Just this past week I got a full Bible for my seven-year-old, so this thread was timely! I was going to go with the NLT Hands-On Bible, but the store only had softcover versions with translucent paper, so the interior look of it wasn’t that appealing or easy to read. Plus, these kid study Bibles have so much extra stuff in them that I wonder if the Bible text itself doesn’t get a bit lost. Even more, I haven’t read all those notes the way I’ve read the Bible, so I don’t really know what I’m handing my son. The Jesus-Centered Bible looked interesting, but again, I wasn’t sure about handing over something I hadn’t read and saying “this is the Bible.”
I ended up going with a nice hardcover NLT with a bunch of double-sided full-colour insets with paintings scattered through it. But, I’m also realizing that any Bible that contains the full text is problematic to just hand to a child. We read one of my favourite overlooked stories last night before bed, the one where Elisha blinds an attacking army, leads them to the capital city, then unblinds them and serves them a banquet and sends them home (2 Kings 6). We really enjoyed it, and my son carefully put the bookmark in when we finished. The trouble is that the very next story includes a mother cooking her son and eating him with another woman. Not exactly something I want him to encounter on his own, especially since he tends to be more sensitive about violence and what he watches than we are (he still won’t watch The Lion King without us skipping a few parts).
At his age, I’d never give my son any other book that had matter-of-fact descriptions of cannibalism in it. Is it okay just because this is in a book that says Holy Bible on the front? It feels a bit like handing him a stack of magazines, only some of which are pornographic. I think I’ve come around to the view that there’s a real place for Bibles that do remove large chunks of content in order to make something age-appropriate. Something more than a story Bible, but something less than the complete text. Something I’m happy for him to explore on his own.