Right now, my favorite Bible has pictures. It’s colorful, full of smiling faces and somehow every story has a happy ending. It’s wonderful. I read my son a story or two out of it every night so he can understand God’s story and help him figure out his place in it. Recently though, I’ve been tearing up at the stories and find that I may be getting more enjoyment out of it than he is.
That is, unless we read the David and Goliath story. He knows the non-G version loves it: “DAD! Tell me the story where David hits Goliath in the head with a rock, and then runs over and CUTS OFF HIS HEAD. SO AWESOME!!!”. Yeah, I did it.
There are a lot of different versions of the Bible. If you haven’t heard of the YouVersion app, or read the scriptures at ww.Bible.com you may not have known that late last year they released their 1000th version, in their 700th language. Incredible.
With all those options though, my favorite right now is still the kid’s picture version and I want to encourage you to think about reading it alongside your normal Bible. It may seem ridiculous but here are 3 reasons to pick up the kid’s version and read it at least twice a week:
1) It’s good to be a kid again. There’s something disturbing about growing up. You start to pay taxes, have to be responsible, and generally leave behind some of the fun stuff you wish you could keep. The good new is, Jesus asks us to keep our childlike wonder and that in fact, we must become like little children in order to accept Him and flourish.
For the short amount of time while I’m reading the kid’s Bible, I give myself permission to shed the maturity, responsibility, and anxiety of being an adult. It’s amazingly refreshing. There’s something intensely spritual in this time because I’m somehow completely vulnerable. I’m just a little kid reading God’s big stories.
2) We need simple language when life is complicated. The world has mastered the art of pummeling us when we’re not looking. Heck, even when we’re staring it in the face it somehow manages a few jabs before we know what hit us. I know when I’m taking a beating, I need to reduce things down to the simplest, easiest components in order to make it out of the ring.
I love the kid’s Bible exactly for this reason – the language is simple, easy to understand and meaningful. It’s perfect for a complicated life. On several occasions all I needed was to see a drawing of a smiling Jesus telling me He loved me. You don’t have to be theologically deep or read a version with big words to know how profound that is.
3) Seeing stories matters. We don’t always do a great job of picturing the people in the Bible as real individuals doing real things. Sometimes it’s hard for us to picture more than a few characters at a time so we lose the feel of people getting together to live out God’s story.
The kid’s version helps immensely with because on every page there are more than a few people reacting to what God is doing. They’re feeling joy, sorrow, excitement and disbelief together. And when we see these emotions and stories alongside scripture, it’s hard not to be captivated by it. An artist may bring the drawing, the color, and the style to the page – but only God’s words give them life.
What is your favorite version of the Bible and why?