Category Archives: bible study

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.

Greek Words in the New Testament

About Church and Community

One aspect of faith I’m consistently learning more about is the idea of ekklesia – of being called out to gather together.

We’re doing a New Testament Greek Words series at Do Not Depart month, and I studied a bit on ekklesia and wrote about it there today.

Join me there, and please read the other posts in the series for looks at other words my cowriters have studied.

Greek Words in the New Testament

Easter in the Old Testament series

Isaiah 53 and What to Do When Suffering Comes

Over at Do Not Depart this month, we’re looking at Isaiah 53 and seeing hints of Easter in the Old Testament.

Today, I’m writing on Isaiah 53:7-9, hard verses to read because it’s all about suffering. But, as always, Christ shows us how to react through suffering and why it’s important to keep reading (and living) beyond those verses. Join me at Do Not Depart to read more, and check out the rest of the Easter in the Old Testament series, too.

Easter in the Old Testament series