Bible Man

Posted: March 5, 2009 in christian growth

I have worked with teenagers and young adults for about a million years and here’s a truth you cannot shake lose from my little soul:  those who are taught to love and value the Word of God are about a hundred miles ahead of everyone else in terms of real life success.  It’s remarkable the difference that it makes.

Because of this firsthand information, Steve & I have taken every opportunity to teach our kids to love the Word.   Maybe because we’re older or maybe because he’s a boy and we know how hard it is to be a boy-of-valor in a fallen world, we’ve been especially strategic with Josiah in this area.

Here is the very first bible Josiah had: bible-for-mothers-and-sons1

My love for this book knows no bounds.  It’s simply brilliant and there are lots of versions (for Dads and Daughters, etc.) I read this whole book to Josiah before he was six months old, while I nursed him.  My philosophy is:  if the Word of God really is living and active then why would I wait even a day to start pumping it into my kids’ spirits? Also, this is my gift-of-choice for every baby shower I attend!

Next, came this amazing bible:


I first bought this for Whitney at Easter when she was two years old and I was uncertain as to how to communicate the story of the crucifixion without scaring the soup out of her.  All my kids have had it, all have loved it. Some day I’ll tell you how a story in this book set 5-year-old, Tess, free from fear of talking to people.  Seriously, the Word of God is POWER for living!

Next for Joe:


If you read my blog often, then you know my love for Eugene Peterson’s work runs deep and I wanted Josiah to experience it as well. I picked this one up when Joe was about 7 and just starting to read chapter books.  I gave it to him with a beautiful (and manly) blue highlighter and told him to go crazy and mark that thing up!  It may sound silly to have a kid highlighting his bible, but I really believe that it’s one of the things that got him hooked on daily devotions.  He loved breaking the “no writing in books” rule and finding something to highlight kept him engaged in what he was reading.  When I look at the things he chose to highlight, I laugh and laugh – but I tell you the truth: I will treasure this bible til the day that I die. Josiah read this bible cover-to-cover and got a prize at the end. This may cause some livers to quiver in disgust but I totally believe in rewarding my children for spiritual discipline.

So, when the time came for him to get a real bible,  I took him shopping and told him he could have any one he wanted but he needed to pick carefully.  We sat him in a cushy chair and started piling them up beside him.  First question:  hard cover or soft?  He held them and thought.  Opened them and closed them.  Repeat.  Hard cover.  That narrowed things down and then he started reading.  He checked out book introductions and special features and then he read the same passage in a couple of them since they were different translations.  Could I just share that he chose the passage about King Josiah and oh my goodness how cute is that?  Anyway, he ended up choosing (without any hesitation), this:


It’s a great one! (and, yep, that’s his class picture back there.)

Next, we shopped for journals and here’s a little note to journal makers everywhere: sometimes boys want them and so maybe we could back off a little on the hearts and flowers and rainbow brite and make something in a basic BLACK.  Because in Josiah’s world?  Black and blue are pretty much the only acceptable man colors out there.  Anyway, here’s where we landed:picture-0731

It’s a great journal with cool features like scripture memory cards.

With every Bible purchase, you gotta have new accessories, so:


Monsters, Inc. highlighters – because he’s a 9-year-old boy, that’s why.  Seriously, the more they like the stuff, the more they’ll use it.


Wonderful, beautiful, sticky flag markers which I am now showing him how to use.  What kid doesn’t love sticking stuff on other stuff?  What adult doesn’t love it? We have these guys in 5 different colors and they are a joy to my heart.   I’m a simple girl.


No kidding – these are my favorite mechanical pencils.  They have ridges on the side so they don’t roll and really great erasers.  They’re cheap and perfect for bible notations (I always mark the date that I’m reading at the top of the chapter because I love being able to see that in my bible and easily go back to that date in my journal.  I also make all kinds of outlandish notes like the greek root number or “PAY ATTENTION TO THIS, BO!  YOU DON’T WANNA SCREW UP!”  That kind of thing is what the pencil is for.)

So, Josiah’s all set for PB & J (Prayer, Bible & Journal) and he is seriously SO excited.  I didn’t get him a devotional because I really want my kids to learn that they can extract stuff from the Word themselves.  Around their freshman year, I get all my kids My Utmost by Oswald Chambers (who I credit with having helped raised my oldest daughter) and that’s pretty much where they start with devotionals.

That’s our bible-buying story.  Here’s to kids who will grow to love and treasure the Word of God with their whole hearts.


P.S. Thanks to Tess for lending me her photographic skilz without charge.

  1. I love it that you gave Josiah a prize after he read his Bible through. No quivering liver here. Brent read his grown-up Bible cover-to-cover when he was eight (without our prior knowledge, even) and we gave him an engraved trophy. He still has it in one of his treasure boxes…
    The Bible says to train up a child in the way he should go – Brent’s heart was bent toward the Word from the time he could read. Now he teaches that Word to precious pastors in Uganda who have never had the opportunity to fall in love with the Bible. It goes around. Pretty cool.

  2. Jen Hoffmann says:

    Once again Bo…your timing on this post is eerie!…as if you’re listening to my head conversations. Thanks for posting this, thanks for confirming my instincts.

    Here’s a question for you. I like how confidently you say: “those who are taught to love and value the Word of God are about a hundred miles ahead of everyone else in terms of real life success.”
    I, strangely, find myself in circles where this idea would be put up for serious debate. Would you mind siting some specific examples of the type of “real life success” that you are referring to?

  3. bolovesjoe says:

    Chris – wow, thinking of little Brent reading his grown up Bible and looking at his life now makes me all the more determined to pour it into Josiah’s life. Thanks for reminding me of that.

    Jen – oh, goodness, almost too many success stories to list beginning with, but not limited to , my own family. Steve & my parents, all our siblings, all our adult nieces and nephews …all have followed the plan and purpose of God for their lives, have stayed away from dangerous distractions, all are married to amazing God-followers, and are living – not perfect – but successful, happy and purpose-filled lives (as of this date, that’s 17 young adults plus spouses and rapidly increasing numbers of children.) Outside of our family (since admittedly some of that is generational stuff), I am hard pressed to find someone who really, truly loves, values and makes a daily place for the Word in their lives that isn’t doing something pretty great with the days they’ve been given. Of course there are some exceptions, but I’m telling you – I’ve watched this and it’s remarkable the way the Word builds a foundation, shines a light, strengthens our conscience, establishes our moral code, sets boundaries for wise living, etc. There are certainly those who walk away from what they know to be true, but those who hold fast and learn to love His Law find peace and nothing causes them to stumble – Psa 119:165 (I think…119 is so long I get all those verses mixed up sometimes! 🙂

    (OH! Another great real-life example is written in the comments right above yours – Brent Earwicker, also the Dunagan kids – certainly there is a pattern there of families who teach their kids early that the Bible is a holy, magical, remarkable, adventure-packed miracle book. But I have many examples of young adults who started late in life as well, but I don’t have permission to share their stories just yet.)

  4. Don’t forget about the “Jesus Storybook Bible.” It’s a little tough to read out loud, but I love the lyrical quality and the way she links EVERYTHING back to Jesus…

    following Adam and Eve’s fall from grace: “in another story, it would all be over and that would have been… THE END. But not this story. God loved his children too much to let the story end there. . . God had a plan- a magnificent dream. One day, he would get his children back. . . one day, he would wipe every tear from their eyes.”

    You can see it on my blog, here:

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