BP Toolbox

Equipping children in your church with the right Bible for the right age


If my life could be marked by copies of Scripture, it would look something like this:

  • Baby’s New Testament in a blue box
  • Bible storybook as big as a small car, complete with an illustration of Absalom hanging by his hair from a tree
  • Black leather-bound Bible with both Old and New Testaments, cool maps in the back, and my ten-year-old name engraved in gold lettering on the front
  • Burgundy bonded leather Bible too big for a backpack
  • Burgundy leather Bible, thin with print too small for my current eyes—a precious gift from my wife
  • My current black leather Bible with underlines and handwritten notes in the margins

I didn’t include all the other Bibles I’ve collected through the years, including the chronological Bible and read-the-Bible-in-a-year housed on my e-reader or the online Bibles on my phone. I also didn’t include the Hebrew and Greek texts collecting dust on my bookshelf.

Yet, something is missing from my extensive lifespan in Bibles. There are no Bibles specially designed for kids. In my childhood timeline of Bible ownership, I jumped from a Bible storybook to a leather-bound volume with no study helps for a preteen boy eager to learn from God’s Word.

Fortunately, the Bible landscape has changed since my childhood. I’m grateful for the options in kids’ Bibles available when my sons were children and now available to my grandchildren. However, buyer beware. The number of books with “Bible” in the title can be confusing and overwhelming. When choosing a Bible for children in your church or recommending a Bible for parents to purchase, consider the child’s age and development.


Bible storybooks are great to use at home, especially as part of those timeless bedtime routines. Make sure the stories are biblically accurate and include realistic artwork. No need for young children to unlearn half-truths when they are older. I recommend The Big Book of Bible Stories for Toddlers and It’s All About Jesus Bible Storybook. Both volumes point impressionable minds and hearts to Jesus with biblical truth and beautiful illustrations.


Taking their own Bible to church is a milestone for many preschoolers. When their child starts taking a Bible to church, encourage parents to choose a full-text Bible for at least three reasons. First, a child may become confused if the story being taught at church is not in her storybook. Second young children are beginning to develop basic Bible skills only learned with a complete text. Lastly, pre- and early readers will delight in recognizing names and other words in the Bible. The CSB Read to Me Bible is my favorite full-text Bible for preschoolers and kindergartners. The translation is accessible to this age group. The Bible story pictures are beautiful and realistic. And the extra helps in the Bible promote biblical literacy.

Keep in mind that 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds sometimes bend and tear the pages of their Bible accidentally. Because their hands are small and their fine motor skills are developing, preschoolers may unintentionally drop their Bible, resulting in the cover detaching from the pages. In some instances, young children will draw on those same pages because they have seen their parents highlight passages and write margin notes. As long as these actions are not malicious, we may gently guide children to handle the Bible with reverence. However, a child’s Bible that looks used is more valuable than one kept high on a shelf, never experiencing the sweet touch of chubby, little fingers.


When kids start hanging out with their school-age peers, they will want a Bible that reflects the transition from preschool to elementary school. For starters, the cover of that Bible shouldn’t embarrass them, thereby hindering them from taking their Bible to school in their backpack.

Since children are naturally curious, a Bible with interesting facts and colorful illustrations of archeological objects and sites appeals to kids. The award-winning CSB Explorer Bible for Kids is perfect for this age group. QR codes are embedded in the Bible so kids can watch fun videos that connect their current context to the context of Scripture. Additional Bible study resources will encourage personal discipleship.

Isn’t that what we want children to experience—personal discipleship? God’s Word promotes spiritual growth, even in the lives of preschoolers and young children who have yet to trust in Jesus. As God’s revelation of Himself to us, the Bible points kids to Jesus, regardless of their age and developmental stage.

Paul declares this truth when he reminds Timothy to “…continue in what you have learned and firmly believed. You know those who taught you, and you know that from infancy you have known the sacred Scriptures, which are able to give you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:14-15, CSB).

Like Timothy’s mother Eunice and grandmother Lois, my parents wanted to ensure I was exposed to God’s Word early in life. From that little New Testament in the blue box to the black leather King James Bible with my name inscribed on the cover, Mother and Dad immersed me in the Scriptures. Let’s do the same for the children in our churches.

This article originally appeared at LifewayResearch.com. For more insights on church and culture and practical ministry helps from Lifeway Research, sign up for their Daily Insights newsletter.

    About the Author

  • Landry Holmes