These tools can help us have a year that is centered around knowing and following Jesus!
1. The Bible App (YouVersion:
This app offers tons of great features, although some are only available with wi-fi or a data connection. You can read the Bible, use a structured Bible reading plan, read with friends, download MPCC's sermon notes, and even share verses and verse images via social media.
Check out the Bible App!
2. The New Living Translations
You can get a lot of Bible apps for free or low cost. However, they don't do any good if you don't have a translation that is accurate and readable on them, even when offline. So please, if your son or daughter uses a Bible app, be sure to purchase a translation they can use offline when it is offered.
I recommend the New Living Translation. This is the main translation we use with 5th-8th graders and it is personally the translation I use for most of my Bible reading and studying.
Check out the New Living Translation!
3. Jesus-Centered Bible
This is my current study Bible and one I highly recommend. It is available in print and as an app. (both links are below). This is not specific to students but rather focused on Jesus for anyone.
The two biggest features are: 1) blue lettering highlights more than 600 passages in the Old Testament pointing to Jesus—references and promises that show God’s love story for your life and 2) Jesus’ spoken words and references to Jesus are highlighted with red letters in the New Testament.
Check out the Jesus-Centered Bible!
Click to check out the Jesus-Centered Bible iOS app!
Click to check out the Jesus-Centered Bible Android app!
4. Guys Life Application Study Bible
The #1 study Bible I recommend for boys 11-14 years old!
Check out the Guys Life Application Study Bible!
5. Girls Life Application Study Bible
The #1 study Bible I recommend for girls 11-14 years old!
Check out the Girls Life Application Study Bible!
6. Read Scripture
One of the best apps for not only reading the Bible, but understanding it with great use of sketch-note style animated teaching aids.
Check out the Read Scripture app!
7. The Bible Project
The Bible Project is a non-profit animation studio that produces short-form, fully animated videos to make the biblical story accessible to everyone, everywhere.
They create videos, podcasts, and study guides that explore the Bible’s unified story.
Lots of great free resources on their website!
Check out the The Bible Project!
In their own words: "“We are a team of ‘Digital Scribes’ mobilizing Missional Creatives to translate and teach God’s Word so all people can understand and know Jesus Christ.”
Lots of great resources on their site. But here's the main thing your preteen, middle schooler and possibly you will love about them: their audio Bible.
Go directly here to check it out. They do a "spoken-word" style where an artist is reading the New Living Translation over a hip-hop style audio soundtrack. They don't have the whole Bible done yet, but what they have is really good! Have your student listen and ask their opinion!
Check out StreetLights!
MAKE BIBLE MEMORY FUN & EASY Memorize & Review Verses Anytime, Anywhere. Import Any Verse from 10 Translations. Choose Verses from over 55 Categories. Review System Keeps You Current.
- Record Verses & Play Them Back
- Draw Illustrations
- Review with Flash Cards
Check out ScriptureTyper!
10. The Action Bible Comics and Jesus
What could be better? Masterfully illustrated with stunning art from Marvel and DC Comics artist Sergio Cariello, The Action Bible is the perfect Bible for today’s visually focused culture.
Great for students, and people in general, who like comics or graphic novels and want to get more excited about reading the Bible. (And each section tells you where in the Bible to go to read the rest of the story beyond the illustrations.)
Check out The Action Bible!
11. Manga Messiah & More!
Japanese Comics - or Manga - are very popular around the world. The company, NextManga, has used this form of graphic novel to retell the Bible a section at a time. They currently have five books and are working on a sixth. We have used these often with our preteen and middle schoolers to bring Bible stories to life with their great illustrations.
Use the link below to check out the company and all the books they have available. At the very least, go here to check out Manga Messiah, a collection of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in one Manga graphic novel.
As a bonus, each page gives the text references to where those illustrations and dialogue were taken and so the reader knows where to go to read more of the story!
Check out Next Manga!
Mike Sheley is the Middle School Pastor at Mount Pleasant Christian Church in Greenwood, Indiana, where he has been working with 5th-8th graders since 2007. He believes many people have no idea how much his wife and own kids have influenced his ministry and changed his life. And although most people don’t understand why he chooses to minister with this age group, he loves the challenges and opportunities that come his way.