Reading the Children’s Bible-A good place even for adults to start
When learning something new, do you start on an advanced level, or do you go to basics? Basics, right? Then doesn’t it make sense that if you’re new to the Bible you’d start with the beginners version, the children’s Bible?
Laying the foundation & beyond
Don’t let the name shame you. It’s just an indication of the level of learning you’re about to get into. When I first became a Christian, I had a hard time reading and understanding the Bible. So I went back to basics. I was a volunteer in the children ministry at church and I began reading the bible to the kids. I found it really helped me understand the basics that are essential to the lessons I was going to learn as I moved forward. It simply laid a good foundation for me to grow from. If you don’t know, the New Testament references the Old Testament, so understanding the beginning stories really helped me to connect those references and get a rounded idea of what the Word was trying to convey.
Why it makes sense
When I decided to take on blogging, I had to start with reading and understanding the basics first. When I want to do a craft or a recipe, I have to read through the instructions to get an understanding before I can step out and do it myself. So wouldn’t it make sense to take the same approach when learning the most important lessons of my faith?
Then when I became a mother, I realized that if I had to teach my kids starting with the children’s bible, then as a person still young in my knowledge, shouldn’t I? It kinda just clicked and made so much sense, that I no longer felt silly. The Bible, at times can feel overwhelming and the words difficult to understand. I wanted to learn, and having preconceived ideas of where I should be was no longer going to keep me from learning in a way that worked best for me.
I don’t understand what I’m reading?
Another huge reason it makes sense to start with a children’s bible is the words themselves. I often wondered what the heck I was reading. Thou, Shall, Ye & Yea? I had no idea what these words meant. So honestly, I would either stop reading before I could actually learn something, or I’d fall asleep while reading (leisurely reading isn’t really my kind of thing…sorry, it’s just not) . It was so overwhelming that before I got a chance to dig in, I already felt defeated. So I started laying the foundation with my kids bible.
Steps to move you forward
When you’re ready to move to the next level, you’ll want to decide which translation suits your learning best. If you don’t know, there are many translations of the Bible. When I say translation, what I’m referring to is the difference between Shakespeare type English and the English that we speak today. I never realized there were so many, but when you’re just starting out, it could mean the difference of truly understanding God’s Word or walking away in frustration.
Bible Translations & Resources
The way I study now is by starting with the King James Version (KJV), then I go to one of the other versions below to help me better connect with the teaching. Next, I go back to the KJV to match up the two translations. This helps me to better translate the words of the KJV to a closer version of the English we speak today, then as I continue to move forward I’m better able to connect the two translations in my head (it’s almost like learning a new language).
***It’s important to understand that although we’re using the word versions, what it actually means is the translation of the Word, not the meaning of the Word. Each translation simply intends to bring you to a clearer understanding of what the Bible is saying, it’s not some persons interpretation (or how they perceive it) to be written.
- New Living Translation (NLT): The NLT conveys the meaning of the Hebrew and Greek text, Translating entire thoughts (rather than just words) into natural, everyday English. The end result is a translation that is easy to read and understand and that accurately communicates the meaning of the original text. (According to BibleGateway.com)
- New International Version (NIV): The NIV is a completely original translation of the Bible developed by more than one hundred scholars working from the best available Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts. (According to BibleGateway.com)
- English Standard Version (ESV): The ESV is an “essentially literal” translation that seeks as far as possible to capture the precise wording of the original text and the personal style of each Bible writer. IResources
- King James Version (KJV): The KJV is an English translation of the Christian Bible for the Church of England begun in 1604 and completed in 1611
Here’s some sites that can help you to accurately translate and understand the meaning of specific verses & words better:
- Blue Letter Bible (.org) I use this site to quickly look up a word I’m not familiar with. I also use it to find out where the word appears again in the bible and what the original meaning of the word it.
- Bible Gateway (.com) This is another great word reference site. I also really like that you can look up different versions on the same text for comparrison.
- The Bible App This is the app I have on my phone. You can take it everywhere, there are tons of great (free) resources & studies for the entire family. This app allows you to search a topic and even offers some suggestions on small bibles studies based on specific areas you want to focus on. Another great feature is that you can look up multiples versions of texts and see them side by side. This is really a must for anyone studying the Bible. Oh, and you get special studies to walk you through Christmas & Easter (and pretty much whatever else you can think of).
Choosing the right Bible
These are some of the Bible that we’ve used in our home and even in our church. They’re what I’ve found to be most helpful when I was just beginning to learn. Check out the details & reviews of each to find which will suit your learning level and style the most. **Quick side note: the Action Bible actually had my son asking if he could take a break to go read the Bible….”Um, yes son, you never need permission to do that“…true story (read the reviews)! And my daughters Princes Bible is great when I need reminding of how precious I am to God.
I truly hope sharing this is enough of a reason for you to feel like going back to a children Bible is not a silly idea at all, in fact it’s pretty common sense if you ask me. Also, I pray that you’ll find a translation that you can connect with and will bring joy to learning the Word of God. Do whatever it takes to bring you closer to understanding and immersing yourself in the knowledge of our God, even if it means you read a children’s Bible, like I did. No shame in my game!