Tag Archives: family 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.

The Beginner's Bible Sticker and Activity Book: All About Jesus (Zonderkidz, 2015)

A Supplement to The Beginner’s Bible for Kids

Since our kids were born, we’ve regularly read out of The Beginner’s Bible (from Thomas Nelson publishers) together. It’s a superb starter Bible for reading aloud and for preschoolers to practice reading themselves.

The Beginner's Bible

So when I recently had the opportunity to review an accompanying activity book, I knew my kids would be excited.

The Beginner's Bible Sticker and Activity Book: All About Jesus (Zonderkidz, 2015)

The Beginner’s Bible Sticker and Activity Book: All About Jesus (Zonderkidz, 2015) is one of a series of sticker and activity books for preschoolers to accompany the Bible stories shared in The Beginner’s Bible.

In 16 pages, this activity book offers a fairly wide variety of activities. Each page offers an even shorter version of the (already shortened) stories in the The Beginner’s Bible. So while this activity book shouldn’t be used as the main Bible reading, it offers a superb, hands-on supplement to family reading/study. Some pages have the kids place stickers over grayed out spaces, some include word searches, some include counting activities, mazes, or coloring. The activities also provide a span of developmental skills, including reading comprehension, sequencing, and memory recall.

The Beginner's Bible Sticker and Activity book in action

How We Used This Book

My daughter is starting to offer her input on some of my review items. She says she particularly loves the “people stickers” (since they’re the same illustrations as The Beginner’s Bible itself), and she likes that we get to do all the activities together as a family. :-)

The activities included are definitely geared towards preschoolers, but elementary and older kids could “lead” family study or church youth group activities with preschoolers using these activity books as a supplement. My kids eagerly did the activities, which were simple in general, but had varied directions, which is always good to practice. The only issue they had was being able to get some of the stickers (particularly the puzzle-shaped stickers) off of the sticker sheet without ripping. We spread out the pages over about a week and used this activity book as our Bible study for the week. It’s perfect to use in conjunction with The Beginner’s Bible by reading the full stories there, then completing 2-3 corresponding activity pages.

There are currently five other activity books in this series, covering Easter, creation, and more. The price (just a few dollars) is pretty reasonable for an activity book that can be spread out over a week’s worth of family Bible study, add a tactile component to Bible study, or even provide an activity or a long car ride.

What activity books does your family love for family Bible study?

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

I am an affiliate for Amazon Associates and GrapeVine Studies. If you click on an Amazon link or a GrapeVine Studies 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.

Jesus Calling for Little Ones

Three Favorite Family Bible Study Items

We’ve been testing out a few options for family Bible study to see what works for our kids as unique learners and us as a family. I’ve loved many resources we’ve been able to review or come across over the years. Some we’re saving for when the kids are older. But here are three we’re using right now and absolutely love:

1. GrapeVine Studies – We love the simplicity and interactive components of GrapeVine Bible studies! We’ve particularly used the traceable formats for our preschoolers, and they’re wonderful for young kids working on fine motor skills. The lessons are short enough for young attention spans, and also work well to spread a unit out over several weeks (with two or three days per week). I’ve reviewed some of the GrapeVine traceables studies on my blog in the past and included ways we adapt the lessons for our child with special needs. GrapeVine also offers studies for older students and multi-level studies for families to complete together.

Grapevine Summer Studies

Keep a watch with GrapeVine. Starting July 15th, they’re having a mega bundle sale!

2. Jesus Storybook Bible – I know I’ve mentioned this one quite a bit, but it’s just so wonderful. The poetic, yet age-appropriate and energetic, way Sally Lloyd-Jones writes this Bible offers a wonderful read aloud. Plus, every story, no matter whether it’s Old Testament or New Testament, focuses on God’s love and telling that story of love through His people and through Christ.

Jesus Storybook Bible

3. Jesus Calling for Little Ones – My daughter is in love with this book. I enjoyed the original version of Jesus Calling for adults and this board book version for young kids picks out some wonderful statements and verses. Each page spread has a sweet and colorful illustration, one focus verse, and 4-5 sentences in the trademark Jesus Calling style of God speaking to the reader.

For example of the style, one page reads: “If you look to the heavens, I am there. If you look to the bottom of the ocean, I am there. I am everywhere! You can be sure I am always with you.”

Jesus Calling for Little Ones

With a good mix of Old Testament and New Testament verses, this little book covers several themes: trusting through fear, prayer, gratitude, trusting God’s plans, joy, forgiveness, worry, God’s presence, and more. There are thirteen total spreads/stanzas.

My daughter loves reading each stanza aloud and talking about the illustrations. My favorite aspect of this format is that one page spread has just enough to allow preschoolers to hear the heart behind a verse and allows us to discuss it as a family and what it means in our daily lives. This board book is great for around ages 1-6, and for older siblings to read and “teach” to younger siblings.

Upcoming: In the next year, I’m very excited to try out the K-3 version of the PictureSmart Bible. I’ve read many good things about this program and was able to check it out in person at our homeschool convention this year, and I think it’ll be wonderful to combine a new tactile component with book overviews!

What are your family’s current favorite Bible study resources? Have you used one of the above resources? Share your experiences in the comments!

Disclosure: I received a free copy of Jesus Calling for Little Ones from the publisher as a part of the BookLook blogger program in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

I am an affiliate for Amazon Associates and GrapeVine Studies. If you click on an Amazon link or a GrapeVine Studies 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 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!

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Grapevine "Birth of Jesus" Traceables Review and Giveaway! {plus modifications for special needs} - undergodsmightyhand.com

Grapevine Studies Birth of Jesus Traceables {Review and Giveaway!}

(Disclosure: I received a free copy of the teacher and student handbooks for the Birth of Jesus Traceables study from Grapevine Studies in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. Affiliate links are present. Thank you for supporting this site!)

If you haven’t heard of them yet, Grapevines Studies aims to provide Scripture-focused Bible study combined with the tactile component of drawing stick figures to aid in memorization and understanding.

Grapevine recently began offering “Traceables” versions of many of their studies so the younger crowd can join in!

I had the opportunity to review their New Testament overview study last September, and my son still loves to look at his pages from that study.

Grapevine "Birth of Jesus" Traceables Review and Giveaway! {plus modifications for special needs} - undergodsmightyhand.com

Grapevine Study Format

Within their numerous studies, each study focuses on a time period, a section of the Bible, or a person. Each lesson of the Beginner and Traceable levels looks at three or four small sections of Scripture (usually 2-4 verses each section) with a stick figure drawing to illustrate each one. The lessons then end with 4-6 review questions and a memory verse.

See sample lessons of all the levels offered here.

The “Birth of Jesus” study includes 7 lessons, plus a final review section. The Traceables studies are aimed for ages 3-5. They can be completed on their own, or your preschooler can join with older siblings and trace while they draw.

Our Schedule

Like I explained last time, we read from one of the children’s Bibles each day, and we aim for two (or at least one) Grapevine lessons each week. We review the lessons in between (and also because my son asks to look at them!), which helps my son with special needs, who particularly loves to reread and review materials.

How We Modify Grapevine Studies to Accommodate Special Needs

In my last review, I explain in detail how we modify the review questions and memory verses since my son has a severe expressive speech delay (among various other special needs). In that post, I also explain how I scaffold my help for the fine motor aspects of tracing and how we used some of the materials to create sequencing cards. Be sure to read that post if any of those suggestions would help you!

We still use those modifications when talking over the stories and characters. (My son is particularly fond of the “angel,” “Mary,” and “baby Jesus.”)

Grapevine "Birth of Jesus" Traceables Review and Giveaway! {plus modifications for special needs} - undergodsmightyhand.com

Because of our increased focus on pretend play and creative play, I also tried a new method this time.

Stick Figure Stick Puppets!

I printed the images from the teacher’s handbook, and cut out each scene/character. I then taped each one on a wooden popsicle/craft stick and wrote “Lesson 1–1” for the first image, “Lesson 1-2” for the second image, etc. on the back of each craft stick so I could easily distinguish the correct order.

When we sat down for a lesson, we read the Bible verse(s) first, traced the image, then I pulled out the appropriate stick puppets. I modeled and helped my son pretend to play out each character and event. Since my son can’t talk clearly, he couldn’t repeat the main “dialogue,” but he did babble while he moved the characters around. He faced them to talk to each other, pointed them at their counterparts on the paper, and turned to show them to his sister, too.

Grapevine "Birth of Jesus" Traceables Review and Giveaway! {plus modifications for special needs} - undergodsmightyhand.com

We can also practice sequencing skills with these stick puppets. Most of the time, I give him clues to find the appropriate scene and he places each stick in the right order. In essence, it becomes a listening game and review activity combined.

Grapevine "Birth of Jesus" Traceables Review and Giveaway! {plus modifications for special needs} - undergodsmightyhand.com

Grapevine "Birth of Jesus" Traceables Review and Giveaway! {plus modifications for special needs} - undergodsmightyhand.com

We’ll keep using these stick puppets to help with both pretend play skills and reviewing the Bible study material itself! (I suggest laminating the paper before you tape it to the craft sticks for better durability, if you can.)

I wish I could figure out how to help him really understand what he’s reading, but that will hopefully come later. For now, he’s learning the characters, some of the events, and that God loves. Plus, he gets excited when I pull the Grapevine papers off the shelf. That’s a big bonus!

Interested in Grapevine Studies? See tips on where to start here. See frequently asked questions about the studies here.

You can download a free e-lesson in November here!

A Grapevine Giveaway!

Grapevine Studies is offering one copy of the Birth of Jesus Traceables (for ages 3-5) student handbook and teacher handbook to one of you! Enter this giveaway through the Rafflecopter widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms of giveaway: This giveaway is open to US residents only and will end at the end of the day (EDT) November 18, 2013. All entrants must be 18 years old or older. Enter through the Rafflecopter widget above. Incomplete entries will be deleted. Once a winner is selected, I will contact them via email. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, I will select another winner.

Don’t want to wait until the giveaway is over to purchase a study? Grapevine is offering a coupon code valid through November! Enter the code “NovNews” at checkout for15% off any item not already on sale. Click here to visit the Grapevine Studies store.

Grapevine "Birth of Jesus" Traceables Review and Giveaway! {plus modifications for special needs} - undergodsmightyhand.com

What are you and your family currently studying in the Bible? Which Grapevine course looks most useful to you right now? Have you used the Traceables with your preschooler(s) yet?

This post is also linked up with The Homeschool Village’s Ultimate Homeschool Link-UpHomeschool Creation’s Preschool and Kindergarten CornerTuesday TotsToddler and Preschool Moms Pinning Party, the Weekly Kids Co-opShow and Share Saturday, and Free Homeschool Deals’ Ultimate Pinterest Party.

The Weekly Kids Co-Op

I Can Teach My Child's Show and Share Saturday link-up