What Can I Use to Teach the Bible to Younger Children?
Updated: Aug 21, 2020
We have covered the when and how of teaching our children the Bible (you can read those posts here and here). Now, let's look at the content or the "what". When I say "content," I mean the actual information you teach or share.
We will look at younger children in this post and older children in the next post. For our purposes, I am grouping younger children as nine years old and younger and older children as ten years old and older.
With younger children, I will encourage using a story Bible, along with other materials which I will describe below. Do not feel like you must limit yourself to a story Bible though--let them hear directly from the actual Bible too.
There are three story Bibles that we used primarily with our children. I am sure there are other good story Bibles out there, but I know these three are good because I have used them and trust them. What I like about these three is that they teach the overarching story of Scripture and show key historical pieces along the way. They do not focus on a "be good" kind of morality, but instead show us what Scripture says, the centrality of Jesus, and how the Old and New Testaments are connected.
The first I would recommend is The Big Picture Story Bible by David R. Helm and illustrated by Schoonmaker.
They do a great job of showing the fulfillment of the promises of God from the Old Testament through the New Testament and how the promised Savior, who God first mentions in Genesis 3:15, is repeatedly identified through the Old Testament and appears as Jesus in the New Testament. The book says it is recommended for children ages 2-7, but you will learn a lot through it too.
The second I would recommend is The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name by Sally Lloyd-Jones.
She looks at more specific passages in Scripture from the Old and New Testaments, giving more individual chapters to read. This provides a more of Israel's history through the Old Testament and more information from the gospels in the New Testament. Each chapter begins with the scriptural citations where the material is located, so you can read the chapter and then go back and read the Bible passage if you would like as well. You can also see where passages are found in multiple gospel accounts. She ends the book with a chapter on the beginning of Acts (Acts 1-5), a chapter on Paul (Acts 6-9, Acts 12-28; Colossians 2, Romans 8, Ephesians 2 - this is noted at the top of her chapter "A New Way to See" page 334), and a chapter on Revelation (Revelation 1, 5, 21, 22). The book says it is recommended for children ages 4-8, but you can read it a little younger or older children too, especially if you have more than one child.
The third I would recommend is The Gospel Story Bible: Discovering Jesus in the Old and New Testaments by Marty Machowski and illustrated by A.E. Macha.
This book contains 156 stories/chapters, and each story comes from a specific section of Scripture which is noted at the top of the chapter. Each story is two pages long, but they focus on narrow chunks of Scripture, so they provide more details and application. They do a great job of tying Old and New Testaments together and focus on God and how He has worked throughout history instead of just "being good". The book says it is recommended for children ages 3-12 and I would agree. Very young children can pick up information and learn at the same time a little older children can learn too. I also liked this one because if you read roughly a chapter a night with your children, you can read through the whole book twice in one year.
Again, these are three that we used, liked, and would recommend. Other good story Bibles are out there, just remember to find one that teaches all of Scripture.
I have one additional resource to recommend for younger kids but will cover it in the next blog post.
Our next blog post will look at what we can teach our older children.
P.S. You can find additional ways to equip and disciple your children in my book, Leading Well at Home: How Husbands and Fathers Can Biblically Lead Their Families. Buy it in our store at https://www.entrustingthefaith.com/store.
*The book links above are affiliate links. If you click on it, I may get a small payment from the retailer at no cost to you. I only recommend books I would read or have read to my children.