Against everything we were ever taught, we do make judgements on first impressions and we do judge a book by its cover.
Even the very youngest children do the same. A gift will be judged on its appearance and a Bible will be treated just the same as any other book. If it’s bright, colourful and easy to use then they’ll love to have it, own it, handle it and use it.
Although babies and very young children may not be able to actually read a Bible - even a special edition baby's Bible, they will make a judgement as to the pleasure it gives them and to what it’s worth.
To open, read, keep and treasure
Choosing a first Bible for babies and the very young means finding a gift that’s a delight to give and receive now and as well as an investment in their future.
This means choosing:
- A Bible they’ll treasure now.
- A Bible they’ll learn to read and use.
- A Bible that’ll lead them on to more grown-up Bibles
- A Bible they’ll still treasure when it’s long outgrown it.
For children and grown-ups to share
The first reader of a Bible for babies and the very young will be a parent or other adult. First Bibles also need to be attractive to adults who’ll want to read it to the children.
- First Bibles rely on the power of story. Choose a Bible with simple text in short sentences. These can be read aloud easily and at first sight.
- First Bibles are unlikely to be the complete text. They’ll be a selection of the most loved and easiest to grasp stories from the Old and New Testaments.
- Pictures should marry up with the text. If children can see the pictures that the words describe they’ll better remember the story and be more eager to turn the page to see what happens next.
Age appropriate words and pictures
Babies and young children are more likely to open and use a first Bible if it’s colourful with bright clear pictures. The text needs to large enough and simple for enough for children to want to know what it says even before they can read it.
- First Bibles to be easy for little hands to open and with strong covers and pages strong enough to take a child’s use – and not a little abuse!
- The text needs to be large and clear, and the words short and simple. Sentence construction should be simple too. Reading a first Bible will certainly improve a child’s reading ability, but this is not its main purpose.
- There should be enough space for the words to readable even with a finger following the line of text. Young readers often follow the words with their fingers and parents often point out the words for their children.
Childhood treasure to keep for ever
Babies and young children will first encounter the Bible through being read to by parent and adults. As they grow up they’ll be able to read the Bible for themselves.
- First Bibles should be at least as attractive as other books on the child’s bookshelf. With bright covers, illustrations and large clear text it ought to be the book of choice for an early reader.
- Short, uncomplicated words and sentences will make the stories simple and engaging to follow. Themes and meanings will be easier to remember and understand.
- If the first Bible experience is good, children will move on to reading a full text Bible. A modern paraphrase translation designed for younger readers might be a good introduction to the world of grown-up Bibles.
Growing into a more grown-up Bible
As they grow up, children will put aside the books and activities of their childhood and adopt those of the older child, teenager, youth and young adult.
- First Bibles will be outgrown as their usefulness and relevance diminishes. If that first Bible has served its purpose, complete Bibles - perhaps in modern editions and youth oriented covers, will soon take their place.
- Modern paraphrase Bibles such as The New Living (NLT), The Message and the Good News (GNB) are published in editions and covers designed especially for children, teenagers and young adults.
- Eventually that first Bible, with all its wear and scars, will be consigned to the back of the shelf, the top of the wardrobe or the box under the bed. But in later years it may well serve as a timely reminder of those first steps in faith.
Baby’s and First Bibles – what’s available?
For the full choice of baby’s and first Bibles for the very young, go to Eden.co.uk and follow the links to birth and upwards Bibles.
- On Eden.co.uk’s Children’s Bibles pages you’ll find a wide choice of Bibles arranged by age range - from 0+ to over 10, and Children’s Bible value packs.
- Editions for the very youngest include first Bibles especially for baby boys and for baby girls. There’s Bibles for toddlers, Bible story books, picture books and books of first prayers.
- To mark that special occasion of a child’s first formal appearance in church, there are presentation Bibles for baptisms, dedications and christenings.
Quick Guide to Baby's Bibles and Bibles and the very young.
What are they?
- Designed and written to be attractive and useful to the very young.
- Simply written and colourfully illustrated for the very young to follow.
- Produced to be easy enough and strong enough for small hands to use.
What will they do for me?
- Make an age appropriate introduction to the stories and meaning of the Bible.
- Invest in the spiritual life and shared development of children and parents.
- Provide an expression of welcome for children and parents into the church family.
Over to You
At Eden.co.uk you can find a truly interactive Christian community helping you find all you need to live, learn and grow your faith.
- Still got your First Bible, or have a life changing memory of it?
Tell us. Post your ideas, views and tips - beautiful, brilliant and bizarre at Eden.co.uk
March 3rd, 2012 - Posted & Written by Les Ellison