I wanted to follow up Bible recommendations for grownups (find that article here) with Bible recommendations for children. There are so many fabulous resources for children that I cannot mention them all here--not a chance. But I am going to pull out just a few from the pack.
Remember, too, that bible study is a life-long journey. Introduce them gently. For toddlers and young children, focus on the stories and themes that show God's love for us. Let them get grounded in Jesus and who Jesus was. Start with the Greatest Commandment before all else: Let them know that God loves us fully, that we are asked to love (and follow) God with our whole hearts, and that we should love our neighbor.
Toddlers through second grade:
For young children, from toddlers to second (or even third) grade, I suggest the Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones.
The pictures are engaging and what it does best is communicate God's love, God's abiding action in our world, and the role of Jesus Christ as Savior of the people. Though there are some problems, what it does best it does so well that it makes this bible a standout.
First through fourth grade:
While the younger ones might still enjoy the Jesus Storybook Bible, at this point I suggest you get a copy of Classic Bible Stories by Lise Caldwell. This book is terrific for sticking as close to the stories of the bible as possible, while synthesizing the story for bedtime storytelling and providing age-appropriate details.
This book also tackles some of the harder bible stories, but it does so without sugar-coating or romanticizing. Because this book offers a simple, biblical version of the stories, this means that it does not offer much help in interpretation. As with all books, be prepared to give guidance when your child has questions. Or to simply answer "I don't know."
Third or Fourth Grade:
By third or fourth grade (depending on their maturity level) children are ready for a real bible. But some translations are intimidating to adults, let alone children! They need one that is both faithful and readable, and I suggest the Common English Bible.
Remember, however, they are still too young to fill in the context that will help them understand the stories. This is true for all of us, and especially of children. Explore with them. Encourage them to learn the history that surrounds the actions of Jesus with books of discovery. Examples might be books such the Eyewitness Book on ancient Mesopotamia:
Or perhaps especially this one, What the Bible is All About for Young Explorers by Frances Blankenbaker.
For older children and youth, I also like Daily Life at the Time of Jesus by Miriam Feinberg Vamosh.
In general, study aids should show real history, and emphasize the love of God and the community of God's people.
Jr. and Sr. High School:
For youth, I would suggest the Common English Bible, and also The Message. Most importantly with youth you need to introduce them to the reality that all our English bibles are translations. Be honest about this. And invite them to explore the different biblical translations through biblegateway.com. Empower them to begin a lifetime of biblical discovery with your own testimony of faith. Let them know God can withstand their anger, questions, and confusion as they engage their lives. Let them know God will be there when they call.