extra audio episodes on the Airship Genesis website. They remind me of the Adventures in Odyssey episodes i used to listen to as a kid. Obviously the setting is very different as the kids aren’t ever at Whit’s End 🙂 … but the stories and the concept is great.

One other feature of this Bible I really liked was that it was full color throughout. I noticed on some of the other Bibles that there were special inserts that had full color, but the Bible pages themselves and the extra features on them were in black and white, or black and blue, etc..

A Bible not being full color thought isn’t the end of the world, but I do think it takes away a bit of the “wow factor” when a kid is looking through  a Bible. A kid’s world these days is always in full color so it makes sense to me that their Bible shouldn’t be any different. I want a kid’s Bible to be just as exciting looking as anything they see on a phone or on TV. A full-color presentation helps make that possible.

Alright…enough on color, let’s move on!

The NIV Study Bible for Kids is themed around a movie / Hollywood production theme. You’ll notice the features are titled to reflect this: “Spotlight”, “Starring Roles”, “Action!”, etc….

I didn’t go through and count the number of features in each of the Bibles, but just thumbing through it there does seem to be a lot of different features. My impression is that there are more special features in this Bible than some of the others.

One downside for me is the lack of supporting visuals. The color in the Bible is great, but there aren’t characters or other illustrations to ‘break up’ the text. The only ‘cartoons’ or ‘illustrations’ in the Bible are the icons for each of the features. When you compare this to some of the other ones there’s a lack of interesting characters or animals or whatever to keep the pages from becoming all text.

This is perhaps a minor detail…but something I definitely noticed.

The Hands On Bible was a bit of a surprise to me. I thought the cover design was cool when I first bought it, but I didn’t expect the interiors to be as interesting as they are.

I guess I’m a bit of a pessimist that way.

When you get inside The Hands On Bible you’ll find a lot of object lessons, basically. As the title suggests there are lots of opportunities for the kids to learn in a hands-on way about the ideas and lessons from Scripture.

Some of the activities are things like making a friendship bracelet (in the book of Ruth) while others are more ‘science experiment-y” like turning something bad into something good using dryer lint (in the book of Daniel).

I love this kind of stuff. Kids are active…give them fun active stuff to do to reinforce the ideas in Scripture.

One knock on this Bible for me, would be the lack of color. With the exception of a few inserts, the pages are black text with dark blue headings. My printing this way (it’s called 2-color) the printer saves a lot of money in production, but when you compare the interiors of this Bible to some of the others, the lack of color stands out.

Are full color pages a game-breaker for me?

Nope.

The NIV Adventure Bible has got to be the most popular kids Bible that churches are using these days. I see this thing all the time.

So it works for a LOT of people.

I know from experience that it being in the NIV gives it a great head start. I’ve seen many a Sunday School leader use a less kid-friendly Bible if it means using a preferred translation.

Based on my comments above about the other Bibles I do have to say I like the full color interior pages. Although I wouldn’t call the pages ‘brilliant’ in color (many of the pages almost look printed in just 2 colors) they do splash colored features throughout the text.

If you like the Adventure / Outdoors theme I could see how this Bible would be super attractive for you. It’s got a lot of fun animals running through it, and at the end of the day…what kid doesn’t love adventure!

If I had a critique of the Bible I would say it’s light on additional information in its extra features. A lot of the features in the Bible tended to be on the shorter side as compared to some of the other Bibles I looked at.

The Following Jesus Bible gives a nice clean presentation of the text. I’d say just on the basis of ‘readability’ this Bible is the best of the group. I don’t think it has the strongest feature set…but I do love the layout of the text itself.

The Following Jesus Bible strikes me as a ‘conservative’ approach to a kid’s Bible. If you aren’t really into the ‘fun’ style of kids Bibles this one stands in contrast to those rather nicely. I wasn’t blown away by any of the features, but it certainly hold’s it own among the lot.

So…you’ve probably scrolled past all these thousands of words just to see what my pick is.

My Top 3

The top 3 choices for me are:

The Airship Genesis Kids Study Bible

The Hands-On Bible

The NKJV Study Bible for Kids

Those choices are in no particular order for several reasons including the fact that I think they each meet a very different set of needs.

If you are currently in the market for kids Bibles I’d encourage you to study this post carefully. There’s a lot of great information here and I believe this resource will help you make the best choice for your particular situation.

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3 thoughts on “Best Children’s Bible…after buying all of them”

  1. This is a wonderful review Nathan, much appreciation for the time you put into it. I’ll share it with our church librarian and also share it on my blog/facebook page. I’m familiar with the Action Bible and know a handful of boys who read it every day, including my grandsons.

  2. Thank you.. it was a lot of help I for one like the Airship Genesis. . I work in a Christian Gift Shop and There is so much translation, And many different features.. that it is always good to know what you areally actually getting to show your children to grow in the Word.. great insight thank you

  3. Fabulous research, and definitely information I will consider moving forward. You mentioned several I had never hear of before, such as the Airship Genesis. Thank you for all of your hard work, and sharing it with us. … Blessings.

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