Category Archives: Bible

NIrV Love Letters from God Bible (Zondervan, 2016)

Reflecting on the Bible as a Family {Book Review – Love Letters from God Bible}

NIrV Love Letters from God Bible (Zondervan, 2016)

From the publisher:

NIrV Love Letters from God Bible by Zondervan (2016)

What if a child could read his or her own personal mail from God? The NIrV Love Letters from God Bible will invite kids to do just that! This full-text Bible in the New International Reader’s Version (NIrV) is a perfect way to introduce children to God’s Word and his great love. With 80 love letters from God written especially for the reader, children will see Bible stories and themes come to life and learn just how much they are loved by their Creator.

Each love letter also contains a very special Bible verse, entitled God’s Wonderful Words to You. Much more than a mere memory verse, each carefully chosen promise will be God’s very own personal words of love, encouragement, and hope, and are highlighted in the text. The love letters will culminate in an invitation for the children to write their own RSVP to God.

Features include:

-80 personal love letters from God
-Highlighted Wonderful Words—special verses to remember and cherish
-80 prompts encouraging children to write their own love letters to God
-8 full-color tip-in pages with additional content
-The complete text of the New International Version (NIrV)

My thoughts:

This NIrV Bible is a continuation of the style from the author’s Love Letters from God picture books. (I reviewed the first one in that series here.) My kids still enjoy reading through the original Love Letters from God, so we looked forward to reviewing this Bible together.

This Bible is a full Bible text in the NIrV translation. There’s a short “how to use this Bible” page before the table of contents, then an explanation of the translation, and then it goes straight into Genesis.

We love the NIrV translation, so reading this Bible remains enjoyable. About once a book (or twice for some books), readers find a short “love letter from God” written in the same style as the picture books, written from the perspective of God talking to the reader (referring to the reader as “you”). The letters often reiterate something read in the Bible text and ask questions for reflection as well as restate aspects of God’s love. Each letter concludes with a highlighted verse. Beside each letter, readers have about one vertical third of the page to “write back” to God and respond to the suggestions reflection questions. These reflections often ask “have you ever…” questions to relate the biblical material to the reader’s current life or ask “how do you feel” about a truth introduced.

As with any Bible with interpreted devotions, I suggest reading and analyzing these devotions/reflections together with your child/students as not all interpretations may fully fit your family/church’s theology.

Additional features:

  • three full-color inserts (front and back pages) with additional information or highlighting important aspects of faith and study, including the ten commandments, definitions, ‘how to pray,’ a ‘getting to know Jesus’ summary, and more. Each of these pages has a “Write Back” sidebar with questions for writing reflection. We particularly liked the “how to pray” page. It makes prayer accessible for all and less daunting for kids unsure of where to start.
  • a dictionary in the back
  • full color maps in the back
  • an attached ribbon bookmark

This isn’t a study bible since it does not contain other sidebars or introduction/summary information at the beginning of each book. But it’s also not meant to be a study bible. Its main purpose seems to be for reading and reflection on what the words of God mean about God and about our relationship with God. This bible serves its purpose well, so it’s a fine addition to any family library. If you are looking for one main bible for kids to use for both study and reflection, you may find other study bibles better able to suit your needs.

Read about two of our favorite NIrV Bibles for middle grade readers and advanced early chapter book readers here: NIrV Adventure Bible and NIrV Kids’ Devotional Bible.

Do you generally look for more reflection questions in your family bibles, or do you look for more study aspects?

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher as a part of the BookLook bloggers program. All opinions expressed are my own and this is my honest review.

I am an affiliate for Amazon Associates. If you click on an Amazon link and then make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This does not affect your final cost at all. Thank you for supporting this blog and my family!

This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

NIrV Kids' Devotional Bible (Zondervan, 2016)

A Year-Long Devotional Bible for Kids {Book Review – NIrV Kids’ Devotional Bible}

NIrV Kids' Devotional Bible (Zondervan, 2016)

About the book (from the publisher):

NIrV Kids’ Devotional Bible (Zondervan, 2016)

Complete with a year’s worth of devotions, the Kids’ Devotional Bible, NIrV will help children develop a habit they’ll want to keep. Engaging weekday devotions, fun weekend activities, interesting illustrations, and a dictionary make this a Bible they’ll want to read and apply to their lives. It includes the complete New International Reader’s Version (NIrV)—the stepping stone to the NIV—making it easier for young readers to read and understand.

Features include:

• Short weekday devotions that help young readers apply Bible lessons for a full year.
• 52 weekend devotions that teach kids about God’s creation through fun activities like visiting the zoo and gazing at the stars.
• “Got It” feature that encourages kids to find answers to Bible trivia themselves.
• Book introductions that give helpful information about each book of the Bible.
• A dictionary to look up words they want to know more about.
• The complete NIrV text, which uses shorter sentences and easier words. Kids can read this Bible on their own!

My thoughts:

Our kids are old enough now that we are loving going through study bibles with them, and they also pick up bibles on their own and read through passages we’ve recently studied together, etc. And, so far, we are big fans of nearly every Zondervan kids Bible we’ve picked up.

That trend continues with Zondervan’s newer Kids’ Devotional Bible. This bible has the full Bible text in NIrV translation (read more about this translation here — we love this translation for young readers!). It also has 5 devotions per weekday that move through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, as well as ‘weekend’ devotion each week.

The weekday devotions include:

  • a bible reading (usually between 2-10 verses),
  • a focus verse,
  • a short less-than-half-page devotion that tries to tie the biblical story or truth into more current, everyday living,
  • “ask yourself” questions to help young readers reflect on what they read,
  • a box to ‘check’ when the devotion has been read, if wanted,
  • and a note at the bottom notifying which page the next devotion appears, plus additional Scripture references for additional reading/study.

This structure is set up nicely for brief reflection and family discussion after each reading. The devotions remain fairly general to be accessible to most readers. Some can be a bit more on the superficial side, but others delve into deeper topics that will warrant family discussion. I find the language used and topics covered to be geared more towards kids ages 7 to 13 or so. (The language will be ‘too young’ to be as interesting for most teens, but teens can definitely join in with younger siblings on discussions and guidance.)

Also, I suggest parents/teachers reading the devotions with kids to help talk through the devotions. Because devotions are interpretive by nature, some of the devotions, on rare occasion, may not align with certain biblical understandings or your family/church’s theology. (This can happen with any devotional book, so discussions can help your kids learn to analyze and still some glean truth from something that may differ from their own understandings.)

Readers can decide to go through the Bible straight through, or use the “subject guide” in the back to pick Scripture readings and devotions on topical needs, like joy, forgiveness, giving, worship, truthfulness, etc. (Some literal readers may not like reading a “Thursday” devotion on a Monday, for example, if wanting to look for specific topics, but these devotions could still certainly be read that way.)

The weekend devotions differ with:

  • two Scripture readings offered (one for Saturday, one for Sunday),
  • additional reflection questions (in the “Some things to think about” sidebar),
  • a “Some things to do” sidebar with simple, broad ‘action steps’ to live out what has been read and studied. Some of these tips include things to pray, ways to help. Some are too general (like “help those in trouble”) for some readers to benefit strongly from them without guidance, but most action steps will at least spark readers’ ideas for living out our faith in the world.

Additional features:

  • Each book begins with a brief, one-paragraph introduction/summary to what takes place or what is discussed in the book.
  • Each book ends with a “Got it!” section that reflects on the book (and devotions within that book) as a whole, and one or two “Connect the dots” questions that ‘quiz’ or review the material (including Scripture references to find the answers).
  • A “How to Use Your Devotional Bible” article at the beginning of the Bible written to young readers (rather than to parents).
  • A dictionary in the back with definitions of harder biblical terms, people, places, etc.
  • A “subject guide” in the back to find topical devotional and Scripture readings.

Overall, this is quality Bible and that would be especially useful for family devotion time with middle grade readers.

Our very favorite study bible for young readers (thus far) remains to be the NIrV Adventure Study Bible, which I reviewed here a couple of years ago, but this newer devotional bible will likely be well-used in our house, as well, and is a worthwhile addition to family libraries.

What is your family’s favorite study Bible or devotional Bible?

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher as a part of the BookLook bloggers program. All opinions expressed are my own and this is my honest review.

I am an affiliate for Amazon Associates. If you click on an Amazon link and then make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This does not affect your final cost at all. Thank you for supporting this blog and my family!

This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Thomas Nelson, 2014)

A Helpful Bible Study Tool {Review of Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary}

I’ve covered a few Bible study resources on this blog, and I’ve found another one that’s a fantastic help.

The Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Thomas Nelson, 2014) offers an updated book of more than 7,000 entries filled with information on the people, places, things, and ideas of the Bible, accompanied by photos, charts, and maps for visual reinforcement.

Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Thomas Nelson, 2014)

I particularly love using a Bible dictionary when I need to understand cultural context of a term or object mentioned in the Bible. (Especially helpful for my posts at Do Not Depart!) I’ve used this Bible dictionary a few times already, specifically in this Do Not Depart post on the greatest High Priest.

If you haven’t used a Bible dictionary much, they’re organized like a dictionary – terms are listed in alphabetical order. Each entry offers a concrete explanation, followed by cultural and biblical significance and Bible verses to support. Many of the entries also offer thoughts on how this theology, place, person, etc. impacts current-day believers.

This revised edition of the Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary includes full-color in the photographs included, a cross-reference system for translations, outlines of the books of the Bible, maps, and more – all great resources to study the Bible in more depth. Some of the photos do seem a bit dated, but still show the intended object.

Besides being beautiful and interesting to look through, this dictionary has earned a spot on one of our “often-used” shelves.

How do you use Bible dictionaries in your study? 

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher (BookLook program) in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Disclosure: I am an affiliate for Signing Time and Amazon Associates. If you click on a Signing Time link or Amazon and then make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This does not affect your final cost at all. Thank you for supporting this blog and my family!

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NIV Once-a-day Bible for Women (Zondervan, 2012)

Another Way to Read the Bible in a Year {Book Review – NIV Once a Day Bible}

I’ve tried a few methods of reading through the Bible in year, and love the many options out there (straight through, chronologically, etc.). They all offer various benefits for different needs and schedules.NIV Once-a-day Bible for Women (Zondervan, 2012)

I recently began using the NIV Once-A-Day Bible for Women (Zondervan, 2012), and I love this format. This Bible-in-a-year design breaks up daily reading into manageable portions and includes readings from various sections of the Bible.

Features of this Bible:

  • Each daily reading includes a selection from the Old Testament (starting in Genesis), a selection from the New Testament (starting in Matthew), and a portion from Psalms or Proverbs, along with a brief devotion. This method incorporates diversity in each day’s reading (rather than weeks of solid reading in Leviticus, for example). Each day’s devotion is a one-paragraph reflection on one of the day’s selections.
  • The daily reading takes 10-15 minutes.
  • I love that the daily entries are simply numbered. You don’t have to begin using this Bible on January 1. You can begin today, follow the numbers, and know that in one year (with regular reading), you’ll have read all the way through the Bible. (You can also begin on January 1, and there’s a reading guide to keep you on track!)

The only aspects I can see that make this a “women’s” Bible is the cover design (pink and floral) and the paragraph reflections sometimes seem geared more towards women. But anyone can read this format of the Bible (and Zondervan makes versions for teens, leaders, morning and evening, a chronological version, and more), particularly for its ease of daily use.

This is not a study Bible by any means, but if you’re looking for something to help you read through the Bible in a year or incorporate daily reading time into your routine, I highly recommend this format.

What’s your favorite way to read the Bible in a year or incorporate daily reading?

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest reviews. All opinions expressed are my own. I was not compensated in any other way.

Disclosure: I am an affiliate for Signing Time and Amazon Associates. If you click on a Signing Time link or Amazon and then make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This does not affect your final cost at all. Thank you for supporting this blog and my family!

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This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

The Word of God, a new album from Seeds Family Worship

A New Album from Seeds Family Worship!

Three years ago, I learned about Seeds Family Worship and reviewed them on this blog (on my own accord). We haven’t stopped listening to them!

The Word of God, a new album from Seeds Family WorshipWe still love how each song has a slightly different sound to it. All of the lyrics are Scripture and only Scripture, yet incredibly interesting and fun to listen to. There are songs I listened to years ago (like “More Than Conquerors” on the Seeds of Character album) that still come into my head as soon as I read that verse (Romans 8:37).

Last week, Seeds Family came out with a new album! This new The Word of God album includes 12 songs. All of these songs talk about what the Word of God is itself (like “The Word of God (Hebrews 4:12)”) or about how to act on God’s Word (like “Do What It Says {James 1:22)”). These songs remind us that God’s Word is breathed out, genuine, and made to be firmly rooted in our hearts. 

See the full track listing on the Seeds Family Worship site.

A couple of the songs have a bit more a “pop”-ish feel to them than on previous albums, if you enjoy that style. The album also includes many songs with that familiar Seeds sound, and I believe a song or two even uses some banjo (love!). Our favorite songs so far include: “The Word of God (Hebrews 4:12),” “Impress Them (Deuteronomy 6:4-7)”, and “Your Word in My Heart (Psalm 119:9-11)”. (My son is sitting beside me bouncing to the songs as I write this review!) And the acoustic version of “Your Life is Hidden” is lovely.

Seeds Family music is so well done that it becomes almost easy to memorize Scripture through their songs. It goes beyond the average “worship music” to utilize different styles of music and great, emotional, fun-to-sing-with vocals.

We listen to Seeds often in the car and in the house when we’re cleaning or just playing. The more we listen, the more planted those words come, easier to rise from our hearts to our minds when we need to recall that wisdom for situations in our daily lives.

If you haven’t yet, check out Seeds Family Worship and this new The Word of God album, as well as their other albums!

Check this recent post on the Seeds Instagram account for a code for free shipping through their website this week only!

Seeds offers printable memory cards for their other albums, and I imagine they’ll put some up for this new album at some point, too.

How does your family memorize Scripture together? What do you look for in good worship music?

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this album from Seeds Family Worship in exchange for my review. All opinions expressed are my own. We genuinely love these albums!

I am an affiliate for Signing Time and Amazon Associates. If you click on a Signing Time link or Amazon and then make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This does not affect your final cost at all. Thank you for supporting this blog and my family!

Shop Signing Time

This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.