The ESV Grow! Bible has been specifically developed for children ages 8-12. It contains a number of features common to children's Bibles including: "Introductions to each Bible book, charts, and maps [which] help young readers understand the themes, characters, and context of Scripture" (Crossway). Additionally, the ESV Grow! Bible includes helpful timelines at the beginning of each book of the Bible.
However, the ESV Grow! Bible also contains features that are relatively unique to many children's Bibles such as:
- 45 "Cross Connections" explaining how certain Bible passages point to Christ
- 90 "4U" sections explaining and applying texts to the child's life
- Articles about Jesus and the teachings of the Christian faith which help children understand important theological concepts
I appreciate how the ESV Grow! Bible includes boxes featuring a "W Question" on nearly every other page. I think this helps prepare young people for Bible study by teaching them to ask who, what, where, when, or why of a text. Including these questions throughout the text also encourages children to pause and think about difficult/new concepts over which they may be tempted to read quickly or skim.
Perhaps my favorite "feature" of the ESV Grow! Bible is the way in which it accurately portrays the Bible as one unified story about Christ and all that God has done through Him to bring salvation to those who would believe. This Bible is uniquely centered on Christ and the Gospel in a way that many children's Bibles are not.
When asked why she uses her ESV Grow! Bible more than her other Bibles, my nine-year-old daughter said, "It helps me understand what I am reading better." While we are not to add or take away from God's Word, there are an increasing number of tools available to us which enable us to understand the Holy Scriptures more clearly while being faithful to the text. I am happy to commend the ESV Grow! Bible to those whose children (grandchildren, etc.) are not yet ready for an ESV Student Study Bible.
*Many thanks to Crossway for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion!