I had a great class with my kids at First Baptist on Sunday.  We were talking about the parable of the lost sheep, and my class of 5-9 year olds was really into it. 

After telling the story, I asked them, “Why do you think Jesus told this story?”  Several hands shot up and I called on Raquel, a second-grader. 

“Well, God calls us his sheep, so he wants us to know that we don’t have to be afraid when we’re alone because he’s looking after us.” 

What a great answer!  So I took it a step further and told them about when Jesus asked Peter to take care of his sheep.  “What do you think Jesus wanted Peter to do?”  I asked. 

Hands shot up.  I called on Ellie, a first-grader.  “He wanted Peter to take care of other people.” 

Ding ding ding!  It was like lightbulbs going on for these kids.  God takes care of us, and he wants us to take care of other people! 

I’ve been working with this group of kids for about 2 1/2 years now.  Watching them grow, and understand, and ask questions has been really great.  In their sunday school class (I teach children’s church), they are memorizing the books of the Bible. 

I’ve been thinking that it’s about time for them to start memorizing some verses.  So I think I’m going to start a Bible verse challenge & offer rewards for verses memorized (and for knowing the books of the Bible).  As they get a bit older, if I’m still teaching, I might see about starting a Bible drill team.

My dilemma right now is choosing a translation to have them memorize.  When I was growing up, we memorized the New King James Version.  When my brother came through a few years later, he memorized the New International Version.  So I’ve been considering using NIV, New Living Translation, or Contemporary English Version.

Each seems to have its pros and cons.  NIV is most familiar to me, and probably to a lot of adults.  So it gets points for familiarity.  But it loses points because it tends to have difficult words and can be wordy and harder to understand.  NLT is easy to understand, the words are simpler.  But it is often much wordier, trying to explain things with more words instead of harder words.  CEV is the simplest, with very easy words, and not wordy at all.  It’s downside is that it is sometimes very different from the more familiar NIV.

Here’s some examples:

Acts 2:32
NIV: God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact.
NLT: This prophecy was speaking of Jesus, whom God raised from the dead, and we all are witnesses of this.
CEV: All of us can tell you that God has raised Jesus to life!

Psalm 119:105
NIV: Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
NLT: Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path.
CEV: Your word is a lamp that gives light wherever I walk.

Does anyone have any thoughts?