Different Bible for Kids

Hi there,

My son (who is 10.5) needs a new bible! Most of the children’s bibles have blurbs in Genesis that mention 7-day creation or a literal Adam and Eve. Do you all have any recommendations to where I can find something that’s geared towards my son’s age but might be a little more EC friendly?


At his age, he probably has outgrown a children’s Bible anyway. He should be able to handle one of the easier-to-read Bibles like the New Living Translation. There are so many versions of that one you can probably find one that is more EC friendly. If not, buy one with just the text and answer his questions yourself. Personally, I’m not a big fan of the “teen” study Bibles, but I haven’t glanced through one since my own kids were teens a decade ago.

My son has the NLT Hands On Bible and likes it. You can see what Genesis 1 and 2 look like on the CBD page here if you click on the third and fourth images in the left side bar. We have the one with the more durable cover here.


My 10 year old uses a regular ESV and has since he was 5. There is no commentary in it.

Here is a blog relating buying a teen a bible, with the end result being the NIV Student Bible. Interesting read and I think you might find it helpful.

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We just got a parallel NIV and The Message for my 11 year old, as he’s saying “I don’t like these old things…old Bible, old hymns.” He likes The Message a lot better.

From the position of hindsight, though I felt the same at his age, I like the older stuff now!

This brings back memories. When I was 12, I found a “Good News for Modern Man” translation of the NT in my dad’s nightstand. I had a RSV translation that I never read. I snuck into my parent’s bedroom every afternoon and secretly read that book as if it were something that I shouldn’t be doing. By the time I reached the end, I looked at my little sister on Sunday and said, “Let’s go get baptized.” And so we did, to the surprise of everyone in our little Methodist congregation, including my parents.


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.


Sadly (as a reflection on today’s culture- not your family per se) probably the safest place to hide away material you wouldn’t want anybody to read would be in the middle of the Bible. It’s pretty safe from most eyes there.

With Jesus scaring all his disciples away during his “eat me” talk, there is no way to get rid of the “cannibalism”. Just give your son a copy of the Corinthians Love chapter and call it a day! :heart: :grin:

Perhaps the Tyndale translation would be best for those sections…


Yeah, maybe, but “Don’t worry, he won’t read it anyway” doesn’t make me feel better about it. I do remember going through my dad’s (KJV) Bible quite intensely, though I think I started a couple years later.

I’m less concerned about stuff like John 6, since he’ll get that Jesus isn’t actually killing himself and offering pieces of his flesh. That passage would just be confusing and go over his head; the trouble is the ones that don’t. “So we cooked my son and ate him” is pretty easy for even a seven-year-old to grasp. The NLT (and most other translations) just make verses like that too understandable!

Sadly, he never got to 2 Kings. Here’s Bishop’s: “And so we dressed my son, and dyd eate him.” That’s slightly better! He was eaten, clothes and all, by a ravenous wild dyd.

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Wow–we’ve had that discussion recently with my 11 year old, too. He was really quite confused by the story of Noah getting drunk and then cursing Ham’s descendants. We discussed that there are some really difficult passages. Frankly, I had to tell him I had no good idea of why Ham cursed Kenaan (Canaan) though Pete Enns believes it was a Hebrew apologetic for fighting the Canaanites (that does make the most sense to me. It does not make sense to believe that God would endorse cursing descendants, or that He would give power to the patriarchs to do that–though to be honest, it’s not clear that the Bible says He did–just gives the account.)

add: I didn’t tell him the Enns explanation.

Perhaps it’s a bit more understandable given the ancient perspective that all future children reside in their father. So Canaan was as guilty of Ham’s sin as everyone is guilty of Adam’s sin. That still doesn’t explain why Canaan, among the children, gets singled out, but perhaps earlier audiences would see Noah’s grace towards Cush, Egypt and Put (who were all equally guilty in Ham) than an unjust curse on innocent Canaan. But with names like Cush, Egypt and Canaan, it’s pretty hard to read these stories and not get the blurring between individuals and nations.

But good luck explaining different mindsets and the collectivist viewpoint to a pre-teen. Maybe soon, though! Even if they can’t get it all, hopefully we can at least steer them clear of dangerous simplistic readings, such as what many adult readers in past generations took to be the plain sense of the curse on Ham/Canaan.

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I have looked, but found no children bible that does not too much simplify the Bible into illogical stories that intelligent children question. I found it better to raise my daughter with only one Biblical truism: Love thy neighbor as yourself and God above all. When she became of age (14) she found her own way.

x[quote=“Marshall, post:11, topic:40718”]
Yeah, maybe, but “Don’t worry, he won’t read it anyway” doesn’t make me feel better about it.

Nor was I suggesting it should … much less my flippant comment being commentary about your son in particular! I was making a more generalized comment about society that we are sadly, biblically illiterate. I’m sure that will not be the case of any from your particular household!

I suggest it may be unwise to try to protect growing children from even those sorts of stories. (yeah … maybe 7 is too early, but then again, how likely is a 7-year old to actually make it to those far recesses of the Bible before a few more years have passed?) In any case (and at whatever age you deem them able), I should want them exposed to the “most objectionable” the Bible has to offer precisely so the provoked discussion could happen in my household where I can be a part of it! Because if you don’t let him see the book in its entirety that our faith has held so dear, then before long others [with motives quite different from yours!] will be more than happy to share those specific parts with him, and you don’t want him staring back at you with eyes that accuse: ‘how come I’m only just now hearing of this …?!’

Let them wrestle with you. Let them wrestle with God. It’s a time-honored (no; God-honored) tradition!


Very good point.

When I was five I received my new Revised Standard Version (I’m pretty sure it was “new” and not “New” but I don’t have it anymore so I couldn’t check). I finished reading it in eight months. Okay, well, the second sentence isn’t true at all.

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Hmmmm. Grimm’s fairy tales were for children.

To save everyone the trouble:

In “Cinderella” the evil stepsisters cut off their toes and heels trying to make the slipper fit and later have their eyes pecked out by doves; in “The Six Swans” an evil mother-in-law is burned at the stake; in “The Goose Maid” a false bride is stripped naked, thrown into a barrel filled with nails and dragged through the streets; and in “Snow White” the wicked queen dies after being forced to dance in red-hot iron shoes.

Snow White is just 7 years old when the huntsman takes her into the forest with orders to bring back her liver and lungs. In “The Juniper Tree” a woman decapitates her stepson as he bends down to get an apple. She then chops up his body, cooks him in a stew and serves it to her husband, who enjoys the meal so much he asks for seconds.

In the 1812 version of “Hansel and Gretel,” a wife persuades her husband to abandon their children in the woods because they don’t have enough food to feed them. Snow White also has an evil mother, who at first wishes for and then become infuriated by her daughter’s beauty. The Grimms turned both of these characters into stepmothers in subsequent editions

I could go into a classic middle-aged white man rant about kids being too soft these days, but that’s too much of a cliche for my refined tastes. :wink:

Those were awful! But not as awkward as Ezekiel 23 to explain to the kids.

This is why Andy Stanley wants us to dump the OT.