Category: Bibles & Bible Stories (page 1 of 13)

Bible Study Resources for Kids

When we were homeschooling, I learned a trick for teaching my daughters math. If they were struggling to solve a problem, I would wait until I was tempted to answer for them . . . and then I would slowly count to three. My daughters usually solved the problems during that window, when I was fighting the urge to say, “Thirteen! It’s thirteen!”

As it turns out, this is great advice for raising teens (and almost-teens), too. When my daughters are tackling something new, I hold back as long as I can and fight that mom urge to just do it for them. It’s not easy. Sometimes I have to do deep breathing. But those extra three seconds are often just enough time for my daughters to do the thing themselves and emerge victorious, with that sense of confidence because they figured it out on their own.

So it is with Bible study. We still read the Bible together as a family, but I’ve also been trying to nurture in our older girls a desire to study Scripture on their own. These habits aren’t easy to build, but this is another place where I find I need to hand them good tools, set up their workspace for success, and then step back and pray silently over them as they do the actual work on their own.

And so, here are a few resources our family has found helpful in different stages as this particular plane makes its way down the runway. (Has it fully lifted off yet for anybody? No. But it’s pulling away from the airport!) I’ve ordered this list to start with resources for the youngest readers before moving on to resources for teens.

A Full-Text Kids’ Bible

Of course, a full-text Bible for kids is a great place to start. There are lots of options out there, and the best ones feature a few tools that help kids connect with the text and understand what they’re reading. Some of our favorites over the years have been the ESV Seek-And-Find Bible, the ESV Big Picture Bible, and—most recently—the CSB One Big Story Bible.

Kaleidoscope Kids’ Bibles

Kaleidoscope Kids Bibles | Little Book, Big Story

These Bibles hit that sweet spot between story Bible and the Bible itself. Each volume features a paraphrased version of a book of the Bible, perfect for readers who are comfortable with chapter books but not quite ready to navigate Leviticus alone.

Exploring the Bible, by David Murray

Exploring the Bible: A Bible Reading Plan for Kids, by David Murray (review) | Little Book, Big Story

This is a fabulous Bible study for kids that gives them a survey of the whole Bible, one short reading at a time. Our family did this together one year and found that it helped our daughters fit the individual stories of Scripture into the larger narrative of the whole Bible. Murray’s Meeting with Jesus is excellent too. (Read the full review.)

Best News Ever, by Chris Morphew

Best News Ever, by Chris Morphew | Little Book, Big Story

This Bible study takes middle school readers through the book of Mark with short readings and deep questions. (Read the full review.)

Draw Near, by Sophie Killingsley

Draw Near, by Sophie Killingley | Little Book, Big Story

Draw Near is a sort of pre-made bullet journal, with cleverly illustrated habit trackers and study guides that help readers young and old make Scripture reading and prayer a daily part of their lives. (Read the full review.)

Head Heart Hands, by Linda Allcock

Head, Heart, Hands Bible Study | Little Book, Big Story

This trio of Bible studies takes teen girls through the gospel of Matthew, inviting them to answer thoughtful questions and take what they learn about Jesus to heart.

Teen Study Bibles

We haven’t dug into many of these yet, but I have long been a fan of the ESV Journaling Bible, which allows readers to process their reading with a pen in hand (this is how I do my best thinking). Our eldest daughter uses the NIV Bible for Teen Girls, which contains devotional readings on a wide range of topics (including sex, so give this one a pre-read). The ESV Student Study Bible is excellent too, and I’ve heard great things about the CSB Seven Arrows Bible.

Which resources have your kids found helpful?

The Boy From the House of Bread

Certain books make Jesus feel more real, more visible. They persuade our hearts of what our minds already know: Jesus was a real man, who lived in a particular time and place, and who encountered many more people than we hear about in the Gospels. These books remind us that he is bigger than we may think, but also smaller, humbler, and more approachable. The Boy From the House of Bread is one of these books.

But that’s only one of the many reasons to love The Boy From the House of Bread. This book rhymes, not in a sticky-sweet cute way, but in a musical, complex way that makes it a joy to read aloud. In it, Andrew Wilson draws out the theme of bread and deftly uses it to introduce young readers to Jesus. And best of all, this book approaches the story of the Gospels with wonder, showing Jesus as someone you could imagine saying “Let the children come to me” and meaning it.

The Boy From the House of Bread, by Andrew Wilson | Little Book, Big Story

This book brings readers up close to Jesus: we see him from the height of the narrator, a young boy who is watching the story unfold and doesn’t yet know all the ins and outs we see in the Gospels. At certain points, the boy and his father do cross into the story we know, playing roles that connect them to Jesus in new, deep ways. This is beautiful: by telling the story from a child’s perspective, Wilson invites kids into the story of Jesus, showing his warmth and his kindness in an appealing way and reminding us all that we, too, will one day see him face to face—grown-ups and children alike.

The Boy From the House of Bread
Andrew Wilson; Arief Putra (2022)

Disclosure: I did receive a copy of this book for review, but I was not obligated to review it or compensated for my review in any way. I share this book with you because I love it, not because I was paid to do so.

The Biggest Story Bible Storybook

When our girls were little and some of them still didn’t exist, having a baby every two or three years felt just our speed. We weren’t a four-under-four-sized family; we were a pace-yourselves-and-aim-for-one-in-diapers-at-a-time family. Clothes moved pretty easily from one daughter’s dresser to the next, just trickling from room to room, as one daughter outgrew them and passed them on to the next one.

Before you read this next part, let me make this clear: we do not regret this. We loved having a very capable eight-year-old around when our fourth baby was born, and we have loved watching the girls’ friendships blossom at all different ages. There is something truly beautiful about watching these four very different girls love each other through all their various seasons of growth.

The Biggest Story Bible Storybook, by Kevin DeYoung | Little Book, Big Story

But I must say: this year has been a weird one, as we’ve had an eighth grader and kindergartener, plus two in between. One child prepares a speech on Charles Dickens for the school speech meet; another prepares for show-and-tell. One gets her braces off (!!); another is still missing front teeth. We’re living in four very different worlds here, and there are days when that feels a bit disorienting. Wonderfully disorienting, but still.

And so I am always profoundly grateful for the books that meet our whole squad right where we’re at—the ones that, like The Biggest Story Bible Storybook, are deep, thoughtful, and funny enough for the eighth-grader, but also bright, joyful, and clear enough for the kindergartener.

The Biggest Story Bible Storybook, by Kevin DeYoung | Little Book, Big Story

We’ve loved the various iterations of The Biggest Story, from the original version to the ABC board book, but this is by far my favorite. Author Kevin DeYoung and illustrator Don Clark expanded the original book into a full story Bible, filling in stories and adding more fabulous illustrations. But they hold fast to that thread of The Biggest Story and keep sight of Jesus and the work God does through him as they tell the story, and they keep sight of their audience. This is one read-aloud we’ve all enjoyed immensely.

So this summer, as my daughters do everything from hunt snails in the backyard to ride bikes across town to play D&D with their friends, we’ll gather in the long, slow evenings to read this book—a sweet point of connection for all of us, whatever our age.

The Biggest Story Bible Storybook
Kevin DeYoung; Don Clark (2022)

The Awesome Super Fantastic Forever Party

One night at sleepover, a friend asked, “What do you think heaven will be like?”

A second friend chimed in wistfully, her voice sleepy and half-muffled by her pillow: “I think it will be like the happiest moment of your life, but it’ll last, like, forever.”

But, I wondered, what would be the happiest moment? And who gets to decide which moment I’d relive? What if that got boring—could I change moments later if I wanted to? (Yeah. I was that kid.)

The vision she volunteered, out of the sweetness of her heart, didn’t satisfy me: it was like being told I’d get to eat ice cream, which I adore, forever—which actually sounds pretty awful.

The Awesome Super Fantastic Forever Party, by Joni Eareckson Tada | Little Book, Big Story

So, really. What will heaven be like? Joni Eareckson Tada’s description of it (drawn from Scripture, of course) is far more compelling: in The Awesome Super Fantastic Party, she shows how the snippet we see in Scripture of the new heavens and the new earth sounds varied, exciting, and wonderful. Unlike a loop of one feeling, this party will be tangible, a real place full of delights we can’t yet imagine—endlessly surprising and perfectly satisfying.

The Awesome Super Fantastic Forever Party, by Joni Eareckson Tada | Little Book, Big Story

Because at the heart of it is a host who knows us perfectly, who draws us forward toward him. The future with him is full of wonders, and Tada and Catalina Echeverri capture this pull in a way that will draw young readers (and parents, too) into the story of Christ’s restoration. They remind us that this party won’t be abstractly warm and fuzzy but concrete, solid, and real. And everyone is invited!

The Awesome Super Fantastic Forever Party: A True Story about Heaven, Jesus, and the Best Invitation of All
Joni Eareckson Tada; Catalina Echeverri (2022)

Disclosure: I did receive a copy of this book for review, but I was not obligated to review this book or compensated for my review in any way. I share this book with you because I love it, not because I was paid to do so.

The Big Wide Welcome | Trillia Newbell

If you’ve ever spent time on a playground, you know “Can I play, too?” is a loaded question. Some days, it’s met with warmth and welcome—and other days with, “Nope! There’s no room in our game.” My daughter came home from school a few weeks ago, feeling the sting of a game that’s “only for three people” when she wanted to make a fourth. What could I tell her? That her friends will outgrow it and all this will get better on its own? Or could she take comfort in the fact that she’s never ever done this to a friend (or a sister)?

No, of course not. She knows I know she can’t. Just as I can’t pretend I’m not guilty of picking and choosing who I greet at church, or even which clerk’s line I join at checkout. Favoritism doesn’t disappear when we graduate second grade; adults aren’t immune to practicing it. We continue to be drawn to people who are like us and who we think will make friendship or social interactions smooth and easy.

And so I’m grateful that, in this newest volume of Tales That Tell the Truth, Trillia Newbell takes a look at favoritism. What is it? What does Scripture have to say about it? Through the story James tells in James 2, she studies what it looked like then, in the church James was writing to, and today—in our own churches, on the playground, and in the classroom. And she shows us, best of all, that Jesus is a king who welcomes us in—a king who doesn’t play favorites. To the question, “Can I come in?” he responds with a glorious yes.

This post is part of my “Hooray! We’re launching a book!” blog series, celebrating the upcoming release of Wild Things & Castles in the Skya book I both contributed to and, alongside Leslie & Carey Bustard, helped edit. Today’s post features an author whose books are warmly recommended in Wild Things.

The Big Wide Welcome: A True Story About Jesus, James, and a Church That Learned to Love All Sorts of People
Trillia Newbell; Catalina Echeverri (2021)

Disclosure: I did receive a copy of this book for review, but I was not obligated to review it or compensated for my review in any way. I share this book with you because I love it, not because I was paid to do so.