Bible Choices

When choosing a Bible for a child, a person first needs to decide which translation to buy - a NASB, KJV, NRSV, NKJV, NAB, NIV, CEV, GNT, NLT, NIrV, or a NCV.  This page includes a brief discussion of the differences between translations, things to consider when choosing a Bible for a child, a Summary of Bible Translations and Suggestions, and a comparison of the wording of the various Bible translations for 2 Corinthians 1:12, 2 Corinthians 5:16, and Matthew 18:24.

About Bible Translations - Every English version of the Bible has been translated from the Hebrew Old Testament and the Greek New Testament.  Some translations, such as the NASB, are a literal word-for-word translation and retain as much of the original grammar and sentence structure as possible.  The reader can then decide what the biblical writers meant.  However, due to the differences in language and the passage of a couple of thousand years, a literal word-for-word translation can be difficult to read and understand, especially for children.

Other translations, such as the NIV or the CEV, are a mixture of literal word-for-word translations and thought-for-thought translations.  In other words, the translations are word-for-word into today's English if the final product can be easily read.  If the final word-for-word translation is difficult to read, the translators may use a thought-for-thought translation.  The translators will identify the message of the original text and reproduce that same message in the English language.  Thus, the translators of a thought-for-thought version are interpreting the original text and must take special care to properly interpret the original text and choose wording that properly conveys the original message and only the original message of the text.  As a result, it is best to choose a version that places a priority on a literal word-for-word translation and resorts to thought-for-thought translation only when necessary.  In other words, if there are two Bibles that are appropriate for the reading level of the child, pick the Bible that is the most literal translation.

Considerations.

Pick a Bible that the child will enjoy looking through and reading.  This eliminates the NASB, KJV, NRSV, and NKJV from consideration due to the difficult reading level of these translations.
Pick the most literal translation available for the child's reading level.  For older children, the NIV is the most literal non-denominational translation available.  Younger children can read the NIrV or the NCV.
When reading the Bible together as a family, it may be helpful for all family members to read from the same translation.  The NIV is a suitable study Bible for children as well as adults.

The following table summarizes information and our comments and suggestions about the different Bible translations available.  We recommend that children begin reading the NIV translation as soon as they can enjoyably read the NIV translation.  Click here for specific Bible recommendations.

Summary of Bible Translations and Suggestions

Category Bible Translation Reading Level* Comments and Suggestions
Difficult
Reading
Level
NASB - New American Standard Bible 11.0 The difficult reading level of these Bible translations prevents us from recommending these translations for children.  While some may consider the NKJV to be written at a Medium Reading Level, we think it is too difficult for children to read.  In addition, the KJV and the NKJV are based on the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts that were available in 1611.  Since that time, manuscripts have been discovered that allow scholars to reconstruct a Hebrew and Greek text that better represents the original text.  Thus, the KJV and NKJV are not based on what scholars today believe is the best representation of the original Hebrew and Greek texts.  While the differences in text have no effect from a doctrinal viewpoint, they may affect the meaning of specific texts.  See "How to Read the Bible for all its Worth" by Fee and Stuart for further information.
KJV - King James Version 12.0
NRSV - New Revised Standard Version 10.4
NKJV - New King James Version 9.0
Medium
Reading
Level
NAB - New American Bible 6.6 We recommend this category for 3rd graders and above.  The Bibles in this category are listed in order of the literalness of the translation, with the NAB being the most literal, the NIV being the next most literal, and so on, with the NLT being the least literal translation (based on information published by ZondervanBibles.com).  The NAB is the Catholic version of the Bible.  The NIV is our recommendation from this category.  The readibility of the NIV is as good as the other translations in this category .  The NIV is also the most literal non-denominational translation in this category.  Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart recommend the NIV for use as an adult study Bible ("How to Read the Bible for all its Worth").  Thus the NIV can be used from childhood to adulthood, making it a good choice for family Bible studies.
NIV - New International Version 7.8
CEV - Contemporary English Version 5.4
GNT - Good News Translation (Today's English Version) 7.29
NLT - New Living Translation 6.3
Easy
Reading
Level
NIrV - New International Readers Version 2.9 This category is good for the youngest readers.  We have no experience with either of these translations.  The NIrV is based on the NIV.  While these translations are good for beginning readers, both of the translations in this category are less literal than the NIV.  Therefore, we suggest that children begin reading the NIV as soon as they can enjoyably read the NIV.
NCV - New Century Version 3.9

*  The "Reading Level" is based on information from Berean.com (a Christian Bookstore) and ZondervanBibles.com (a publisher of Bibles).

Comparison of Bible Translations for 2 Corinthians 1:12

Difficult
Reading
Level

NASB

For our proud confidence is this: the testimony of our conscience, that in holiness and godly sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God, we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you.

KJV

For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.

NRSV

Indeed, this is our boast, the testimony of our conscience: we have behaved in the world with frankness and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God-- and all the more toward you.

NKJV

For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you.
Medium
Reading
Level

NAB

For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you, with the simplicity and sincerity of God, (and) not by human wisdom but by the grace of God.

NIV

Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, in the holiness and sincerity that are from God. We have done so not according to worldly wisdom but according to God's grace.

CEV

We can be proud of our clear conscience. We have always lived honestly and sincerely, especially when we were with you. And we were guided by God's wonderful kindness instead of by the wisdom of this world.

GNT

We are proud that our conscience assures us that our lives in this world, and especially our relations with you, have been ruled by God-given frankness and sincerity, by the power of God's grace and not by human wisdom.

NLT

We can say with confidence and a clear conscience that we have been honest and sincere in all our dealings. We have depended on God's grace, not on our own earthly wisdom. That is how we have acted toward everyone, and especially toward you.
Easy
Reading
Level

NIrV

Here is what we take pride in.  Our sense of what is right and wrong gives witness that we have acted in God's holy and honest ways.  That is how we live in the world.  We live that way most of all when we are dealing with you.  Our way of living is not wise in the eyes of the world.  But it is in keeping with God's grace.

NCV

This is what we are proud of, and I can say it with a clear conscience:  In everything we have done in the world, and especially with you, we have had an honest and sincere heart from God.  We did this by God's grace, and not by the kind of wisdom the world has.

 

Comparison of Bible Translations for 2 Corinthians 5:16
Difficult
Reading
Level

NASB

Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer.

KJV

Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.

NRSV

From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way.

NKJV

Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer.
Medium
Reading
Level

NAB

Consequently, from now on we regard no one according to the flesh; even if we once knew Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know him so no longer.

NIV

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.

CEV

We are careful not to judge people by what they seem to be, though we once judged Christ in that way.

GNT

No longer, then, do we judge anyone by human standards.  Even if at one time we judged Christ according to human standards, we no longer do so.

NLT

So we have stopped evaluating others by what the world thinks about them. Once I mistakenly thought of Christ that way, as though he were merely a human being. How differently I think about him now!
Easy
Reading
Level

NIrV

So from now on we don't look at anyone the way the world does.  At one time we looked at Christ in that way.  But we don't anymore.

NCV

From this time on we do not think of anyone as the world does.  In the past we thought of Christ as the world thinks, but we no longer think of him in that way.

 

Comparison of Bible Translations for Matthew 18:24

Difficult
Reading
Level

NASB

When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him.

KJV

And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.

NRSV

When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him;

NKJV

And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents.
Medium
Reading
Level

NAB

When he began the accounting, a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount.

NIV

As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him.

CEV

As he was doing this, one official was brought in who owed him fifty million silver coins.

GNT

He had just begun to do so when one of them was brought in who owed him millions of dollars.

NLT

In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars.
Easy
Reading
Level

NIrV

As the king began to do it, a man who owed him millions of dollars was brought to him.

NCV

When the king began to collect his money, a servant who owed him several million dollars was brought to him.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

  This information is presented to help teachers serving in a Christian Preschool Ministry or a Children's Ministry or a Sunday School class teach children what the Bible says about God and the way He wants us to live.

Home | What's New | About Us
Planning Ideas
The Book List | Choosing a Bible  | Teaching Techniques
Preschool Ministry  Schedule | Children's Ministry  Schedule | Crowd Control | Outreach

Teaching Ideas

Bible Truths | Bible Story Activities | Brain Teasers | Games | Clip Art & Coloring Pages | Timeline of the Bible
Life in Biblical Times | Places of the Bible | Beginning and Ending Activities | People of the Bible | Memory Verse | Challenge

 

Copyright 2000-2002 SundaySchoolResources.com  Copyright Information

SundaySchoolResources.com uses a shared web hosting solution from DellHost.