We choose the things most important to us.
Do you think purchasing a nice Bible could show what you value? I’ve always thought that choosing a nice Bible for children can help them value it. I grew up with parents who loved the Bible, and that had a profound influence on me. But I also remember the delight I felt when choosing a “grown up” Bible for my own.
I’ve been praying and aching for my children to grow to love God’s word. I want it to be a major part of their lives, for the Bible to shape their world view and govern their decisions. So far I’ve taken an approach that alternates between directive (making them read specific things for their quiet time) and non-directive (encouraging them to read, and asking them about what they’re reading, but not requiring it). I want to see what they do when they aren’t forced to read, but I also know that they lack the self discipline to do what they want to do. Sometimes I am excited to see them reading on their own, but often I’m filled with anxiety that they aren’t reading enough.
One of the irritations that I have with children’s Bibles (and the Bibles we purchase for children) is how poorly they are made, and how they really aren’t made with a child in mind. If it’s small enough for them to hold, the print will be too small for them to read. Red letters are hard to see. The binding is weak and can’t really stand up to normal child use, let alone the inevitable misuse that sometimes happens. (Yes, I have seen the Waterproof Bibles. They are great, and they’ve added covers that don’t seem too childish for older kids and adults. ) It seems silly to have a Bible that is of little use to my children other than a prop to carry to church and read from when requested.
I have two children who are far sighted, and who have a difficult time reading small print, and most Bibles either have tiny print, or are giant granny Bibles. They own print Bibles, but up to this point prefer kindles where they can enlarge the font size. They have the Bible on kindle, but even the active content ones are still relatively difficult to navigate easily on their kindles. I like the durability of the waterproof Bibles, but I’m a realist. The font size is a barrier to my far-sighted readers. As well, right now the trend for Bibles is to move to a more “reader friendly” single column, but my children find single columns harder to read.
So I started looking at large print Bibles, and I naturally ended up looking at the high end Bible market. I’m a book lover, after all.
Does it make sense to be willing to spend money on all manner of electronics or toys, but not a good Bible that they will treasure?
Awhile back I found the Schuyler Quentel Bible. It’s got 11 point text, pretty large for a normal Bible. It comes in two columns, and it doesn’t have the hard-to-read red lettering for Jesus’ words. And they still have references at the bottom. I love cross references, because it gets me comparing Scripture with Scripture. I want my children to be active readers also, and I think we underestimate the value of cross references for this purpose. I knew the three ribbons and soft leather cover would be enjoyed.
I brought it up to my son (age 13), and asked if he was interested in it. Because I wanted to make sure that he would value it, I told him that if he was willing to put in $50.00, I would pay the rest. David makes his money mowing lawns, so I wanted him to have a part in paying for the Bible. After I brought it up, I told him to let me know if and when he wanted to make a purchase. He agreed. I backed off: I didn’t want him feeling pressure to buy something that he was indifferent to. I wanted him to know what was available, but I wanted him to take the initiative.
Several weeks went by. I knew he was frustrated with the tiny print of the Bible he has been using. Then he brought up the Bible again, and gave me fifty dollars.
Not every parent will purchase an expensive Bible for her child. Seems a little silly and extravagant, doesn’t it?
I bought the Bible, and immediately started second guessing the purchase. Am I crazy for steering him in this direction? Surely there’s a cheaper Bible that will be a joy for them to hold and read. What if the investment doesn’t give a return that I want? We got the Bible in the mail today, and I restrained myself from opening it immediately. I gave the box to my son and let him open it when he was ready (encouraging initiative in my children takes self-control, I’m learning). He likes it.
Time will tell whether he will love it and live it, but I don’t regret purchasing it. It was a risk: having a nice Bible doesn’t create a love for God’s Word. Only the Holy Spirit can do that. However, the nice Bible does communicate something intangible that I like, and I’m praying that God will use it in his life.
Have you found a Bible that your children love?
P.S. Maybe I should read again the story of Mary Jones and her Bible with my children. This book about her is free on kindle right now! I have a paperback version, and it’s well done. (Here is a picture book version that I also like.)