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New Bible helps parents nurture children’s spiritual growth

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Stephanie NeSmith’s concerns about her children’s interest in reading the Bible didn’t last for long.

When her 7-year-old daughter Lindsey and 4-year-old son Will got their hands on the new Holman Christian Standard “Illustrated Study Bible for Kids,” the children immediately began to quiz each other on scriptural trivia using a “Test Your Bible Knowledge” insert in the Bible.

That’s when NeSmith knew she had found an effective tool to teach her children more about the Bible and spiritual disciplines.

The recently released Holman CSB translation, published by Holman Bible Publishers, a division of LifeWay Christian Resources, is helpful for teaching children because it places emphasis on the intended meaning of the original texts by using carefully selected phrases.

“The Holman CSB Illustrated Study Bible for Kids guides parents as they lead their children to develop the spiritual disciplines of Bible study and prayer,” said Judy Latham, managing director of childhood ministry publishing at LifeWay. Among the colorful, four-page inserts in the Bible, she noted, is one to help children establish a quiet time.

The majority of parents understand their responsibility for their children’s spiritual development, according to research by The Barna Group, a marketing research company that reports on cultural trends and the Christian church. However, parents typically have no plan for spiritual development, little or no training in how to nurture a child’s faith and no specific goals. In addition, parents identified their children’s weaknesses as knowing how to study the Bible and memorizing Bible verses.

This research underscores the importance of families taking the lead in the spiritual development of their children.

Many parents and ministers are beginning their mission by turning to various resources to help them guide their children through Bible study.

NeSmith, who lives in Franklin, Tenn., uses the Holman CSB Bible for Kids to give guidelines for her daughter’s spiritual development.

“I have sat down with my daughter and gone through the checklist of Bible skills for second-graders,” NeSmith recounted. “She had told me she wanted to learn the books of the Bible. The inserts break them into sections, such as minor prophets and the books of poetry, with a small description of each book. This helped me explain them as much as it helped her learn them.”

NeSmith uses other inserts, such as maps and biblical family trees, to teach both of her children.

“My 4-year-old, Will, and I have looked through the ‘Apostles of Jesus’ page together,” NeSmith said. “This Bible is so visually friendly. The pictures make it come to life for the children.”

During their vacation, NeSmith felt so strongly about the effectiveness of the new children’s Bible that she decided to take one copy for use by their whole family. She read a chapter of Luke each night to her children.

“The translation is very easy for them to understand when I read it out loud,” NeSmith said. “I even like to use it for my own Bible study.”

Annette Whitton, director of children and preschool ministries at Hillcrest Baptist Church in Enterprise, Ala., uses the new children’s Bible in her ministry.

“We will be giving all of the first-graders in Sunday School a copy of this Bible,” Whitton said. “We want to make using the Bible easy for our children. This Bible will make a child want to have a quiet time. They can read it and grasp it.”

Whitton said she hopes the children’s Bible will encourage children in their own Bible study through helpful inserts such as “The Names of God” and “Kids in the Bible.”

“It shows you don’t have to be an adult to study the Bible,” Whitton said. “This is a Bible that can go with them from 5 years old to being a youth.”

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  • Jill Martin