Wednesday, September 21, 2016

A review of the NIrV "Minecrafters Bible"

My second-grader pretty much as Minecraft on the brain or at least as his background soundtrack all the hours he's awake, and some of those during which he's asleep. I thought this might make a nice birthday present for him. Educationally, it's also a step-up from all the paraphrased storybook bibles we already have in our collection. At 1144 onion skin pages, the NIrV Minecrafters Bible includes the full text of the Old and New Testaments, along with 24 thicker full-color pages with illustrations of stories that lend themselves to be recreated in the "boxy and pixelated" style that my son loves so much. If you're not aware of Minecraft or other video games that use this low-res style, you might find the illustrations a little odd, especially when they include a block-headed Jesus. However, the familiar look of the pictures were a big draw even to my 5-year-old who is just beginning to learn to read.

The New International Readers Version strikes me as a good choice for young readers. It dispenses with a lot of the poetic (and for children, indecipherable) language of other versions. For example, Psalm 23 begins "The Lord is my shepherd. He gives me everything I need." The beatitudes in Matthew 5 begin "Blessed are those who are spiritually needy. They kingdom of heaven belongs to them." Paul encourages the Philippians in v. 4:12-13: "I have learned the secret of being content no matter what happens. I am content whether I am well fed or hungry. I am content whether I have more than enough of not enough. I can do all this by the power of Christ. He gives me strength." 

Of course, these details matter more to me than to my son, who mainly has skipped over the black and white text in favor of the color plates, which feature paraphrased stories that lend themselves to building-focused illustrations. Many of these stories do not coincide with the adjacent text. For instance, Solomon's temple is inserted into the psalms, and Jesus' miracle of feeding sits next to Jeremiah. Often, the colored pages will set up the beginning of a story and end on a cliff-hanger, with encouragement to flip to the verse reference of the actual story.
Overall, I think this version can be useful to cause Minecraft-loving kids to crack open the pages of scripture. The easy to read translation is also a plus for younger readers who might find the Bible's more esoteric passages hard to digest.

 *I received this Bible from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.*

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