23 November 2009

THIS Bible is about justice. Unlike the other Bibles.

People always used to ask Sojourners when they were going to publish a "Sojourners Bible," or a "Justice Bible," or something along those lines. It seemed to me like a thoroughly poor idea: doesn't the idea of a special "Justice Bible" undermine the contention that the regular Bible already is about justice? Are colored inks and bonus materials necessary to make that clear?

Of course, the desire for such a publication comes, in part, as a reaction to the proliferation of niche Bibles of a more conservative evangelical variety. The foremost example of progressives' entrance into this market is last year's Green Bible.

In any event, zealous Sojo fans may finally be getting what they wanted, albeit from another source: The American Bible Society and World Vision have partnered to publish The Poverty and Justice Bible. (Apparently this Bible was first released in summer 2008, but is now being reprinted with a wider distribution.)

I'm sure this will be a helpful resource for some, so that's good. I also think that Sojo could've made a lot of money off of a product like this, and perhaps they still will someday. I still think the best idea (though certainly a production nightmare) would be for Sojo to sell a Jim Wallis-approved "Bible full of holes" for demonstration purposes.

It seems to me that the acceptability of niche-published Bibles highlighting specific biblical themes (or demographic groups) is inversely proportional to our biblical literacy. If we all had more robust habits of studying scripture, we wouldn't need to buy Bibles that use green or orange ink to draw our attention to the "good stuff".

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