Tag 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.

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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NIrV Adventure Bible for Early Readers (Zonderkidz)

For Your Reading Adventurers {Review – NIrV Adventure Bible for Early Readers}

Our kids are really into reading by themselves right now, particularly picture books and early readers. They both love to pick up their The Beginner’s Bible for reading on their own, as well as thumb through a few other Bibles we have around.

The updated version of Zonderkidz’s NIrV Adventure Bible for Early Readers (Zondervan, 2014) offers a great “next step up” for young Bible reading. NIrV Adventure Bible for Early Readers (Zonderkidz)

We all (adults and kids) love the full color aspects and the fonts used in this Bible.

The introduction is written towards the young reader, rather than the parent or teacher who might be reading with the child. This tactic lets the child know this Bible is for them to read, learn, and love. We love both the application and study pieces in this Bible, and it might have quickly become a favorite in our house.

Study Aspects

  • Each book begins with one page offering an introduction to the book itself. These introductions answer who wrote the book, why the book was written, what we learn about God from the book, who is important in the book, when the events in the book occurred, where they occurred, and some of the highlights in the book. I love how this offers a “first” version of a study Bible.
  • Each book offers numerous “Did You Know?” features that define a term or phrase or explain a historical tidbit.
  • The “Life in Bible Times” sections describe cultural history in about a paragraph to help the reader understand some Scriptural references and cultural differences.
  • The “People in Bible Times” sidebars highlight a person within that chapter and summarize who he/she was and his/her actions or status.
  • I love that this Bible includes a subject index, a dictionary, and eight full-color study maps (not simplified version). These tools help kids learn how to use a study Bible.

Application Features

  • Through each book are “Words to Treasure” sidebars highlighting a verse from within that chapter. These verses would be great to study deeper as a family or memorize.
  • The “Live It!” sections within each book offer the most reflective application. Each feature summarizes an event the reader just read and asks questions or gives activity ideas to help the reader decide how he/she might respond in a similar situation. Particularly when paired with parent discussion, these activities can foster reflection and growth. Most of the activities seem to be geared towards early- to mid-elementary ages.
  • In a few places, readers will find special sections that emphasize key themes of the Bible and questions for application. In the OT, a 4-page section summarizes the ten commandments, refers to various Bible themes (and accompanying verses), and highlights famous prophets. Another section talks about how to pray. Another section shares a poem on the twelve disciples.

We love the NIrV translation, and my husband and I even compare this version to our “adult” versions at times to gather new perspectives. This Bible is beautifully presented and filled with helpful and interesting resources.

How do your younger children study the Bible? What tools are their favorites to use?

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

Disclosure: I am an affiliate for Signing Time. If you click on a Signing Time 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!

Shop Signing Time

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NIV Teen Study Bible (Zondervan, revised 2014)

For Your Teens: NIV Teen Study Bible Review

It’s pretty rare that I post anything relating to teens on this blog yet, but my husband teaches teens, and we both are around teens in our fellowship. We also love our NIV Bibles (especially study bibles), so I grabbed the opportunity to review the newest version of the NIV Teen Study Bible (Zondervan, revised 2014).NIV Teen Study Bible (Zondervan, revised 2014)

We love using many translations in our home, but the NIV is a great translation for daily reading. This teen Bible includes many different features that impressively help the reader reflect on truths found within God’s Word.

Immediately upon opening this Bible, I found (and love) the “We Believe” introduction page. This page breaks down the phrases within “the Apostles’ Creed” and points the reader to an appropriate section in Scripture to learn more about that phrase. When the reader turns to one of those Scriptures, he/she finds a one-page devotion on those verses and truths found within.

Devotion Features

This Bible also includes a variety of other devotion-like features that help the reader figure out how biblical truths relate to today’s life.

  • Both my husband and I love the “instant access” sidebars. These boxes of text take a handful of verses and offer a 50- to 100-word devotion on how that biblical story can be applied in a teen’s life now.
  • The “To The Point” and “Panorama” sections found within each book also serve to summarize the book’s truths and highlight main points.
  • Many of the books also have a “Dear Jordan” feature formatted like an advice column letter. My husband and I were both thankful that the questions addressed are very real issues with today’s teens, and these questions didn’t hold back. (Teens desperately need honest conversations from good sources.) The answers seem to suffice and have sound advice, though I wonder if all teens will be able to relate to the straightforward tone. Tone is such a subjective aspect, and the writers likely had to balance capturing teens’ attention while still using language (without too much slang) that could still be relevant in five or more years. For this, I applaud the writers.

Study Bible Features

The only “negative” my husband offered was that this Bible wasn’t as much of a true “study Bible” as he thought it would be by carrying the “NIV [Teen] Study Bible” title, and I agree. That said, we both find numerous features that absolutely offer study aspects that teens wouldn’t find in a “regular” Bible. These features include:

  • One-page summaries at the beginning of each book with a brief background and some highlights of the book. We also love the green bars at the bottom of these pages that share world events occurring likely around the same time as the events within that book. While these times cannot be proven for certain, it’s fascinating to think of what’s happening in the other parts of the world at the same time as these biblical events.
  • Highlighted verses throughout the Bible
  • Study Q&As
  • The back of the Bible offers: weight and measures conversion charts, reading plan suggestions and checklist, a “Bible Truth Index” with topical listings, a “Teen Life Index” to look up relevant issues, and 8 full color study maps.

The “instant access” features mentioned previously also integrate some background information that would be found in true “study bible notes” along with thoughts on how that information is relevant to today’s teens.

We plan to keep this Bible around, read it ourselves to help us better serve the teens around us, and hopefully offer copies to some teens as gifts!

What Bible does your teen prefer to use? What do you (parent/caregiver or teen) want to be included in within a Bible focused on teens?

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

Disclosure: I am an affiliate for Signing Time. If you click on a Signing Time 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!

Shop Signing Time

BundleoftheWeek.com, 5 eBooks for $7.40!