Choosing a Bible for Your Kid

“I am not sure what Bible to get my kids.”

You want to get your kid a bible. But with so many options it can feel really overwhelming. Who has time to look through them all! And it’s the BIBLE! We want them to LOVE their bible!


If that's you, you're not alone. Every parent I've talked to in Kid's Ministry has asked me a similar question, "What bible should I get my kid?" You can even count me as one of those parents!


So, now that I’ve gone through the gauntlet of searching and testing and researching, let me tell you what I found so that you can make the best choice for your kid and save a ton of time.

How to Choose a Bible For Your Kiddos

Written by Amanda DeWitt, Ministry Team

March 2022

First, you need to know WHY a bible is so important for your kids to have. It never hurts to be reminded why!


The Bible is God’s Word. It is inerrant and sufficient for everything we need. If we believe that is true AND we love our kids, why wouldn’t we want to give them the very best thing out there!? Duh!

Following Jesus is personal. Our faith in God is personal. We can’t give our children our faith and they cannot rely on ours. A Bible (their very own!) is an amazing symbol of the personal and loving God we worship and His personal love for your kiddo!


Sometimes, we forget to keep the “main things the main things.” God is awesome and mighty and sovereign and wise and so many wonderful and amazing things that He reveals to us specifically through His Word. The Bible can have the most powerful impact on a person’s life. That is exactly why we want to expose our children and encourage a love for exploring the Bible as early as possible.


So now let’s talk about the considerations you need to consider when choosing a Bible:


• Is it an actual Bible?

• Can my kid read it?

• Will it interest my kids?


I’m going to give you more detail about each consideration and then at the end I’ll give you my picks with some links to purchase them (no, I don’t get commission on them) but you should do your research to see if there are any other places that have better prices or sales!


Click to jump to the consideration you care about or to the final list. Or you can just keep scrolling with me.


"Is it an actual Bible?"

"Can my kid read it?"

"Will it interest my kid?

Amanda's Top Picks

"Is this Kid's Bible an actual Bible?"

Let’s talk about “storybook bibles.”


You’ve seen them.


They can be wonderful. (I’ll even recommend a few to you!) But they aren’t B-I-B-L-Es. They are paraphrases or retellings of portions of God’s Word. I repeat, they are not THE Bible. They can be great tools and resources, but nothing can replace the real-deal, chapter-verse, B-I-B-L-E. 


There are even adult “storybook bibles,” like The Message. They can be useful, but I would never recommend it as your “Bible.”


And to be honest, I was really disappointed with the number of “Best Bible for Your Kid” lists out there that were only made up of these storybook bibles.


Think of storybook bibles as just that - storybooks! 


You can read them at bedtime or your child can flip through the pages on their own. You can get one that covers Genesis to Revelation or you could have one that focuses on one event or one person. I’d even recommend having a number of different storybooks for you and your child! 


But again, they contain words that are not God’s words. We want that, and that’s in a real Bible only.


That will get us into the next consideration: “Can my kid read it?” Or, as you’ll see, the important things to know about alllll the different Bible Translations.


But first, let me give you a few of my picks for a “Storybook Bible.”

The Beginner's Bible


For ages 4-8

The Action Bible


For ages 8-12

"Can my kid read it?"


Before we talk about reading level, there are two types of Bible “translations.”

• Word for Word: Also known as “formal equivalence.” Tries to stay as close to the original words as possible. Tends to be more accurate.

• Thought for Thought: Also known as “dynamic equivalence.” Tries to stay as close to the original thought as possible. Tends to be more readable.


No translation is completely Word for Word or Thought for Thought. They all fall on a spectrum. 


Here’s an info chart I made to help you see where the translations I recommend are on that spectrum:

Q: Aren’t you missing a few Bible translations?

Not just a few but a lot! I kept it simple for you. But you might also notice that there are some missing “translations” because they aren’t ACTUALLY translations.


What’s NOT a translation:


An “Interlinear” Bible

This is literally word-for-word. You have the original Greek or Hebrew on one line and the English translation on the next. It ends up making for very jumbled reading and isn’t useful for most kids (or adults!).


A “Message”-style Bible

These are best to stay away from in my opinion, especially for kids and teens. As an adult you might find it useful knowing that it is a paraphrase or retelling of the text, but we have to remember that a paraphrase is what the author thinks the Bible says, not necessarily what the Bible says. These “translations” are not done with as much scholarly heft as the others and do not rely on the original archaeological manuscripts for their foundation. At the end of the day, these books are just storybook bibles for adults.

Some examples include:

The Message

The Living Bible

The Passion Bible


Q: Where’s the King James Version (KJV) or the New King James Version (NKJV)?

The KJV is a beautiful translation. But all the “shalls” and “behold” are archaic sounding to modern readers - especially kids. It also segues nicely to our next point: reading level.


Reading Level

The KJV is written at a grade 12 reading level. For context, the latest statistics showed that the average reading grade level for American adults was 7th and 8th grade. Obviously, this would make the KJV not a great choice if you want the reading to be accessible enough for your kids to experience personally.


The translations I recommend in general have the following reading levels:

New American Standard Bible (NASB): 11th Grade

English Standard Version (ESV): 10th Grade

New English Translation (NET): 10th Grade

Christian Standard Bible (CSB or HCSB): 7th-8th Grade

New International Version (NIV): 7th-8th Grade*

New Living Translation (NLT): 6th Grade


*The NIV has another version called The New International Readers Version or NIrV. This is written at a 3rd Grade reading level, however the text is a simplification of the NIV rather than a translation from the original source material. By that fact, I would not consider it a true “bible translation” but rather a paraphrase. However, it might be very useful to help bridge the gap with very young and struggling readers. I have featured some in my picks at the end.


In general, word-for-word translations tend to be a higher reading level than it’s thought-for-thought comparative. However, while the reading levels of the translations I have recommended are all higher than a first grader, for example, I wouldn’t shy away from them all together. First, it provides kids with exposure to a greater vocabulary that challenges them and increases their likelihood for long-term learning. Second, many kid versions contain features and special, full-page illustrations that help illuminate some of the harder text for younger readers. And that brings me to my next consideration: “Will it interest them?”

"Will it interest them?"

If we’re being honest, very few of us would actually expect our kiddo to pick up their new bible for the first time, open to page one, and read on page-by-page. We wouldn’t even do that as adults! More likely, they will flip through it and stop at all the pictures. And that’s where features come in.


From maps to character drawings, from at-home-experiments to devotionals on prayer, the features in the different bible versions can increase and extend your kiddo’s engagement with their bible. And isn’t that what we want?


Think about what interests your child the most.

Are they outdoorsy? They might like The Adventure Bible.

Are they a girly girl? They might like a Princess Bible

Are they into science? Art? Music? History? Sports?


What about their personality? Are they a free-spirit who might love lots of color and doodle space? Are they serious and orderly and might appreciate infographics and charts?


The features will not only engage your kiddo, but they will help them think through what they are reading and apply God’s Word to their own life.


The most encouraging thing as someone who teaches awesome kiddos on Sundays is to see their excitement to have a bible of their own and to bring it with them to church! I get so tickled by the excitement of some kids showing me their Bible. Other kids make me laugh when they tell their mom, “you forgot to remind me to bring my bible!”


Two last thoughts.


First, when getting your child a bible, you can’t fail. And if they aren’t interested in the first one you got for them, don’t get discouraged. Try another one! You might even be able to swap with other parents at your church!


Second, if you want your child to do anything, you have to model it yourself first. That means you should be reading your bible too. And I mean a REAL one! And if your current one doesn’t engage you, get a new one! There are tons of bibles with amazing features that will help engage you too.


Finally, God’s Word transforms us. It gives us a glimpse into God’s Throne Room and Jesus’ last days. People have literally given their lives to read God’s precious Word. How great that we get to share that with our kids!

Amanda's Top Picks

No fluff, and no order other than by ages. If you click on any of my picks you can check them out for yourself!


(Many versions come in different cover color or patterns. If you like the inside but not the cover, keep looking!)

Ages 4-6

Ages 6-8

Ages 8-12

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