A new study Bible has come out which is touted as "The Green Bible" because its focus is on the environment. In fact, any Scripture that includes a reference to the creation is printed in green, whether or not it has anything to do with environmental issues. Do we really need a Green Bible? In one sense, I suppose so, because Christians in general have not been very enthusiastic about environmental issues, not out of any particular Biblical conviction, but mainly because most evangelicals line up with Republicans who routinely oppose environmental legislation as no friend to business. So if people read this Bible and begin to wonder whether or not the Bible has something helpful to say about the environment, well, that's not a bad thing. On the other hand, I can't help but feel about this new "custom Bible" like I feel about all the other custom Bibles you can find in any Christian bookstore - couples' study Bibles, youth study Bibles, men's and women's study Bibles, Reformation study Bibles. There are doubtless more, I'm sure, but it's been years since I was in a Christian bookstore, so I'm just recalling what I saw way back whenever. All this custom Bibling has the smell of bottom line publishing to me. "Here's a way we can package our translation to appeal to another niche in the market." Publishers do the same thing with different styles of cover. Don't like leather? Here's one in denim. Or with a Celtic cross (that one got me, but then...). I'm all for circulating the Bible as far and wide as possible. I'm just a little queasy about all the marketing and commercializing of the Word of God. Are we encouraging folks to buy a Bible because of what's in it or because of how they'll look carrying it? In a sense, I suppose you could say that all these custom Bibles with their special issues, hip covers, and whatnot are green Bibles, because the primary reason they're being published is to bolster the revenue stream to publishers. Is that OK? I mean, after all, if the publisher can't keep his business afloat he won't be able to publish any Bibles, and, of course, that would be not cool. I guess I'd just like to see about a 10-year moratorium on custom or chic Bibles - just put 'em out there with a plain black cover - to see if the sales hold up, or if people are really only buying all these cool Scriptures for the cover rather than the content.
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