February 29, 2016

Faith Builders Bible from Zonderkidz {Product Review}

We were recently given the opportunity to review Faith Builders Bible from Zonderkidz, a brick-building toy themed Bible for ages 5+. Considering my family is a LEGO family and that we regularly read from our Bibles, I was curious to see if this would be a version of a children's Bible the boys would enjoy. 
Faith Builders Bible by Zonderkidz: Product Review

Product Summary

Zonderkidz is the children's division of Zondervan publishing company. Zonderkidz is dedicated to offering everything from novels to devotionals to Bibles designed to keep your child immersed and interested in God's word. One of their newest products is the Faith Builders Bible.

Faith Builders Bible was designed with the brick-building toy lover in mind! There are 24 full-color illustration pages all with a brick building theme--to make the Word of God more...hands-on! The Bible encourages the young readers to replicate the scripture themed brick building creations for themselves. This edition of the bible is the complete New International Readers Version (NIrV) designed for early readers, and ESL readers.

Faith Builders Bible is hardcover, measures 8 1/2" x 5 1/2", and retails for $24.99. 

We were given the Faith Builders Bible to review with Little Britches, age 10.

How Did We Use This Product?

Because we use bibles daily in our homeschool for our biblical studies, this product was put to use straight away! I had my oldest use it for all his scripture reading for a week, and he happily did so. 
The other aspect of the bible that we checked out were all the brick-building illustrations. Little Britches looked through them all and then pulled out his big tub of LEGOS to give a few of them a try. 
A multi-colored giraffe!
Little Britches was intrigued by all the bible scene creations and has decided he's going to attempt a few more. 

Our Thoughts on the Book

I think the cover of the book is very eye catching and the LEGO themed cover drew my boys in right away. They practically snatched it once I opened the package, eager to check it out. "A LEGO BIBLE!" they both happily cheered. I told them I wanted to look at it first, but would let them look at it very soon. 
The boys reached for it right away to touch it!
Our family's preferred bible translation is NKJV and this one was a NIrV (New International Reader's Version). We try to avoid the NIV for personal reasons, so I wasn't very hot on this being a NIV. Neither my husband nor I are big fans of the readers versions, as they seem to drastically "simplify" God's word, and that's not something that we are comfortable with--especially if it's going to be for our kids to use. Maybe that seems odd, but we were both taught right from the King James or New King James version of the Bible without needing it simplified for us. It wasn't difficult and I used a dictionary when I had a word I stumbled on. We both agree that we learned more having to look up words on our own than having someone else tell us a synonym. I also have found that the readers versions sometimes pick words that the original Hebrew or Greek doesn't match in regards to meaning. I use a concordance a lot, so I've found this to be true time and time again. (even in the NKJV it happens). 

That being said, I decided to go through it and use this Bible in conjunction with one of my own so that I could keep an eye on the translation text.

How is it different? 
Here are a few examples...

Example 1:
Genesis 1:2 "The earth didn't have any shape. And it was empty. There was darkness over the surface of the waves. At that time, the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters." (Faith Builders Bible-NIrV)

Genesis 1:2 "The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters." (NKJV)

Example 2:
Matthew 1:18 "This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about. His mother Mary and Joseph had promised to get married. But before they started to live together, it became clear that she was going to have a baby. She became pregnant by the power of the Holy Spirit." (Faith Builders Bible--NIrV)

Matthew 1:18 "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit." (NKJV)

These are both good examples to show how the version is designed for those who have a "hard time understanding" other versions of the Bible. In general, they take out a larger word and replace it with shorter words or series of shorter words to explain what the big words meant. 

Completely unnecessary in my opinion, and not something that I really think is a good idea. HOWEVER, it IS very helpful when reading the Psalms and Proverbs. Those are the best books of the bible for easy reading versions. 

The boys did like the LEGO photos in the Bible and had fun replicating a couple animals from the picture of Noah's ark. Little Britches is trying to figure out how to do the one of the fruit of the spirit, but has said he doesn't have enough of the same colored pieces. 
As an aside: Some of the illustrations had things that our family doesn't agree with according to our belief system: images of the cross, Noah with only a pair of each kind of animals (some kinds had 7 pair!), not quite right nativity scene, and then a much too simplified explanation on becoming saved. But these are things that most Christians don't and wouldn't have any issues with. But I know that some people might want to know about it, so I am mentioning it here. This totally boils down to personal beliefs though, so everyone would have a different viewpoint on it.

I also did appreciate the font that was used. It is very good for reading--especially for younger eyes still working on sounding out words. Little Britches said it was a good font and size to read.

Another extra tidbit--if a passage of scripture was found elsewhere in the Bible--like when the NT quotes the OT, it was written right into the passage using parentheses.
And lastly, I was expecting this version to have extra notes, or photos or something relating scripture to brick building. More than just the illustrations they included. And I think the boys would have appreciated some kind of brick-building guide for making some of the creations, instead of having to come up with it all by looking at the photos. But I'm sure there is a reason why they didn't do that...probably conflicts with LEGO or something.

In summary, the main reason I didn't LOVE this Bible was that it was a NIrV and not the NKJV that our family uses all the time. If it was available in NKJV, I am sure that I would give it two big thumbs up!

Would I Recommend This Product?

If the version or style of the text of the Bible isn't that important to you, and you want an easy to read bible for children, I would say that this Bible might be a good fit! I think that it will work for both genders, however, my boys said it was more for boys because it was blue and had LEGO pictures. Obviously they are not accurate in their assumption. LOL. 

If version and scripture accuracy is important, than I would probably pass on this bible as it is more of a loose translation to make it "easier" for reading. That's what it was DESIGNED to be for and it does it well. It just isn't what I want in a Bible for my kids to use on a regular basis. If you were hoping for some kind of devotions or tidbits tying brick building into scripture (like I thought there would be), then no you won't find that.

Will we continue to use this product?
It will be a good one to pull out whenever some wording in our NKJV might be a bit beyond the boy's understanding--when there are LOTS of more complicated phrases and such. We own many translations, and this will just be another one in our stack to reference when needed.

Want to Know More?

We reviewed Faith Builders Bible from Zonderkidz. You have read our thoughts on it, but what did other families using this bible think about it? 
Faith Builders Bible {Zonderkidz Review}
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This is a Bible that the boys enjoy using--but almost exclusively because of the colorful illustrated photos showing various brick-building creations, not the actual bible itself. As expected, I am still not a big fan of the NIrV, but I already knew that going in. We will be sticking with the NKJV that we already have and use frequently.
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