The ESV Grow! Bible is a full Bible containing the complete ESV translation of both the Old and New Testaments along with helps for young readers from 8-12. This is the regular ESV version presented in two columns – no simplification for younger readers – so your child will need to be a confident, independent reader to be able to read this Bible.
Spread throughout the text are information boxes tackling the big ‘W’s’ – Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How to help your child dig into the facts presented in the Bible and to help your child go deeper by making connections and providing additional information. 4U boxes help your child personally apply certain sections of scriptures to your child’s life. Cross Connections boxes help to draw connections between scriptures and how they point to the gospel of Christ – both prophetically in the Old Testament, and more directly in the new.
Six section introductions are provided along with an introduction for each individual book of the Bible (fairly standard book introduction information but a mini-timeline for each book is included at the bottom of the page – which is super-neat). A helpful glossary is included along with colorful timelines, maps, articles, and charts, to help your child explore the Word of God more deeply. Illustrations are included throughout, but respect the growing sensibilities of tween readers by using photo-realistic art in most cases, for a more ‘grown-up’ feeling.
I LOVE the mini-maps that are included in the ‘W’ boxes as appropriate – like “Where is Nineveh?” included right at the start of the book of Jonah with a helpful illustrated map. The illustrated family trees, timelines, drawings of notable buildings, descriptions and explanations of certain cultural traditions that are foreign to most modern readers, and other inclusions are all excellent and truly helpful additions.
In a few instances, our family doesn’t agree with the ‘4U’ sections because we don’t hold to many institutional church traditions (Christmas, Easter etc.), that wouldn’t be a big concern for us – we always encourage our children to ask us any questions they have or if they are confused.
Perhaps most importantly is the emphasis of the additions on the gospel, continually pointing children towards God’s saving love and the sending of His Son to redeem us – to pay for our sins. A clear gospel presentation is included in the first Cross Connections Article and the Cross Connection callouts throughout the book keep reminding readers of the incredibly goodness, mercy, and forgiveness of God.
The ESV Grow! Bible presents a great balance between a straight-up Bible that includes just the text itself, and a full-blown study Bible where the commentary, notes, etc. can overwhelm the text itself and often overshadow it. Just enough helpful information is included to reveal and clarify the meaning of the scriptures themselves without getting heavily into adding layers of external meaning to the text, which I greatly appreciate. The helps it does include make this edition of the ESV a great support for young, growing Christians.
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