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The Best Catholic Bible for Children

The Best Catholic Bible for Children

Telling our children the Story of Salvation History helps them understand God’s movement in the world since the beginning. Hearing the stories of God’s faithfulness from long ago reminds them that He is faithful to them now. Learning about the men and women God raised up to serve Him points to their call to be saints.

 

Blessedly, many people have completed the task of making these stories accessible for kids of all ages. There is a variety of Catholic children’s Bibles on the market today, so how do we know which one(s) to choose?

 

Should We Even Use a Catholic Children’s Bible?

 

A preliminary consideration is whether or not we should even use a Children’s Bible.

 

In short, yes… if it’s worthy.

 

However, the actual Bible holds primacy always. Sacred Scripture is the actual Word of God, and our kids need to hear it. It is this Word that is living and effective, it is this Word that does not return to the Father void. Reading Sacred Scripture to our children plants the seeds deeply in their hearts. (This is why we always encourage reading from the actual Bible throughout our resources).

 

Of course, our children hear the actual words of Sacred Scripture at every Mass, and they’ll hear them if your family plays the Liturgy of the Hours or a scriptural Rosary.

 

I like to read from the actual Bible for our formal catechesis, and a Catholic Bible for children on our “off” days when we’re not doing Into the Deep. And of course, these are the Bibles that are pulled up on laps alongside toddlers, and the ones that get brought to Mass.

 

Criteria I Use When Selecting a Catholic Bible for Children

 

When combing through the options for Catholic children’s Bibles, I have a few criteria:

  1. It must be authentically Catholic.
  2. It must be beautifully-illustrated.
  3. It must engage the imagination.

 

My Favorite Catholic Children’s Bibles

 

My Big Book of Catholic Bible Stories

 

This ranks as our favorite Catholic children’s Bible. Although its title implies that it is a collection of Bible stories, I find this to be a much more thorough and complete presentation of Scripture than other smaller collections of Bible stories (see more on those below).

What we love:

  • It includes the actual text of Scripture.
  • It uses the NRSV-CE translation.
  • Each story begins with a small blurb providing context of the story before the actual biblical text begins.
  • The illustrations are beautiful.
  • There are closing prayers, Catechism references, and fun facts.

 

When I found this Bible, I thought it was a perfect companion to our full-year resources!

 

The Catholic Bible for Children

 

I am continually impressed with what Magnificat is putting out for children. This Bible is another thorough presentation of the Old and New Testaments.

What we love:

  • It is divided into chapters, which helps give some context and framework.
  • The illustrations are engaging.
  • It is written in a more narrative format rather than the exact Bible verses.
  • The quality of the pages is high.

 

With the Bible Through the Church Year

 

I found this while thrifting one day and I hit the jackpot. I absolutely love this children’s Bible written by Father Richard Beron, OSB in 1953. We will begin using this one in the Fall.

 

What we love:

  • It is tied to the liturgical year. Beginning in Autumn, it walks through Advent, Christmas and Epiphany, Septuagesima, Lent, Holy Week, Easter, Pentecost, and Corpus Christi.
  • Each section ends with a corresponding psalm, weaving the Psalms in much like the Mass.
  • There are short descriptions of each liturgical season as you enter it.
  • It is written in a very engaging narrative style. It’s the closest style I’ve found to The Jesus Storybook Bible (more on that below).

 

This is an older book that is out of print. If you can’t find it on Amazon, check no Thriftbooks or Ebay!

 

Catholic Bible Story Collections

 

The following are not full children’s Bibles, but cover the major highlights of the Story of Salvation History.

 

Read-Aloud Book of Bible Stories

 

Another favorite in our household, these stories are beautifully-written and engaging.

 

What we love:

 

The Bible Story

 

Written in 1957, this anthology of Bible stories reads like an epic.

 

What we love:

  • It is perfect for older readers and teens as it reads like a chapter book.
  • There are not many illustrations, but the sketches are lovely.

 

This is one I’ll have my kids read as they approach Confirmation as another review of the story God has been writing in the world since the beginning.

 

My Catholic Picture Bible Stories

 

From Ascension, this collection of Bible stories is great for younger kids.

 

What we love:

  • The illustrations are historically accurate.
  • The stories are short (1 page), making it a great read for toddlers and younger children.

 

While the illustration style is not my favorite, the hardcover is sturdy and thus gets brought to Mass with us.

 

Tomie dePaola’s Book of Bible Stories

 

If you love dePaola’s other work, you’ll love this.

 

What we love:

  • The hardcover version is less expensive and such high quality. Truly, this book is beautiful.
  • Naturally, the illustrations are delightful and deep.
  • The text is written in dePaola’s prose.

 

I treat this like we do with any collection of stories (like Winnie the Pooh or Beatrix Potter)—I select a season in which we will read one story at a time during tea time or afternoon quiet time. It takes us a long time to move through that way since those are less frequent than Morning Time, but it’s a delight for all!

 

What about the Jesus Storybook Bible?

 

I really wish I could broadly recommend this Bible. The writing is beautiful and lyrical. It’s a favorite among Christians, and for good reason. What I particularly love about this Bible is that it shows how the New Testament lies hidden in the Old, and how the Old is fulfilled in the New. Jesus is the through-thread in this book, and it makes clear God’s plan for salvation since the Fall.

However, I cannot broadly recommend this title because there are some inclusions that contradict Catholic Church teaching. I can remember two off the top of my head:

  1. During the Last Supper, the words read something like, “This is like my body…” Obviously, this is contrary to the doctrine on the Blessed Sacrament.
  2. In the narrative on the crucifixion, the author is clearly presenting the teaching of penal substitution. This is the belief that God’s wrath was poured out upon Jesus during His Passion and Death. That God the Father took all His fiery anger and directed it at Jesus. This belief is not the only view even among Protestants about the atonement, but is particularly common in Calvinistic circles. This is not the teaching of the Catholic Church.

 

When we read through this Bible, I self-edited these sections; however, because these subtleties can be easily missed, I cannot broadly recommend it for Catholic families.

 

The Whole Point

 

What matters most is that we share the Word of God with our children. Let the Word dwell in them richly, forming their consciences and inspiring them to the greatness for which they were created!

 

What’s your favorite Catholic children’s Bible? Let us know if you snag one we recommended! 

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Olivia Spears
Olivia Spears 

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Olivia Spears

About Olivia Spears

Olivia Spears lives in Kentucky, where sweet tea and bourbon flow like milk and honey. She is the wife of a lifelong homeschooler, mom to four, and the keeper of their home. She holds degrees in Theology and Catechetics from the Franciscan University of Steubenville and delights in garden dirt and hot baths. Her favorite novel is Anna Karenina and her favorite Gospel is John.