Friday, October 09, 2009

In Fads We Trust?

I'm old enough to remember when people thought the most important thing about a Bible was reading God's word inside it. Today, the people who publish Bibles seem to have a different idea.

LifeWay advertises a Bible bound in brown and pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Zondervan puts out a Bible that's carbon-neutral. (Do we really think that we'll save the planet by buying greener Bibles?) Thomas Nelson has announced that it will no longer make Bibles with petroleum-based covers. Here are more Bible ideas that seem to say that the power is in the packaging and the marketing, not in the Lord:

The NIV True Images Bible for Teen Girls.
Publisher's Synopsis:
Page edges of Bibles: they can be plain, gilded, or stained. But printed? Yes, this edition of the bestselling True Images Bible has page edges that are actually printed with a youthful, contemporary paisley design in colors that coordinate with its trendy Italian Duo-Tone™ binding. It’s a look that’s sure to appeal to the young teen who wants a Bible that speaks to her in a unique design that fits her lifestyle.

The Bug Collection Bible - Dragonfly
Publisher's Synopsis:
Perfect for people on the go, these Bibles contain the full text of the bestselling New International Version in a compact size, complete with a cute bug design on the cover.

NIV Bible Across America
Publisher's Synopsis:
A one-of-a-kind handwritten NIV Bible displaying an enduring commitment to make God’s Word more accessible and more relevant to more people everywhere. The NIV Bible Across America is a complete Bible handwritten by over 31,000 people from all walks of life and from all over the USA.

Armor of God Bible
Publisher's Synopsis:
Based on the famous “Armor of God” passage from Ephesians 6:10-21, this NIV themed backpack Bible includes 12 full-color, illustrated tip-in pages that will help boys ages 6-9 understand what each piece of armor stands for when it comes to faith...

Wild About Horses Bible
Publisher's Synopsis:
What girl doesn’t love horses? Filled with beautiful features and photographs, horse lovers will be inspired by this NIV Bible.

Soul Surfer Bible
With Bethany Hamilton

Publisher's Synopsis:
Glitter Wave. Bethany Hamilton, a rising star in the surfing world, is an inspiring teenager with a heart for Jesus Christ. This Bible contains 12 full-color tip-ins that will help teens apply Bethany's mission to their own lives.

You can also get The Way for Cowboys or the
NIV Peacemakers New Testament (for law enforcement officers) or The American Patriot's Bible. You can get the Archeology Study Bible, a Devotional Bible for Couples. If none of those suit your fancy, try a Bible for fire-fighters, a New Testament for women with crisis pregnancies, a New Testament for baseball players....

You get the idea.

I'm wondering whether someone will put out a left-handed knitter's study Bible for my wife. (If so, she'd have the sense to be horrified.)

Where's the line between making a Bible that's appropriate for a culture, and trusting in the packaging instead of in the Lord and his word? I'm not sure, but I'm pretty sure that some of these publishers have crossed that line to the wrong side.

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
--Hebrews 4:12 NASB


Jackie Houchin said...

All those editions are hard to believe. It's almost like we are trivializing God's Word. Think of the Jews of old who handled the Torah scrolls with such reverance. Maybe we should be ashamed. And Jesus - whom we are told was nothing to look at on the outside - HE embodied light and life...God himself. And He is the Word.

Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

Before I write my tongue-in-cheek response, I want to affirm what Jackie said, because I agree with her wholeheartedly. Now forgive me, sister, and Jim, and other readers of this fine blog, if I expatiate…

If they're going to publish a bible taylored to fit my individual needs, I hope it will be an "Original Languages Buff" edition with the NIV and the original (1966) Jerusalem Bible texts side by side. That would be four columns of text on a double spread when it came to the Old Testament, because I'd want it to have the Masoretic Hebrew Tanakh AND the Greek Septuagint side by side on the left, with my two favorite English translations on the right. As for the New Testament, to keep the same 4 column double-spread format, I'd like the second column on the left, next to the Greek text, to have Greek word studies relating to the texts at hand. I would also like ALL the comments, including the pictures and maps, from the NIV Study Bible to be included somehow, and at least one Orthodox ikon per Bible book, but preferably more. Finally, I'd like the cover to be made of Titanium, and have bas-relief images of the four evangelists surrounding the risen Christ on one side, and on the other, a bas-relief of Albrecht Dürer's etching of the Last Judgment, or equivalent. Also, don't forget thumb indexing as well as twelve colored ribbon book marks. Um, I hope this isn't asking for too much. I'd be willing to pay $100 for this edition. Do you think that's a fair price?

Jim Swindle said...

My brother Romanós, if they ever make that book for you, I think you'll want them to include wheels.

Since yours will have a small market, they'll probably need to multiply the price by two or three unless they add ridiculous features to attract more buyers, and that would bring us back to the need for Jackie's comment.

dyanna said...

Interesting post.
Have a nice day.

Jim Swindle said...

Thank you, Dyanna. Your comment reminds me to check out your excellent photos more often.

Jen said...

Hmm I agree with most of your points, but I don't really think the Archaeological Study Bible can be logically compared to the others. It's not a Bible for archaeologists (which if it were, would make it similar to the others you mentioned). Moreover, it's a study Bible with a specific set of tools and resources designed to help the reader, like the other study Bibles. I don't object to resources like that. There's a difference to me between repackaging the Word to make it more "attractive" or "popular" or whatever (such is what I think all of your other examples do) and genuine resources designed to help the reader with the text.

Jim Swindle said...

Thanks, Jen, for the comment. Yes, it's possible to make a sensible argument for the Archaeology Study Bible.