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Author Topic: decent children's bible?  (Read 7570 times) Average Rating: 0
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kmm
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« on: January 17, 2009, 01:19:18 AM »

Hi all,

I am looking for a decent children's bible. We have one (actually 2, one in Russian, which I cannot read and my husband rarely does get around to reading, and one in English). I am not impressed with the English one we have. My son enjoys when I read it to him (good pictures, understandable text), but it is rather protestant (certain forms) in tone (lots about punishment, including around why Jesus died for us).

Any suggestions?

Thanks,

kmm
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« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2009, 01:36:51 AM »

Orthodox Marketplace has a good children's bible reader.  The English version, for some reason, is temporarily disabled (there's a Greek and a Spanish version that're available right now, though), but you can look at some samples HERE.

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« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2009, 03:06:00 AM »

Egermeier's is a classic.  It's prepared by Protestants, but the bias is not strong.  It has most Bible stories in it from their canon.

http://www.amazon.com/Egermeiers-Bible-Story-Elsie-Egermeier/dp/1593173350/ref=pd_cp_b_0?pf_rd_p=413864201&pf_rd_s=center-41&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=1593173369&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=0CX3MH3YSWYT06K97SS7
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« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2009, 08:16:15 AM »

Hi all,

I am looking for a decent children's bible. We have one (actually 2, one in Russian, which I cannot read and my husband rarely does get around to reading, and one in English). I am not impressed with the English one we have. My son enjoys when I read it to him (good pictures, understandable text), but it is rather protestant (certain forms) in tone (lots about punishment, including around why Jesus died for us).

Any suggestions?

Thanks,

kmm

I'll try to remember to look, but there is a English translation of a work done in Greek (I have the Romanian translation), which not only is therefore Orthodox, but also has fairly good illustrations based on iconography.
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« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2009, 02:13:22 AM »

Just saw something tonight in our church's bookstore -- "The Bible for Young People," or something like that, from Narthex Press (POB 280758, Northridge, CA 91328-0758).  I tried googling the press but couldn't find anything.  The pictures are icon-esque and the text is very paraphrasey -- good for kids, I suppose -- but I still like the one I linked to above better.  It's a translation of something originally done in Greek, too.
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« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2009, 12:01:46 PM »

Hi!

I run the Orthodox Marketplace - I've read the two books mentioned above:

The Bible for Young People - Zoe Kanavas

Children's Bible Reader - GBS/ABS

For some of the parents I have spoken to, the "Bible for Young People" includes conceptual challenges that they found inappropriate for the context of reading the bible with their younger children - some found it to be a bit too earthy and 'loaded' - in other words, you'd be reading along with a familiar story and suddenly you find yourself reading a sentence that required a LOT of explanation to a child who is probably too young to deal with it... It colludes spiritual and physical intimacy in ways that are often giggle-worthy or uncomfortable. It is, at times, immodest.

In other words, a lot of the things this book tries to illustrate to kids are things that I would rather teach to my own child in my own way, and in my own time - not appearing suddenly in the middle of a kid's book.

The Children's Bible Reader was originally written in Greek, is faithful to the ethos of the scriptural texts, has conservative and familiar icon-style illustrations like those you see in church, and had the Patriarch's endorsement when it was released for the Church of Greece. The English edition is a joint effort between the Greek Bible Society, the American Bible Society and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese - Metropolitan Nicholas provided a great deal of oversight for the translation and the end result is a collection of stories that does a remarkable job of orienting the reader towards the kingdom. This applies even to some of the harder bible stories in the Old testament - and in the New as well.

The most common comment we've received about the CBR is that their kids read it in church and recognize the icons in the church as they read. Many adults have found it useful who are not familiar with the Old Testament as a sort of re-introduction to those stories.

That being said, the English edition is being reprinted - we are hoping to have the first few hundred in stock again in May, with much more arriving in June.

I read the CBR before it was released - I was pleasantly surprised with their treatment of many topics (I am twice-over educated at HCHC with a particular focus on the Scriptures.) I read the BYP last year - and although it gets some things right, there were a number of debatable assumptions that crept into the book which were outside of the scope of the biblical text.

Another recommendation - if you are looking for something for a younger child, are the 12 feasts series and the Old testament stories series coming out of Conciliar Press - they are thoughtfully written and do a simple yet good job of illustrating these stories.
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« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2009, 12:49:55 PM »

One thing I don't like about the Bible for Young People is that it incorporates the Proto-Evangelion into the text.  Since is it presented as a Bible, there's something a little uncanonical with that, though I have no problem with the story.

Once thing I don't get is why the Orthodox Bibles for children do not include something from Maccabbees, Tobit, etc, although the subject matter lends itself to presentation to children.
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« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2009, 01:01:13 PM »

I may sound outlandishly rebellios, but I do not believe that a child can understand the Bible... I think children do not need it at all.  Embarrassed
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« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2009, 01:11:58 PM »

I may sound outlandishly rebellios, but I do not believe that a child can understand the Bible... I think children do not need it at all.  Embarrassed

My children understand it quite well, so well that their mother has banned them from reading it.

I've heard of children learning their ABC's from copying out the Psalms, a good tradition. Mine learned from the initials in the chapters in the their Children's Bible.

So, I'm afraid I have to disagree. You cannot start too early to build a love of Scripture.
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« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2009, 01:23:16 PM »

We grew up with alternating nights of Egermeier's and Hurlbut's Story of the Bible. We also had several individual bible stories published by "Lady Bird" books (my favourite! I loved the Lady Bird series!). My younger siblings learned to read at school from the Bible stories. I think it's great for children to be exposed to the bible stories, but, as I observed the children who grew up with only bible stories in their school curriculums, the expression "familiarity breeds contempt" often came to mind. Otoh, I'll never forget the picture in one of my Lady Bird books of young hebrew children licking the honey off their slates, upon which had been written the psalms, the idea being to instill in the children's hearts the "sweetness" of God's law. I thought that was so beautiful!

Many of my married friends from church read to their young children from "The Law of God". I believe that is like a classic Orthodox Bible story etc book.
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« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2009, 01:26:59 PM »

My children understand it quite well, so well that their mother has banned them from reading it.

Did they like it that Abraham had to slaughter his only son, or that Hebrews killed all men, women, children and even animals in the towns of Canaan that they captured? Brrrr...  Angry
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« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2009, 01:31:49 PM »

^^ It can be terribly grim, and violent. What about martyrologies? I remember some people used to read these graphic accounts of the gruesome deaths of the martyrs to their children. Is this appropriate?
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« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2009, 01:41:10 PM »

My children understand it quite well, so well that their mother has banned them from reading it.

Did they like it that Abraham had to slaughter his only son, or that Hebrews killed all men, women, children and even animals in the towns of Canaan that they captured? Brrrr...  Angry


Most of these stories get told in a more "child appropriate" manner, while still retaining the MEANING of the story.  I don't think any of the stuff from the "law" is told (like how much you need to slaughter, etc.).  And usually the "war" stories are told in short clips and say something like "and God conquered over the enemy" and stuff like that.  It's fairly G rated on things like this. 
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« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2009, 01:42:01 PM »

Anyone know if a children's bible exists in the foreign languages.  I'd be interested in these languages:

Greek
Serbian
Russian
Spanish
German

I think that's it.  Anyone know any good sources? 
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« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2009, 02:14:54 PM »

Doesn't anyone else here use "The Law of God" (Zakon Bozhij/Закон Божий) with their children? I thought this was an Orthodox classic, or at least it seems nearly everyone I know uses it with their children. I looked at this book and realized that it seems to be a Bible Story book of sorts too. I've seen mothers reading from it to their 3-4 year olds, even.

We have several Orthodox Bible Story books (albeit in Russian) available in our church bookstore.
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« Reply #15 on: April 08, 2009, 02:15:35 PM »

Anyone know if a children's bible exists in the foreign languages.  I'd be interested in these languages:

Greek
Serbian
Russian
Spanish
German

I think that's it.  Anyone know any good sources? 

Nai, da, si, ja.

I dont' have the detail on hand, but I have seen them in all of the above (except in Spanish and German I haven't seen Orthodox ones, but someone posted on them above).

{Edit - fixed quote box - Cleveland, GM}
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« Reply #16 on: April 08, 2009, 02:21:23 PM »

My children understand it quite well, so well that their mother has banned them from reading it.

Did they like it that Abraham had to slaughter his only son, or that Hebrews killed all men, women, children and even animals in the towns of Canaan that they captured? Brrrr...  Angry


Actually I have a picture of them dressed up when 4 and 2 as Abraham and Isaac (their choice) for All Hallows Eve.  I'lll see if I can get it scanned and post it.  The idea that Jesus picked up where Isaac left off was one of their first lessons in typology.

Bad things happening to good people is hard to explain.  Bad things happening to bad people is quite easy.

^^ It can be terribly grim, and violent. What about martyrologies? I remember some people used to read these graphic accounts of the gruesome deaths of the martyrs to their children. Is this appropriate?

How do you explaine the Cross?
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« Reply #17 on: April 08, 2009, 02:32:24 PM »

The reason I asked about martyrologies, is because I remember whilst living in an eastern european, Orthodox country, our mission (I wasn't Orthodox at the time), translated and published a very graphic children's story about a 15 th century (?) martyr. I remember the reaction from my Ukrainian friends was very negative. Nearly all of them burst out with fears of psychologically traumatizing their children with such a book; they just couldn't get why anyone would print such a book for children. I actually had never thought of it that way before, because I had grown up with all this.
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« Reply #18 on: April 08, 2009, 02:52:20 PM »

My children understand it quite well, so well that their mother has banned them from reading it.

Did they like it that Abraham had to slaughter his only son, or that Hebrews killed all men, women, children and even animals in the towns of Canaan that they captured? Brrrr...  Angry


Most of these stories get told in a more "child appropriate" manner, while still retaining the MEANING of the story.  I don't think any of the stuff from the "law" is told (like how much you need to slaughter, etc.).  And usually the "war" stories are told in short clips and say something like "and God conquered over the enemy" and stuff like that.  It's fairly G rated on things like this. 

Right, but that's embellishment, I don't think it's a good, honest thing to do... the kids will grow up and ask questions, anyway... That's why I think it's not a good idea to cherish this so-called "love for Scriptures" in the little honest persons who do not, can not understand the real Scripture and are instead fed with something that we adults think is "proper" for them.
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« Reply #19 on: April 08, 2009, 02:53:49 PM »

How do you explaine the Cross?

That's a million dollar question, and my answer is, no way. No child understands the Cross.
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« Reply #20 on: April 08, 2009, 03:58:18 PM »

Heck, I don't even understand the Cross!   Cheesy

My four year old (almost) says that "He died for us."  She knows death.  She's seen it.  We talk about "people going in their boxes until Jesus wakes them up."  Jesus went into His box after getting hurt on the Cross for us, but "Dios Padre" (as He's known in our house right now) took Him out of His box really quickly, and that's why we can come out of our boxes someday, too.
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« Reply #21 on: April 08, 2009, 03:59:25 PM »

My children understand it quite well, so well that their mother has banned them from reading it.

Did they like it that Abraham had to slaughter his only son, or that Hebrews killed all men, women, children and even animals in the towns of Canaan that they captured? Brrrr...  Angry


Most of these stories get told in a more "child appropriate" manner, while still retaining the MEANING of the story.  I don't think any of the stuff from the "law" is told (like how much you need to slaughter, etc.).  And usually the "war" stories are told in short clips and say something like "and God conquered over the enemy" and stuff like that.  It's fairly G rated on things like this. 

Right, but that's embellishment, I don't think it's a good, honest thing to do... the kids will grow up and ask questions, anyway... That's why I think it's not a good idea to cherish this so-called "love for Scriptures" in the little honest persons who do not, can not understand the real Scripture and are instead fed with something that we adults think is "proper" for them.  

I wouldn't advocate exposing the children to all the scriptures, but I wouldn't advocate not exposing them at all.  Read the Psalms to them; read the Gospels; read the parts that are uplifting and instructional (Proverbs).  Instill a love for what they can handle, and then increase the exposure as they grow older.  Reading with discernment.
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« Reply #22 on: April 08, 2009, 04:18:03 PM »

^^PSALMS? To Children? What in the world can they make of, say, ""deal with them as with Midian, as with Sisera, as with Jabin at the Brook Kishon, who perished at En Dor, who became as refuse on the earth; make their nobles like Oreb and like Zeeb, yes, all their princes like Zelah and Zalmunna... make them like the whirling dust, like the chaff before the wind! As the fire burns the woods, and as the flame sets the mountains on fire, so pursue them with Your tempest, and frighten them with Your storm.Fill their faces with shame... let them be counfounded and dismayed forever, yes, let them be put to shame and perish..." (Ps. 83)

I dunno...  Embarrassed I am yet to like a Psalm...
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« Reply #23 on: April 08, 2009, 04:29:07 PM »

^^PSALMS? To Children? What in the world can they make of, say, ""deal with them as with Midian, as with Sisera, as with Jabin at the Brook Kishon, who perished at En Dor, who became as refuse on the earth; make their nobles like Oreb and like Zeeb, yes, all their princes like Zelah and Zalmunna... make them like the whirling dust, like the chaff before the wind! As the fire burns the woods, and as the flame sets the mountains on fire, so pursue them with Your tempest, and frighten them with Your storm.Fill their faces with shame... let them be counfounded and dismayed forever, yes, let them be put to shame and perish..." (Ps. 83)

I dunno...  Embarrassed I am yet to like a Psalm... 

Again, reading with discernment.  There are plenty of great psalms, and plenty they shouldn't hear when they're very young (like 'As wax melts before the fire, so shall the wicked perish before the presence of God, and let the just be glad...').
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« Reply #24 on: April 08, 2009, 04:29:51 PM »

^^PSALMS? To Children? What in the world can they make of, say, ""deal with them as with Midian, as with Sisera, as with Jabin at the Brook Kishon, who perished at En Dor, who became as refuse on the earth; make their nobles like Oreb and like Zeeb, yes, all their princes like Zelah and Zalmunna... make them like the whirling dust, like the chaff before the wind! As the fire burns the woods, and as the flame sets the mountains on fire, so pursue them with Your tempest, and frighten them with Your storm.Fill their faces with shame... let them be counfounded and dismayed forever, yes, let them be put to shame and perish..." (Ps. 83)

And to think, there are plenty of people who read similar things out of Tolkien to their kids.
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« Reply #25 on: April 08, 2009, 05:03:13 PM »


I have read to my godchildren from the Bible.  I pick and choose what I read.  I think it's important that from a young age they get to know God, and realize that they are not self-sufficient.  Telling them about the creation of the world, Noah, Moses, etc. gives them a chance to relate their present with the Biblical past.  I certainly don't go in to any grizzly details, nor do I explain "why" God was so angry with Soddom, other than telling them that He was angry because they didn't listen to Him.

All the details will get filled in when they are older and can understand it better.  However, the core, the foundation, should be laid when they are young, otherwise, they will grow up not knowing God, and thinking they don't need Him.

I have a book that I purchased in Ukraine.  It has the most lovely line drawings in it.  The book focuses on the images.  The text (in Russian) along the bottom simply identifies the scene.  I have used this on numerous occasions to explain the "event" in my own words, with the graphic to assist.  A picture is worth a thousand words.

I also make my nephews read the Sunday Gospel for the day, on the drive to church.  They know how to look up which Gospel will be read, find it in the Bible and read.  The Gospel in church is read in Ukrainian, and they don't understand the language well enough to understand the meaning of the Gospel.  By having them read it in the car, we have a chance to "dissect" it before they get to church, so, they are not as "lost".


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« Reply #26 on: April 08, 2009, 05:31:32 PM »

There are plenty of great psalms

Could you name one that is good and understandable to children?
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« Reply #27 on: April 08, 2009, 05:42:16 PM »

There are plenty of great psalms

Could you name one that is good and understandable to children?

Just from gut instinct I would say Psalm 33. 
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« Reply #28 on: April 08, 2009, 05:48:01 PM »

Well, I grew up with the 23 rd psalm.. "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want..." It seemed fairly comprensible to me as a child...
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« Reply #29 on: April 08, 2009, 05:55:39 PM »

There are plenty of great psalms

Could you name one that is good and understandable to children?

Just from gut instinct I would say Psalm 33. 

Hmmm... (sorry, Cleveland, I know it's your trademark Smiley). "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord..." An unprejudiced child would definitely ask, isn't He actually the only one God? How come to some nations God is the Lord and to other... who? The Lard? The Lerd? The Lurd?  Grin
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« Reply #30 on: April 08, 2009, 06:02:45 PM »

Well, I grew up with the 23 rd psalm.. "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want..." It seemed fairly comprensible to me as a child...

Beat me to it.  My elder saw the good shepherd icon and wanted to know about it.

The Lord is my shepherd...we talked about all the stuff a shepherd does.  Gives sheep love and rest, give them water....

My elder daughter even picked out words like "water," "oil," "fear no evil," "death" -- we talked about why a shepherd uses a rod and staff, who "enemies" were, where we see a table ("In Church!  And we get Jesus-in-the-Cup from there!"), goodness, mercy (Lord have mercy, help us, save us, etc)...

Lots of connections, there; just takes a little time...
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« Reply #31 on: April 08, 2009, 06:09:01 PM »

Actually, in my childish state of trust and not knowing all the suffering life had in store for me, it was much easier to believe and understand Psalm 23 than it is for me today...I know this sounds lacking in faith...but I just read it now and this thought hit me...
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« Reply #32 on: April 08, 2009, 06:10:43 PM »

There are plenty of great psalms

Could you name one that is good and understandable to children?

Just from gut instinct I would say Psalm 33. 

Hmmm... (sorry, Cleveland, I know it's your trademark Smiley). "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord..." An unprejudiced child would definitely ask, isn't He actually the only one God? How come to some nations God is the Lord and to other... who? The Lard? The Lerd? The Lurd?  Grin

Isn't that what we WANT to happen?  For our children to ask questions that we can teach them about?  Wouldn't the paradigm you have set up be much more appreciative of "who is the Lord" than "who killed the ammarites" etc.?  Sorry but I think I found a good one... Wink Grin
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« Reply #33 on: April 08, 2009, 06:13:58 PM »


How about....

(King James Version)

Psalm 8
 1 O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.

 2 Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.

 3 When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;

 4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?

 5 For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.

 6 Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:

 7 All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field;

 8 The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.

 9 O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!


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« Reply #34 on: April 19, 2009, 03:38:54 PM »

I read my bible almost daily, at least one chapter from psalms and proverbs, if I don't have a lot of time in the mornings. My grandson who lives with me has always asked me to read it to him, he wants me to read everything to him I read!!!!He's asked since he's been about 3.  When he gets bored with what I'm reading, we stop. I wish that my parents had read me parts of the bible growing up(catholic mom, baptist dad). And its not a children's version, I don't have one. He is now 5, and still asks me if I can read to him something  "God wants him to know about Him", LOL Children should be read the bible.  Don't they hear the readings at church?  Shouldn't we show them that it doesn't stop on the way out of the doors at church?That its not just a "church" thing. 
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« Reply #35 on: April 20, 2009, 12:31:01 PM »

My eldest's favorite book is the bible her godmother gave her. She reads it almost constantly. And loves to take it to Sunday school to follow along with the readings/lesson for the day.

I think that children understand scripture at a level adults can not. And as adults we tend to look too much at minute details and miss the larger picture. Much of scripture needs to be read for what it is. And it is no more violent or confusing than much of what is going on in the world at present. In the end I don't know that we will ever completely understand any portion of scripture just as we can't understand the Eucharist. So waiting until they "understand" will keep them from being capable of understanding as they grow older.
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« Reply #36 on: April 20, 2009, 12:38:48 PM »

My eldest's favorite book is the bible her godmother gave her. She reads it almost constantly. And loves to take it to Sunday school to follow along with the readings/lesson for the day.

I think that children understand scripture at a level adults can not. And as adults we tend to look too much at minute details and miss the larger picture. Much of scripture needs to be read for what it is. And it is no more violent or confusing than much of what is going on in the world at present. In the end I don't know that we will ever completely understand any portion of scripture just as we can't understand the Eucharist. So waiting until they "understand" will keep them from being capable of understanding as they grow older.

Interesting point. Perhaps you are right...
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« Reply #37 on: April 21, 2009, 11:49:17 AM »

There are plenty of great psalms

Could you name one that is good and understandable to children?
I forget its number, and I don't have my Psalter with me at the moment, but there is the one that begins, "As the hart pants for the water, so my soul longs for You, O God." I liked that one especially as a child.
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« Reply #38 on: April 22, 2009, 12:13:18 PM »

There are plenty of great psalms

Could you name one that is good and understandable to children? 
I forget its number, and I don't have my Psalter with me at the moment, but there is the one that begins, "As the hart pants for the water, so my soul longs for You, O God." I liked that one especially as a child.

Ps 42 (as the KJV numbers it; copied from bible.com):

Quote
1As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.

   2My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?

   3My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?

   4When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday.

   5Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.

   6O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar.

   7Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.

   8Yet the LORD will command his lovingkindness in the day time, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.

   9I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?

   10As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God?

   11Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.
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« Reply #39 on: April 23, 2009, 12:09:09 PM »

There are plenty of great psalms

Could you name one that is good and understandable to children? 
I forget its number, and I don't have my Psalter with me at the moment, but there is the one that begins, "As the hart pants for the water, so my soul longs for You, O God." I liked that one especially as a child.

Ps 42 (as the KJV numbers it; copied from bible.com):
Thank you.
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« Reply #40 on: June 04, 2009, 02:22:09 PM »

I think kids should be exposed to the Bible as their maturity allows.  I have a 10 year old with special needs that only knows the most basic bible stories, but when I was his age (protestant at the time) I was reading daily from the Scriptures, the lives of the martyrs, and even a few simple theology books.   I'm greatful that I have that now.
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