What Version of the Bible is Best for Kids?

Mark Virkler's picture

Question from Susan: I just finished Rivers of Grace and regarding this book's teaching on raising Spirit-led children, I would like to know what version of the Bible the Virklers used to teach their children the Scripture when they were in the 4-6 year old age range and as the children got older.

Answer: Since we now have grandchildren ages 4, 6 and 8 (Hudson, Bekah and Jasmine) we are letting their parents, Josh and Charla Virkler answer this question for us.


Hi Susan,

My wife and I have found that the New Living Translation is the most accessible one for our family to use together. It reads the way we talk, so there is very little additional translation we need to do as parents.

The kids have their own Bibles in NIRV, but that is because it was the version offered in the children's large-type Bibles we wanted to get for them (since they simply wouldn't read 8 point font!). NIRV is actually even a little bit easier to understand, but one thing I see as a drawback is the extremely short sentences that are used. Most contain 5 words or less, which makes for a more disjointed reading.

Although the NASB is the most accurate when doing intensive studies, the NLT is great for simple memorization in understandable words. Like this video!

For the teens and adults in your family, check out our brand new Bible Lover’s Series!

What about you? Have you found a translation or version of the Bible that works especially well for children? Please let us know about it in the comments below! Thank you.

Related Blogs: 

Training Children to Hear God's Voice   
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Anonymous's picture

The Bible is the word of God. I am 67 years old. When I was young, learning to read was a mystery but one day visiting my grandmother while the adults talked I picked up John 1 and to my amazement and delight found I could read it and afterward at school reading no longer was a mystery. Years later when I was a mom and reading to my youngest son, I decided to get a modern "understandable" bible for him but even in second grade he was very adamant that the KJV was the only Bible he wanted to read. Later we learned that the KJV is the only English translation from the Textus Receptus which the Jews used. All other versions use the Septuagint which is not the accepted form of the Tanach. (the Tanach is what we call the Old Testament short for "Moses, the prophets and the writings" as Jesus described it.) We adults may object to the KJV but it is written in simple 5th grade level words that have a rhythm that makes for easy reading and memorizing. While not as accurate as reading in Hebrew (which Jewish kids can and do learn) it is one which God has used since 1611 to reach His English speaking elect. All others choose words not for accuracy but for copyright issues. Children's minds are making foundations upon which all other learning rests. When they grow up it will be there to be analyzed for understanding when the brain is at that stage to do that kind of work. They need to hide it in their hearts for now. Changing wordage means it is harder to memorize, there is no stability and makes one think that opinions count more than Truth. Too many variations means little stability since one can pick and choose what one wants a verse to say thereby removing God and replacing His thoughts for our thoughts on a subject. His thoughts are higher than ours. Little kids can link to Him clearer than adults do so don't under estimate what your child can pick up from an ancient text. Today's street smart phrases will change meanings tomorrow. Give your child the KJV and he will be able to read classic literature as a side effect and be ahead of his classmates in school. I add that in case you need a secular argument.

Anonymous's picture

I would disagree with your idea that the KJV is the most accurate. When it was translated we didn’t have the manuscript evidence we do know, or the understanding of the original Hebrew and Greek. There are also many passages in the KJV that were deliberately altered, as the scribes attempted to bring harmony to verses they didn’t understand. The most notable is Romans 8:1. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” That’s the way it was written in the original Greek. Now go look at a KJV, or NKJV. The scribes decided that couldn’t make sense with what they read a few verses later, so they added a filler on the end to try to make it jive in their heads. But if you compare that verse to the rest of Paul’s writings, it flows. He would NEVER put a condition on salvation, which is what the addition in the KJV attempts to do.

Mark Virkler's picture

Thanks for your cordial response. It is nice to honor one another, even though we may hold different opinions.

I would like to share my testimony while at Roberts Wesleyan College. I was taking Greek, and one afternoon I laid open a Greek text and alongside it a King James Version of the Bible, a New American Standard version and a New International Version. My goal was to see which one stayed closest to the Greek text.

The New American Standard was closest, with King James following and the NIV came in last. So I have used the NASB for the last 40 years of my life. Since then, the New King James Version of the Bible has come out, and I have discovered that it is more accurate than the KJV and is not written in Shakespearean English. So I now recommend both the NASB and the NKJV as the two most accurate versions I have found.

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