Skip to content

Blog / NIrV Kids’ Devotional Bible: An Interview with Sara Bierling

NIrV Kids’ Devotional Bible: An Interview with Sara Bierling

Sara BierlingThe NIrV Kids’ Devotional Bible is complete with a year’s worth of devotions to help children develop a reading habit they’ll want to keep. Engaging weekday devotions, fun weekend activities, interesting illustrations, and a dictionary make this a Bible they’ll want to read and apply to their lives. It includes the complete New International Reader’s Version (NIrV)—the stepping stone to the NIV—making it easier for young readers to read and understand. Recommended for ages 6 to 10 years.

Bible Gateway interviewed Sara Bierling, general editor of the NIrV Kids’ Devotional Bible (Zonderkidz, 2016) (@Zonderkidz).

Buy your copy of the NIrV Kids Devotional Bible in the Bible Gateway Store               Buy your copy of the NIrV Kids Devotional Bible, Green Bicycle in the Bible Gateway Store               Buy your copy of the Kids Devotional Bible, Lavender Butterfly in the Bible Gateway Store

Explain what the New International Reader’s Version Bible translation is and why it’s used as the text of this Bible.

Sara Bierling: The New International Reader’s Version (or NIrV) is a simplified version of the New International Version (NIV) written at a third grade reading level, making it the ideal choice for children and adults looking for an easy-to-read translation. As with the NIV, the NIrV is a dynamic translation that is continually reviewed and improved by the Committee for Bible Translation (CBT).

We chose the NIrV for this Bible because we wanted to provide a devotional Bible for children ages 6-10 that was written with their reading needs in mind. Difficulty reading should never be a barrier between you and the Word of God.

Page sample of the NIrV Kids Devotional Bible

How do the elements of this Bible meet the needs of the specific age group it’s designed for?

Sara Bierling: The NIrV Kids’ Devotional Bible was created especially for children in the 6-10 age group. First, we’ve used a 9-point font size, which might not sound big, but is a great improvement over most Bibles, which are printed in an 8 point font or smaller. This font size makes a huge difference for developing readers who don’t need to be doubly challenged by both big words and tiny text.

Next, we’ve accompanied our content with very engaging doodle-style art—bicycles, kites, swings, and rainbows all serve to make the visual experience of this Bible uplifting and fun.

Bible book introductions are short and to the point. Daily devotions are clearly designated by day of the week and lead the child to the next day with handy page references, making sure that kids are never in doubt about where they’ve been and where they’re headed next in the Bible. Children read a short Bible passage and then are asked to question how that passage relates to their lives.

How does a devotional Bible differ from a study Bible?

Sara Bierling: A devotional Bible is not a line-by-line study of the Bible as a study Bible is. It doesn’t try to unpack the meaning of all the verses, but highlights core stories, promises, and principles, and distills them into easy-to-digest daily learning opportunities. A devotional Bible is often more focused on life application of Bible learning while a study Bible often focuses on the historical and theological context of particular verses.

Since this Bible is for kids, how does it present some of the more violent and dark stories of the Bible?

Sara Bierling: We don’t sugar-coat the dark parts of the Bible, but we don’t focus on them either. For example, children are asked to read the passage of Genesis that explains how bad the sins of the people of earth had become during the time of Noah. The devotional states very clearly that Noah lived in violent times, and also asks children to compare those times to the times we live in now. What violence have you seen in your world? But this passage also provides a great example of a faithful and a good person—Noah. So we ask, How should you be like Noah?

There are, however, topics that we as editors feel are best left up to parents and pastors to explain, since we know that Christians come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. Ultimately, we let the Bible text speak for itself and hope that parents will be actively engaged with children as they read these devotions and the Bible itself.

Why should parents buy this Bible?

Sara Bierling: From top to bottom, the NIrV Kids’ Devotional Bible was designed just for your 6-10-year-old child.

As Bible editors, we want children to be actively using their Bible on a regular basis so that they’re forming a lifelong habit of connecting with the Word of God. A devotional Bible is a great way for children not yet ready for serious Bible study to connect with the Bible through easy-to-handle daily readings. With 52 weeks of devotions, this Bible will be your child’s companion for a whole year!

Bio: Sara Bierling is an Acquisitions Editor working primarily on Bibles for all ages as well as YA titles for Zondervan Teen and Blink YA. Prior to working for Zonderkidz, Sara was an editor in the Zondervan Bibles department, a freelance editor and writer, and an editor for School Specialty Publishing (formerly McGraw-Hill Children’s Publishing), where she developed elementary grades educational products. She holds a BA in English and Writing from Hope College.

Filed under Bible, Bibles, Editions, Family, Interviews