Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My Foolishness - Hedging the Bible with Marketing

A couple of days ago I received the latest CBD Bible catalog. On the cover is the Fire Bible – Global Study Edition. Ok, I’m curious, just what is the Fire Bible? Is it something the Boy Scouts take camping so they don’t have to rub two sticks together or carry a magnifying glass? Is it something that smoke jumpers can pack in their gear? Or is it what employers give employees when there is a reduction in force?

On page 3 I find that is a tool for Pentecostal Christians. I assume the word “fire” relates to Acts Chapter 2.

Also on page 3 I see that The Case For Christ Study Bible is “Coming in February!” It’s about time we had a Bible that presents a good case for Christ. I guess I’ll trade what I have in.

On page 4 I see we have “Economy Bibles”. Are these the equivalent of the Yugo or Nash Rambler?

On page 17 (see, I’m sparing you a lot) we have Adventure Bibles, you can purchase either the previous edition or the updated edition. I read that I can transform Bible study into an adventurous safari for your 8 – 12 years olds! What happens when they reach age 13? What happens when they are adults? Oh – I know the answer to that one, we can just all get wild at heart.

Oh my! On page 18 there is a VeggieTales Bible, and wonder of wonders there is a Bug Collection Bible - “these cut-as-a-bug Bibles are sure to please your little nature lovers!"
On page A4 there is a Revolve 2007: The Complete NCV New Testament for Girls, this is rich…I read that “Teen girls love this New Testament Biblezine!” What’s more, “Relationship and ‘Guys Speak Out” articles” are included. Wonder if Jesus can be found there? He is a guy isn’t He? Looks like He has competition in this Bible. Oh excuse me, in this Biblezine.

On page 35 is the Archaeological Study Bible – and surprise, I like that one – just the facts Ma’am, just the facts. Now there ARE good study Bibles out there, but that is beside my point in this piece. There ARE great reference Bibles, and that is also beside my point. 

Page 38, there is the New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, and then a Spirit-Filled Life Bible for Women. The page is titled, Charismatic Bibles, I guess we need lots of help. Does this make sense? I thought we were going to trust the Holy Spirit to illuminate the text for us?  How about some Presbyterian or Baptist or Methodist Bibles? This ain’t fair!

There is a Life Principles Daily Bible with Charles Stanley’s name on the cover. I wonder if he has noticed that his Bible is missing? Not to be outdone Hank Hanegraaff has the Legacy Study Bible, and then the team of Gary Smalley, Jack Hayford, Darelene Zschech and others have produced The Maximized Living Bible. Is this fair? How can Stanley and Hanegraaff compete against all of these people? Where is the IOC when you need them?

Oh no…here it is, for you fans of The Red Green Show, there is actually something called The Official NCV Duct Tape Bible, it’s on page A4, I kid you not. 

I could keep going but just in case anyone is still reading I won’t. Is it any wonder our folks want entertainment on Sunday mornings? Is it any wonder we don’t read the Scriptures? Is this what our ancestors in the faith died for? Is this why people smuggle Bibles into closed countries today? 

As I said, there are good study Bibles out there, serious study Bibles that (hopefully) direct readers to the text. But what about this other stuff? What is the subtext when we market Bibles like this? The subtext is that the Bible in and of itself cannot be read, learned, and taught. The subtext is that the Bible in itself is not relevant or transformative.

The ancient rabbis often hedged the Scriptures with their tradition. It looks like we’re hedging the Scriptures with marketing.


  1. Somehow you avoided p.50's "Stock-car edition", complete with checkered flag. Coincidence? I think not.

    :) Is an emoticon sufficient to let you know I'm teasing you about your inexplicible (to me, anyway) enjoyment of left hand turns?

  2. Oh my goodness - you aren't kidding. I didn't see it in the CBD catalog but it is on Amazon and on the CBD website. Are you trying to get my engine revved even higher?