Another Bible(?) To Avoid!

A new Bible of some sort has just been released and deserves to be added to the growing list of “Bibles to Be Avoided.” Others on the list include:

  • The Green Bible -  The Green Bible will equip and encourage you to see God's vision for creation and help you engage in the work of healing and sustaining it. As you read the scriptures anew, The Green Bible will help you see that caring for the earth is not only a calling, but a lifestyle. With over 1,000 references to the earth in the Bible, compared to 490 references to heaven and 530 references to love, the Bible carries a powerful message for the earth. To help the reader, this is also a Green-Letter Edition in which verses and passages that speak to God's care for creation highlighted in green. It boasts recycled paper, soy-based ink, and a cotton/linen cover.
  • The New Testament for Lesbians, Gays, Bi, and Transgender -  The publisher writes:  Deep in the shuddering guts of that religion known as Christianity is a rich and troubling history of persecution. Bullying. The singling out of those the church professes to be anti-God, such as gay, lesbian, bi and transgendered people. All built up from the foundation that is God's Word, the Bible. Only it isn't. There is no Scriptural foundation for this persecution, no anti-gay passages in the Bible that the Church professes there are. There have been mistranslations. Check. Persecutions. Check. Bullying. Check. But none of this is set down in the original languages and context of the Bible as God's Way.
  • The Poverty Bible -  One review writes: The worst feature of the book, however, is the way it treats "poverty & justice." The editors' and (most of the endorsers') notion of "justice" is clearly straight from the canons of political correctness. As Dan Phillips writes, it is not surprising to see that 2 Thessalonians 3:10 ("If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat") did not get the editors' special orange-ink treatment (not red letter, but orange). Likewise, Galatians 6:7 ("whatever one sows, that will he also reap") was ignored along with the allegedly "unjust" destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19 and God's abandonment of sinners to their sin in Romans 1. In other words, the view of "justice" this Bible tries to promote is the same humanistic perspective we have heard nonstop from Tony Campolo, Ron Sider, Shane Claiborne, and most of the Emergent/Emerging ministries (HT: Dan Phillips).

Now, add the new Study Bible published by former US President Jimmy Carter. President Carter as taught Sunday School for decades at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, GA, and has written study notes on the Bible called NIV Lessons from Life Bible: Personal Reflections with Jimmy Carter. In this new study tool, "Carter shares his own insights and life lessons with you, opening up the Scripture in a new and fresh way.

President Carter was recently interviewed by a reporter from the Huffington Post about the book and his views on controversial social and religious issues. His answers are not surprising and should give anyone pause before considering to purchase this particular Bible. Seminary professor Denny Burk summarizes Carter’s remarks below:

  • On literal interpretation, “When we go to the Bible we should keep in mind that the basic principles of the Bible are taught by God, but written down by human beings deprived of modern day knowledge. So there is some fallibility in the writings of the Bible.”
  • On inspiration, Carter says that God “didn’t write every word of the Bible” and that there are mistakes in it.•    On creation, “I don’t adhere to passages that so and so was created 4000 years before Christ, and things of that kind.”
  • On women in pastorate, “I separated from the Southern Baptists when they adopted the discriminatory attitude towards women… Every worshipper has to decide if and when they want those particular passages to apply to them and their lives.”
  • On homosexuality, “In all of his teachings about multiple things – [Jesus] never said that gay people should be condemned. I personally think it is very fine for gay people to be married in civil ceremonies.”
  • On Jesus as the only way of salvation, “There are many verses in the Bible that you could interpret very rigidly and that makes you ultimately into a fundamentalist. When you think you are better than anybody else — that you are closer to God than other people, and therefore they are inferior to you and subhuman — that leads to conflict and hatred and dissonance among people when we should be working for peace.”

Go elsewhere to find help in interpreting the Bible. President Carter does not handle the text well.  As Burk says, “If you’re in the market for a study Bible, you need to find one authored by someone who actually believes that the Bible is true. Obviously, Carter falls short of this standard.”

Posted by Jeff Spry at 4:49 PM


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