Bible Review: ICB Jesus Calling Bible for Children

Sarah Young’s devotionals for children are scattered throughout this ICB (International Children’s Bible) version.

ICB Jesus Calling Bible for Children: with Devotions by Sarah Young. Tommy Nelson, 2017, 1472 pages.

Recommended for: ages 6-10

The subtitle says it all: if you like Sarah Young’s direct-from-Jesus devotional style, you’ll like this Bible; otherwise not. In her introduction she writes, “The devotionals are written as if Jesus is speaking right to you . . . I wrote the devotionals this way to help you know that Jesus is with you all the time and wants to be your best friend.” Some of the major themes of the Bible are stated as, “How amazing is God love for us,” “Jesus, our best friend,” “How to live a great life,” “Knowing right from wrong,” and “Asking God to forgive us for wrong choices.” Each one-page devotional includes a meditation, a short prayer, and an application. About 22 four-page color inserts are scattered throughout the text at regular intervals; these feature well-known Bible stories, with pictures (many pictures of Jesus), a key verse, and a “Jesus Calling moment.” There are no book introductions to provide context. The appendix includes a dictionary, key verses to learn, a story index, promise verses, and four maps.

Much has been written about the problems with Sarah Young’s approach, in particular the presumption of speaking for God and dwelling on his immanence at the cost of his transcendence.  Besides that, I find her devotionals repetitive, unchallenging, and very much reader-centered. Her devotional book for children is reviewed here.

Value: 2.5 (out of 5)

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Janie is the VERY senior staff writer for Redeemed Reader, as well as a long-time contributor to WORLD Magazine and an author of nine books for children. The rest of the time she's long-distance smooching on her four grandchildren (not an easy task). She lives with her equally senior husband of almost-fifty years in the Ozarks of Missouri.

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