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The Book List

The following is a listing of books that we use to prepare for and teach our 4th Grade Sunday School class.  The listing includes Books for Children and the Classroom and Books for Teachers.  Christianbook.com has been our preferred supplier of books for several years because their prices are competitive, their service is good, and they normally have the books in stock and ready to ship.  If you decide to purchase one of our recommended books or anything else from Christianbook.com, please consider making the purchase by clicking on a link to Christianbook.com below.

The table below lists the books we recommend, a brief summary of why we like the book, and our rating of the book.  Our rating system is as follows:  ***** for Outstanding, ***  for Above Average, and *  for Good.

Books for Children and the Classroom


If you are choosing a Bible for a child and are having trouble deciding whether to choose a NASB, KJV, NRSV, NKJV, NAB, NIV, CEV, GNT, NLT, NIrV, NCV, click here for information that may help you choose a translation.

*****  NIV Adventure Bible Revised Edition.  Zondervan Corp.  2000.  ISBN:  0310911443.

This edition, designed for children ages 8 to 12, includes suggested verses to memorize, information about life in Bible times, and age appropriate ideas and activities that can be used to reinforce Bible teachings.  It also includes maps and a small dictionary.  It has a kid friendly design that children enjoy looking through.

*****  NIV Classic Reference Bible.  Zondervan Corp.  1989.  ISBN:  0310945488.

This Bible is suitable for a child or an adult.  It includes a center column reference system, 14 maps and charts, and a 2,000 word concordance which has 13,000 entries.  It is available in leather or hardback.

*****  NIV Textbook Bible Hardcover.  Zondervan Corp.  1984.  ISBN:  0310903262.

This is a good classroom Bible.  It includes timelines of biblical history, 16 pages of maps, and a 5,000 word concordance which has 35,000 entries.  No center column reference.

Dictionaries and Encyclopedias

Just about every story we read in class includes words the children have not yet learned.  We have several dictionaries and encyclopedias we bring to class.  The children enjoy taking turns finding the new words and reading the definitions to the class.  They also enjoy seeing pictures of things they are learning about.  You might ask your Children's Minister to set up a Children's Reference Library or put a dictionary or encyclopedia in each class.

*****  Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Dictionary.  Thomas Nelson.  1995.  ISBN:  0840720718.

The definitions of words begin with a summary definition that children can understand.  The summary definition is followed by a detail discussion of the word.  The dictionary includes pictures.

*****  Holman Bible Dictionary.  Broadman & Holman.  1991.  ISBN:  1558190538.

This dictionary has the same strengths as the Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Dictionary discussed above.  It is tough to choose between the two.

***  The Student Bible Dictionary.  By Karen Dockrey, Johnnie Godwin, Phyllis Godwin.  Barbour Publishing.  2001.  ISBN:  1577489853.

This is a great starter dictionary which provides good summary definitions for quite a few words.  It also includes many pictures, maps, and tables of interesting information, such as the Titles for Jesus in Scripture.  You will not find definitions for all the words in the Bible, but this is a great value for the money.

***  Zondervan Pictorial Bible Encyclopedia, 5 Volumes.  Edited by Merrill Tenney.  Zondervan Corp.  1976.  ISBN:  0310331889.

This five volume set gives good details for a very large number of words and topics.  It includes over 1,500 photographs and illustrations and almost 300 maps.  The only drawback is that it has not been updated since 1976.

*  Nelson's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Bible Facts.  Edited by J. I. Packer, Merrill Tenney.  Thomas Nelson.  1995.  ISBN:  0840719744.

This is best used as a teacher resource when preparing for class.  The information is arranged topically which makes it a little more difficult to find information for a specific word.  We primarily use it for the pictures when explaining a new word.  The articles included in the book are good but the lack of summaries make it challenging for children to read.

Bible Times

We believe that an understanding of what life was like in Bible Times is important to understanding the meaning of the Bible stories.  For example, it is difficult to fully appreciate the story of  the Good Samaritan without first understanding what Jews thought of Samaritans at that time.  Allowing the children to experience the culture of Bible times also adds realism to the stories.

***  The New Manners & Customs of Bible Times.  By Ralph Gower.  Moody Press.  1987.  ISBN:  082459544.

There are a number of good books about Life in Bible Times.  This is the one we use.  The articles are easy to read and there are many pictures that we find useful in class.

Bible Atlas

We like to use maps and time lines in our class because we believe it helps the children understand that the events described in the Bible really occurred.  The children enjoy finding cities on maps and tracing the journeys of the biblical characters.

*****  Holman Bible Atlas.  by Thomas Brisco.  Broadman & Holman.  1998.  ISBN:  1558197095.

This atlas includes maps which show where all the major events described in the Bible took place.  The book walks chronologically through the Bible, describing the major characters and events in the Bible.

Books for Teachers

*****  The Teaching Ministry of the Church:  Integrating Biblical Truth with Contemporary Application.  Edited by Daryl Eldridge.  Broadman & Holman.  1996.  ISBN:  0805410872.

This book is a must read for anyone in the teaching ministry.  It describes the teaching techniques used by God and Jesus and gives practical suggestions for implementing those techniques.  Learning capabilities of different age groups are discussed along with approaches to teaching the various age groups.  This is the best, most practical book that I have read in a long time.

*****  Love Your God with All Your Mind:  The Role of Reason in the Life of the Soul.  By J. P. Moreland.  NavPress.  1997.  ISBN:  576830160.

A person at some point in their life will probably be forced to defend why they believe what they believe about God and religion.  A person who does not have a good intellectual basis for their beliefs may find themselves doubting what they believe.  Moreland effectively describes how and why Christians should develop their minds.  He also points out the importance of helping children build an intellectual basis for their beliefs since these children may one day find themselves trying to defend their faith against a non-Christian college professor.  The book is interesting and easy to read.

*****  How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth.  By Gordon Fee, Douglas Stuart.  Zondervan Corp.  1993.  ISBN:  0310384915.

This is an easy to read book that explains the different types of literature in the Bible as well as how to read and interpret the various types of literature.  It also includes a good discussion of the differences between the different versions of the English Bible, such as KJV, NIV, NASB, etc.

***  The IVP Bible Background Commentary:  Old Testament.  By John Walton, Victor Matthews, Mark Chavalas.  Inter-Varsity Press.  2000.  ISBN:  0830814191.

***  The IVP Bible Background Commentary:  New Testament.  By Craig Keener.  Inter-Varsity Press.  1993.  ISBN:  0830814051.

These books explain the cultural background of each passage in the Old and New Testaments.  We use the information when explaining the background and setting of the story to the children.

***  Holman Book of Biblical Charts, Maps, and Reconstructions.  By Marsha Smith.  Broadman & Holman.  1994.  ISBN:  1558193596.

The charts summarize helpful information from both the Old and New Testaments.  The book also includes maps and illustrations of various items discussed in the Bible.

For Help in Deciding Why You Believe What You Believe

As described above, Moreland presents a good case for the notion that Christians should have good intellectual reasons for believing what they believe.  The following books can be helpful to a person trying to decide what they believe and why.  They give good summaries of the background and theological message of the Bible as well as the various views relating to the doctrines of the Christian faith.  The books also include information that can be used to better explain the weekly Sunday School lesson.

***  An Introduction to the Old Testament.  By Raymond Dillard, Tremper Longman.  Zondervan Corp.  1994.  ISBN:  0310432502.

A discussion is presented of the historical background, literary analysis, and theological message of each book of the Old Testament.

*  Old Testament Survey:  The Message, Form, and Background of the Old Testament, Second Edition.  By W. S. Lasor, D. A. Hubbard, F. W. Bush.  Eerdmans Publishing Co.  1996.  ISBN:  0802837883.

This book provides an introduction to the background, content, literary quality, and message of the Old Testament as a whole and the books within the Old Testament.  This survey provides more discussion on the stories in the Bible than "An Introduction to the Old Testament" by Dillard and Longman discussed above.

***  The New Testament:  Its Background and Message.  By Thomas Lea.  Broadman & Holman.  1996.  ISBN:  0805410783.

Lea covers the issues of authorship, date of writing, purpose of writing, and background for each book of the New Testament.  The content of the New Testament is thoroughly covered.

*****  Christian Theology, Second Edition.  By Millard Erickson.  Baker Books.  1998.  ISBN:  0801021820.

For the advanced Bible student.  Erickson covers the major issues in Christian theology by discussing the viewpoints of others before giving his own conclusions.

*****  Systematic Theology.  By Wayne Grudem.  Zondervan Corp.  1994.  ISBN:  0310286700.

For the advanced Bible student.  Like Erickson, Grudem covers the major issues in Christian theology and gives his own conclusions.  It is helpful to consider the views of both Grudem and Erickson when trying to make a decision on one's beliefs.

***  Charts of Christian Theology & Doctrine.  By H. Wayne House.  Zondervan Corp.  1992.  ISBN:  0310416612.

For the advanced Bible student.  The charts summarize the different views of the various issues in Christian theology.


  This information is presented to help teachers serving in a Christian Preschool Ministry or a Children's Ministry or a Sunday School class teach children what the Bible says about God and the way He wants us to live.

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