Published at Youthworker Journal
The Way: Mark Oestreicher-editor
The Way is in the New Living Translation and is geared towards youth. This Bible includes a wide variety of tools from a long list of thoughtful contributors. Most of the contributors are youth workers or those who teach youth workers. The tools included with this Bible are introductions to the various books of the Bible, a topic and verse finder, a helpful index of the tools and great and unique photos. Also included in this Bible are devotions, justice and service moments, testimonies and challenge sections that help the reader apply Biblical truth. The tools and resources offered in this Bible are very well done. They are practical, accessible and reasonably sound theologically. There is a great diversity of tools offered in this Bible and great diversity within the individual tools. The photos are very interesting and add a depth to this Bible. I think the combinations of tools work very well together and that this Bible is a great asset, especially to adolescents, parents and youth workers. It is very missional in nature and would be a great tool or gift as a part of a mission trip or mission team. It is probably best suited for high school youth, especially those who desire depth and have a passion for service. It would be a great Bible to use as a part of a high school or college age small group or Bible study. Its more missional tone is especially relevant to a postmodern culture. Its depth and its discipleship tone could help the Bible come alive for many teenagers and young adults. It is clear that a lot of thought and effort went into the tools offered here. Youth workers may benefit from using some of the tools in their own lesson planning and study. I would consider using this most in preparing some of the lessons for youth mission teams. My only disappointment is that this Bible is only offered in the New Living Translation. I would love to see a Bible like this in other translations, especially the NIV.
Deep Blue Kids Bible
This children’s Bible is in the Common English Translation, which is often used for children’s Bibles. It’s colorful, easy to read and very kid friendly without being childish. This Bible is geared primarily for children age 8-12 and after reviewing it, I would say this age range is accurate although it would be most helpful to children ages 7-11, depending on their reading level. This Bible includes devotions, cool facts, memory verse suggestions, key faith concepts, challenges for the readers based on the scriptures, key points and themes as well as key Biblical traits and other helpful information for children. It is very attractive and offers great introductions to each book of the Bible. While the translation is often used for children’s Bibles, it is not as helpful, approachable, readable, accurate or child-friendly as other translations. The simplicity of the tools in this Bible is especially helpful, especially for children, parents and families. It could be a good Bible to give to children grades 3-5 if that is a part of your church’s tradition or practice. This Bible could be used in Sunday School classes, although the translation may be a challenge for some of the children in the younger range of the age target. It’s a solid Bible with solid tools worth having in your library. It would best be used by families that have children age 12 and under for family devotionals, reading and discussion. There are some great tools and information pieces in this Bible that would create great family conversation at the dinner table, in the car or as a part of a family devotional time. The tools included in this Bible could help parents to talk about the scriptures with their children and give them the confidence and tools to discuss God’s word as a family.
One Impact Bible
The NIV One Impact Bible by Zondervan is more than a Bible as it offers a variety of tools for its users. This Bible includes various elements at the start of each book of the Bible rather than spreading these pieces throughout the text. I found this to be helpful and certainly less distracting than many of the in-text pieces found in other Bibles. The elements offered as an introduction to each book of the Bible vary by the book, but I found each to be helpful. Some of the elements include verse highlights from the book, a devotion, prayers and introductions to the book that included some background information and history. Each of these elements are helpful, easy to read and thoughtful. Throughout the Bible there are also mini-devotionals that include some of the same elements found at the start of the books of the Bible at a page in length. Again these include history, background, prayers, scriptures and a devotional. There are not an overwhelming number of these mini-devotionals, which is helpful. There is simplicity to this Bible that is very accessible, as it is not overdone like many Bibles that include devotionals. This extra material is well done, thoughtful and theologically sound. I would recommend this Bible more for personal use and personal devotion than anything else. In a ministry setting, this Bible is a good resource to have on your shelf as it does have some good ideas and thoughts that could be used in a lesson. The devotionals could be used in a variety of contexts as well. It could be a good Bible to give youth who are looking to read through the Bible and have some extra information as they go.
NIV Quick View Bible
The NIV Quick View Bible looks much like a bright, bold newspaper or magazine. This Bible has very easy to read text, is colorful and visually appealing. It includes a lot of full color graphics that are not for appearance; rather it offers great information including main points, highlights, facts and other interesting information. These information pieces provide great information and would be a very helpful resource when preparing a lesson. This Bible could also serve as a great additional study tool for the information that it provides. In a ministry setting, this might best be used with middle school youth as a classroom set for Sunday School or for a confirmation group because it does provide some interesting information and is easy to read. There are many good Bibles available today, and this would be a good resource to have in your library.
Rev. Marcus J Carlson has worked with children and youth for over 14 years and is a spiritual director. He current serves as Associate Pastor at Bethel Lutheran Church in Colorado Springs, CO. (marcusjcarlson.com)