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57 of 58 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon November 26, 2011
Two years ago, my husband and I decided to purchase an NIrV for our 6 year old daughter. It was a little above her reading level, but we knew she'd grow into it. She did the next year. We wished at the time that we could get her a copy of the ESV, but the only one available for children didn't have notes that would be helpful to her at her age. My husband struggled though because he really wanted her to read from the ESV.

Last month, Crossway published a new edition of the ESV for ages 8-12. It is called the Grow! Bible. I saw an ad for it and my curiosity was piqued. For the past month, I've been looking through this Bible and have been very pleased. The first day it arrived, my daughter was so excited. She has wanted to read the same Bible that we do at church. Though she had never expressed this to me, I learned that she wanted to be able to follow along when the Word is read at church on Sunday morning. Our church reads from the ESV and it was difficult for her to follow in the NIrV.

So here's what I love about the Grow! Bible:
Formatting: The font, though 9.5, is big enough for my daughter who in 3rd grade is a strong reader. The columns are spaced well. The notes highlighted in a way that makes them easier to read. Each book in the Bible begins with a helpful timeline and introduction which my daughter found interesting and easy to understand.
Features: There are interesting notes throughout the Bible. There are Cross Connections that address how different passages remind us of the cross and salvation. There are notes about what God's Word means for you (the reader). My favorites are the Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How notes. I was surprised at the interesting information children will learn when they read them. Some examples are a note explaining "woe", another explains "the stump of Jesse", and another explains what "the end of the heavens" means. Many of them I had no idea about! There is also a glossary and maps located at the back of the Bible. All of them would be perfect for an 8-12 year old and very easy for them to use.

Theological content of the notes: Concordia Publishing collaborated with Crossway on this Bible. The notes were written by Concordia, which is a Lutheran publishing house. I wondered how this would affect the notes--particularly the "Cross Connections". I read several of the notes very carefully--particularly the note on how we are saved. It was very well written. There was one note about baptism and salvation, which many denominations see differently. I read it to my husband and although it doesn't align exactly with what we believe since the PCA practices infant baptism (but doesn't believe it's a saving baptism), he did feel that what was written didn't contradict what we believe and that it was written well. He did note, though, that the note was written from a general reformed perspective. I felt as I read the note that whether someone was a free will baptist or believed in predestination that the theological ideas in the note would be okay. The wording on this specific cross connection was such that it did say we are saved by grace through a decision we make. It didn't go into detail of how those work together--but simply that they do. I think this is wise of the publisher and authors of the note, because it allows parents to more fully explain what their child may read in the study note.

So, what Bible might I compare this to for other translations? Probably the NIV Adventure Bible. The NLT Hands-On Bible is also aimed at the same age group. My husband and I much prefer the Grow! Bible for a couple of reasons. 1) We're glad that it's the ESV translation so our children can follow what is being read in church (and they're glad too). 2) The notes are primarily purposed for instruction, not entertainment. They are meant to be interesting and helpful, but not solely for the purpose of entertainment. 3) The study notes are much more in line with what we believe than the other two. I reviewed the Hands-On Bible a long time ago. I liked it and saw it as a great fit for many families--but not for ours, primarily because we don't read the NLT.

If you're looking for a new Bible for your child, I'd definitely recommend taking a look at this one! It might be what you're looking for if you want an ESV Children's Bible!

Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this Bible from Crossway Publishing.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 15, 2012
My son appreciates the "readability" of the Bible, and I like the way that each chapter or sometimes section has a little "Title" set apart with a different color background~ just makes it that much easier to find what you're looking for (I particularly noticed this in the Psalms).

There are some other features that are pretty neat, in addition to the more typical "Articles" and charts that are also included:

775 Who, What, When, Where, Why questions ~ for instance Joshua 4:1-24 talks about "WHAT were memorial stones?"
90 "4U" boxes that give examples of Scripture application (Like Nehemiah rebuilding the city of Jerusalem, and church projects rebuilding homes for those who were displaced by fire, etc... something 4U to do or think about)
The beginning of each book has an introduction and a timeline that shows what was happening during the time the book was written (There are more complete timelines in the back of the Bible)
45 "Cross Connections" throughout the Bible illustrate how the entire Bible points to Jesus, which is such an important concept, that many don't understand. That history, and Bible history in particular are really HIS story.

Middlest has enjoyed using this Bible to answer his AWANA work, and for reading at night before he goes to sleep. He told me to say that he likes it very much. :) This is his first experience with an ESV Bible. He has memorized in both KJV and NKJV (AWANA), and we have NIV and NASV Bibles for use around the house, so this is a good one to add to the mix! :)

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this Bible for free from Crossway. 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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 6, 2012
As a father of two boys (7 and 11) I'm always on the lookout for new ways to teach them spiritual truth. So the probably have more Bibles in most boys their age. A particularly successful purchase was the "Action Bible" which for some reason I have never written a review of. Perhaps it was purchased before my blog existed, I don't recall. But I digress. I recently received a copy of the "Grow Bible" by Crossway. They did send it to me free of charge for the purposes of this review. With that said, it didn't change my opinion on it.

First of all, this Bible, as you might be able to guess, is in the ESV translation. That's not surprising as it is Crossway's "in house" translation. I'll be honest, that's a great thing for me. I really like the translation. Do I think it's perfect? No, but it is one of the best ones out there. I am part of a church family that practically believes the KJV is the translation Paul used. However there is a growing acceptance of this translation in our ranks. It is certainly easier to understand for the age group this Bible is aimed at (8-13 year olds).

One thing I really like about this Bible is it makes it visually clear what are study notes and what is scripture. When kids are reading this Bible you don't want them being unsure what is and what is not inspired and I think this delineates that well. It also (like the Seek and Find Bible) makes use of some of the ESV Study Bible materials. For a study Bible the ESV study Bible is hard to beat and adding some of those resources here make for a great addition.

The only thing that gave me pause was that my 11 year old son (who is clearly in the target zone for this Bible) was less than enthusiastic about it. He seemed to find the layout and design of the Seek and Find Bible (also by Crossway) more appealing even though it was targeted at a younger audience. That may not be normative as my older son is a bit of a reluctant reader. But it does make me wonder if it misses the mark when it comes to their target. By and large the text of the two Bibles are very similar (the scriptures themselves being exactly the same) so I don't know if I can blame it on his fondness for reading. I wonder if perhaps the book looks to adults as though it's great for his age group but for some reason doesn't really fit.

All and all I think this is a great Bible filled with great tools to help your child deepen their walk with God.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on March 15, 2012
This is a children's Bible, designed to bridge the gap between Bible storybooks and advanced/adult level Bibles. I think the "features" Who, What Where, When, Why and How, or the Timelines and Maps, for example, are appropriate for this age group to help the student make connections or understand difficult concepts. I appreciate that the Bible is not filled with cartoonish pictures. The suggested age range is 8-12, which is above my children's ages, so I although I think it would be appropriate, I cannot accurately comment on that.

**I was sent a complimentary copy of this book by the Crossway Book Review program in exchange for my honest review.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on November 22, 2011
Yeah... I'm getting tired of the Bibles for singles, divorced, marrieds, children, youth, elderly, and dead. The Bible is relevant to ALL, regardless of age. That being said, I do appreciate this edition of the ESV. Every other page has a blurb answering a who, what, where, when, or why question that my children might have. The introduction to each book is suited to their age and very informative. I am learning things, too! It's a good Bible for 8 to 12 year olds. Get your hands on a copy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 1, 2013
I recently "graduated" my 8-year-old son from the ESV Seek & Find Bible to the Grow Bible. Of course, it contains the same accurate ESV translation as the other one. The study questions are good, as well. My son was somewhat disappointed that the illustrated stories were missing, but he is also quite excited to be reading chapters worth of Scripture.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 14, 2012
I'm a big fan of quality children's bibles. Not gimmicky or dumbed down, but solid, accurate, age appropriate versions. For younger kids, my favorite hands-down is The Jesus Storybook Bible, followed closely by The Big Picture Story Bible. Once they're ready to graduate from the story bible format, I really appreciate the ESV Seek and Find Bible, a full-fledged ESV version with age-appropriate notes and study helps for elementary-age children.

Now, Crossway has followed the Seek and Find with the ESV Grow! Bible. The Grow! Bible is designed for children ages 8-12, those who are just a little older (or slightly more advanced readers) than those using the Seek and Find. The articles and additional content look to me like a great fit for preteens.

This content consists of things like:

"Who, What, Where, When, Why and How" boxes to learn about real people, places, and life in Bible times.
"4U" boxes to help the reader understand what certain passages mean "FOR YOU" personally.
"Cross Connections" to connect passages throughout the bible back to the cross
Articles and Charts
Section and Book Introductions
Glossary
Timelines and Maps

On top of all that, the illustrations are gorgeous and realistic. The articles and section and book introductions are very well-written and age-appropriate.

My favorite feature is the "Cross Connections". An article at the beginning explains the story of redemption (Creation, Fall, Redemption, Restoration) in simple terms by answering the questions, "What's this whole book about? What connects it all together? How's it connected to me?"; then explains that certain passages have been marked to remind readers that everything ties back to the cross:

"When you read about God saving his people from enemies, it's because of the cross. When you see God giving the Israelites food or water or a new home, it's because of the cross. When God give you good gifts like these, it's because of Jesus' cross." (p. xiii)

To give you a feel for this, there are "Cross Connections" boxes explaining key passages like Genesis 3:15; Exodus 12: 1-13; Psalm 22: 1-5; Isaiah 40: 1-2; John 10: 11-18; and Revelation 7: 9-17, among others. You know that I believe the "big picture" of how every story and event in the bible relates to the plan of redemption is absolutely essential to teach our kids right from the get-go, so I really appreciate this tool!

Just as with the Seek and Find, I wish the hardcover wasn't so big and bulky. But, it seems to be unavoidable with a full-text, full-featured bible to avoid making the paper too thin and fragile and the text too small. Again, there's a Tru-Tone version available that may be slightly less cumbersome, although I've had at least one person tell me there's not a huge amount of difference. One mom said that her kids use these as their "at-home" bibles and carry a smaller, more compact one to church since they don't really need all the extra study notes then. That seems like a good plan to me.

I'm excited about the ESV Grow! Bible. The ESV is a good, solid, readable translation. The tools and study aids are really well done and emphasize the idea of one big storyline from Genesis to Revelation at a level perfect for kids to grasp. It seems like a great fit for preteens who have outgrown story and children's bibles but aren't quite ready for a full-fledged study bible.

Thanks so much to Crossway for providing a copy for my review!

(All opinions are solely mine)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 6, 2012
I LOVE to review Bibles! I love to see what is out there - I like to know what is being shared correctly, and what is not being shared correctly (ESPECIALLY when it comes to kids items). I'm super excited to say that this Bible is really neat and all but one thing has been a blessing! (There is one area where it says something about "being free to follow the Law" which dh and I weren't too happy about but other than that, I love this! This comment was made in a "Note section" titled "What is the Gospel" on page 201.)

Overall I feel this is a very good learning tool for kids! There are a lot of little notes (some are called "4U" others are "Why" and "What" and "Who"), "Cross Connections", quick easy-to-read book intros, maps, glossary, "God's Word For Me When..." section, articles and charts. Neat references and helps! Also - full color!

I really liked some of the different "notes" pages. For instance, the "About the Old Testament Books" note page where it tells about the Books of the Old Testament like: Books of Moses (there are a couple sentences about them and then it actually tells you which Books they are) along with Books of History, Books of Wisdom & Poetry and Books of the Prophets...there is just good, helpful information like this throughout the book.

The English Standard Version (ESV) seems to me to basically be the KJV without all the "unnecessary words" and the hard "to get" thee's and thou's. *grin* It is very easy to read and understand, I actually like it a lot (and I normally read NKJV).

Would I recommend this book? Yes, I would simply keeping in mind the one comment we found...and making sure there are no others...and then explaining that to your kids. Overall, I do believe this is an excellent tool for younger kids!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 13, 2012
We purchased this Bible for our 4 kids. and they love it. My 8 year old reads it to his younger siblings. They love the questions and answers on the pages. This is just what we were looking for both my husband and I own the ESV study bible and the kids would try and read through it but really needed something more on there level. We also own the Jesus story book bible and they read through it over and over. the GROW! BIBLE was the perfect next step. I highly recommend this bible even my 2 year old loves to listen to this kid friendly version. I plan to buy more and give them as gifts. A definite must have in every house with kids!
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