Within the first two years of my daughter’s life, my husband and I read through nearly 10 different Children’s Story Bibles. Ultimately we came to the same conclusion about all of them. None of them can or should completely replace actually reading God’s Word to your children. Yes, I’ll go ahead and give you an analysis of the ones we read. But remember this: we ultimately decided that many times the Story Bibles simply get it wrong. But the actual Bible never gets it wrong.
That being said, I will highlight some benefits to reading Children’s Story Bibles to your kids. First of all, they have pictures. Most kids appreciate this and it holds their attention more than a lot of words on a page. Second, The children’s versions often explain the Bible in a way that’s easy to understand. So if you don’t understand the Bible that well yourself, sometimes this can be helpful. To be honest though, this is often where the kids’ versions get it wrong. This is also why theologians should write Story Bibles. Yet it’s also why you as a parent should get a study Bible or a Bible commentary yourself.* Or just realize that you don’t need all the answers or to completely understand the Bible before reading it to your kids. The Bible has power in and of itself (Hebrews 4:12)! Another good thing about reading Story Bibles to your kids is that it’s usually quick and easy. I’ll never forget after we finished reading through our first Story Bible, my husband said, “We just read through the whole Bible to our daughter!” Ha! That was, minus whatever parts that particular one left out. However I also have to note that reading the actual Bible to your kids doesn’t have to take long either. Try a chapter a day, or just a paragraph, or even just a few verses. The final reason for reading either a Story Bible or the actual Bible to your kids is that it helps them get into the habit of spending time with God. It’s a way to disciple your children and show them that seeking God is important.
As parents, we’re the main ones our children will imitate. By showing them that reading the Bible and seeking God through His Word is important, we’re giving them something good to imitate. I cannot highly recommend nor discourage any storybook Bible. None are inerrant, like the Word of God. Yet all do accomplish the goal of Story Bibles: to get children interested in reading the Bible on their own.
Below are the academy awards for the Story Bibles we’ve read.
Best organized: 365 Bible Stories and Prayers
It tries to go in chronological order and cover nearly everything in the Bible. The stories are all 1-2 pages and easy for any family to read on a regular basis.
Best for Baby: Baby’s First Bible
Board book with short explanations
Best 2nd Bible: Lift The Flap Bible
The stories are fairly accurate. Young toddlers love lifting the flaps so that makes reading the Bible fun for them.
Most Accurate Illustrations: Jesus Storybook Bible
Not only does this have pretty accurate ethnicity’s represented (ie: not everyone is white American looking), it also uses some good modern day examples when explaining things to kids.
Shortest Stories: Candle Bible for Toddlers
This Bible gives short explanations without a lot of added commentary. They mostly try to stick with just what the Bible says.
*I suggest John MacArthur’s study Bible and the Moody Bible Commentary.