Book Review: NIrV Kids’ Devotional Bible (revised)

NIrV Kids' Devotional BibleThis 2016 revised edition of Zondervan’s NIrV: Kids’ Devotional Bible has a copyright date of 2014 for both translation and devotional bible on the information page, noting the next earliest copyright as 1998. The NIrV is not an easy-to-read translation based on manuscripts in the original languages, but a simplification of the NIV (it’s comparable to CEB, GNB, and the like—think of something between the NIV and Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase The Message) by a few of its committee members; thus, changes made from 1998 to 2014 are those in concurrence with changes made in the NIV. Since this is all that is noted about this revised edition, I assume, but have not confirmed, that the short devotionals herein by Joanne E. DeJonge, Connie W. Neal, Lori VandenBosch, and Tracy Harrast are unchanged from a previous edition.

There are over 300 short devotionals of a paragraph or two in length with a couple application questions and/or challenges to work with. They may be worked through as one is reading the Bible (they fall on the pages of the passages referenced), or as daily devotionals following the day of the week marked on each, noting the page reference in the Bible for the next one. After reading them all, I think much of it may be useful for children and engaging them with Scripture and life application. There are only a few notes I made on my disagreements:

p. 1018. This devotional notes that God will not punish anyone for someone else’s sins. This may be true in an eschatological sense, but certainly not true in our everyday living, as can be seen in the punishment of many for the sins of the one or few throughout Scripture. Temporary punishment is not eternal punishment, but this particular devotional equates the two in its reasoning.

p. 1518. Children are here told that Hebrews 1:14 says they each have a personal guardian angel that keeps them safe and talks to God for them, which is more mythological than Scriptural.

p. 1555. This devotional states one must only believe in Jesus to be right with God, which is something promoted by many “Evangelicals” but not so by the whole of Scripture.

p. 1563. Here children are told they are called children, not slaves or students because those are bad. The problem here is that we are indeed called slaves, servants, friends, and children, among other things. Context is important.

p. 1566. This one furthers the popular “Evangelical” claim of saying a simple prayer for the forgiveness of sins as security of eternal salvation.

 

I would also push back on two entries in the appended dictionary:

p. 1598. The definition of “baptize” here includes “To sprinkle, pour on, or cover a person with water,” which is more of a diplomatic definition among denominations than an accurate representation of the Greek.

p. 1606. The definition of “Son of Man” states, “A name Jesus gave to himself. It shows he is the Messiah.” The problem here is that it’s not a name Jesus simply gave to himself. See Daniel 7:13–14.

 

All things considered, I leave it up to parents and guardians as to determine what translation their children should use and encourage them to know what their children are reading and studying, but do think the majority of devotionals found in this collection alongside the NIrV may prove beneficial, taking into account the disagreements of some significance stated above.

 

 

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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