In three days, she would return to Germany. I was 16 and had become friends with a German foreign exchange student the year prior. She was back in the states for a month-long visit, and we were soaking up every little bit of time we had before she left and we would be back to not knowing if we would see each other in person again. Nicky and I were alike in many ways. We both were into theater, loved to sing, and were committed to what we set out to do.
During her first-round time in America, Nicky’s host family had taken her to church. Through her stay, she had become a Jesus-follower. When she returned to Germany, she got plugged into her local church and became a key part of their ministry. Again, our lives weirdly mirrored each other, as my life had also changed after a church invite.
So here we were in my bedroom, three days before her trip ended, and she handed me a wrapped gift. When I opened it, I started crying. It was a Bible.
When I first joined the church, the only Bible in my possession was a children’s story Bible that had been given to my family when I was young. Although I had found ways to read Scripture through online resources and apps, I had always wanted a Bible of my own. I’m an avid reader and, while I did try an e-reader for a while, I prefer physical books. And now I had a Bible of my own to highlight and write notes in and study Scripture.
A Bible is a meaningful gift. It’s a gift with eternal impact. When choosing the right Bible to gift, there are a few things to consider.
Age and Stage
This one seems pretty obvious, but when gifting a Bible, it is an extremely important to consider the age and stage of the recipient. While it is true that young ones can “grow into” a more difficult Bible, giving them a Bible that meets them where they are or where they will very soon be is probably best. For example, a child learning to read could use a Read-Aloud Bible, while a Middle-Grade Bible is best for a reader who is a few years older. For older children or teens, consider if they will be able to use the Bible on their own or if they will need a bit of help. Adding in additional materials, such as a study, can help. For those who are new to the faith or new to studying Scripture, a Bible that helps nurture their study may be more helpful.
God created us with the ability to like things. We all have something that we call “our own thing.” Bibles that tap into this can be a great gift. I’ve seen Bibles for athletes, for teachers, and even for archeology enthusiasts! A Bible that includes a person’s interests or vocation is a great way to say, “Hey, I know you, and God knows you too.” You can encourage people’s God-given talents with Bibles designed for people who love creating and for those who find journaling a great way to learn.
The best gift Bibles help recipients grow deeper in their faith walk. There are many types of Bibles that can help people delve deeper into their study of Scripture. A great Bible for this is a study Bible. These help readers understand the meaning of Scripture and give key context and connections. But that’s not the only type of Bible that can help with deepening faith. A devotional Bible helps to apply Scripture to daily life. When picking which one to gift, consider what the recipient’s walk with Jesus is like and how the person might want to go deeper in studying the Word.
Nicky and I are still very much alike. Though we haven’t seen each other in person in five years (wow, five years?), we have kept in contact through social media and video chats. Last summer, we both got married. Neither of us could make it to the others’ wedding, with the ocean in the way and whatnot, but we sent along our congratulations. That Bible she gifted me has traveled with me from the end of high school through college and into the new adventure I’m on now. I am forever grateful for that gift.
A Bible for morning reading, Bible studies, family devotions, and so much more.