Introducing Dear Theo
Posted by Laura Nelson, 17 September 2018
What is Dear Theo?
In the same way that Luke set out to present the account to his friend, we have joined these two books in one volume to create Dear Theo. Dear Theo uses the complete Bible text from the NIrV (New International Reader’s Version) and presents it in a format that younger readers will be familiar with. We have taken out the chapters and verses which are used in our traditional Bibles to help the text and story flow more freely. For those who still want to know where the verses are located we have included them at the top of each page. We have also used a simple one column format and added specially commissioned illustrations to help make the story come alive. So, Dear Theo looks just like any other book! We know that the Bible is a book like no other and when read has the power and potential to transform lives and this is our prayer for those who read Dear Theo.
Who is Dear Theo for?
Research suggests that children read most between the ages of 8–11*. When developing Dear Theo, we wanted to provide a format of the Bible that would appeal directly to that age but also one that could be read by older children and teenagers as well. Several parents have told us that they have been reading it to their 6 and 7–year olds, also, children in their later teens are finding the text and presentation more accessible than their standard Bible. We are currently working with a youth ministry partner to develop a cover design that appeals to those of an older age.
Dear Theo uses the NIrV translation. This translation is perfect for this Bible as it has been developed to enable early readers to understand God’s Word without sacrificing accuracy or clarity. It means that children as young as 6 years old can easily understand the text and because it has not been simplified, it can be read by older teens or adults alone and not feel like a children’s book.
How can it be used?
Dear Theo is a book like any other book. It’s a complete story in a format and presentation that children are familiar with.
Part of what we do at Biblica is look for ideas and ways to help all readers, whatever their age, not only read the Bible but also engage with it and share what they have learnt. We have added a few aids to help children read and talk about the story of Jesus that they will encounter through reading Dear Theo.
Dear Theo follows the same principles set out in our Community Bible Experience programme. We suggest you read a little every day and meet up once a week to talk about what you’ve been reading. The ‘5 questions to think about when reading the Bible’ provides a simple framework for any reader to begin to engage a little more with the text.
· What is something you noticed for the first time?
· What questions did you have?
· Was there anything that bothered you?
· What did you learn about loving God?
· What did you learn about loving others?
The suggested reading plan and questions can easily be used by a Sunday School or a youth leader to help children read and talk about the Bible together. There are 30 readings which can be used over 6 weeks or spread out over a longer period depending on what works best for your group.
The reading plan also ties in with The Story, our adult version of Luke and Acts. The Story has been a great way to get whole churches and communities reading and talking about the Bible together. Our hope is that Dear Theo will invite younger readers into that conversation as well. We envisage whole church families reading and taking about the Bible together over a six–week period. Having parents reading it with their children and asking questions together as they read is something that excites us!
It is our hope that Dear Theo will get kids excited about reading the Bible and build a foundation for Bible reading that will go with them throughout their life.
For more information on Dear Theo please go to our website.
*National literacy Trust 2016