- My previous review on the Bible Illuminated was obviously the former as the book tries to draw people in via unconventional forms and means.
- This bible, The Green Bible, is probably part of the latter.
Essentially, The Green Bible takes a cue from the red-letter KJVs (the ones with the words of Christ in red) and puts all the words that deal with environmental topics or creation care in green. It colors them if they fall into one of four criteria. Passages that show:
- how God and Jesus are involved with Creation.
- how all elements (land, water, plants, humans, animals, etc) are interdependent
- how nature responds to God.
- how we are called to care for creation.
I’ll admit that my first impressions were negative. I am weary of these types of color-coded bibles. The redline KJVs often highlight the Messianic texts in the Old Testament, to my annoyance. But more importantly, one of my first bibles in college was The Five Gospels where the Jesus Seminar went through the Gospels and color-coded them based on how close they were to the original words of Jesus. This sort of thoughtful yet arbitrary color-coding did not make a strong impression on me (except how much of John is second-generation).
All that said, here’s some joys and concerns.
There’s some excellent “extras” found in the essays at the front of the text. Barbara Brown Taylor’s treatment of cattle and humans in the Creation story is hilarious and poignant. Gordon Aeschliman connects creation care with poverty initiatives. Brian McLaren talks about human sin taking precedence over Creation being Good and traces the extra-biblical notion of this Creation being disregarded.
Better yet is the “green trails” at the end which trace certain elements of Creation texts through Scripture: There are study and question guides on six topics, such as Creation as “Good,” being connected to Creation, the impact of human sin, and creation care as justice. I essentially got six bible studies that I can get really excited about for $20…a bargain!
Some of the texts highlighted are done because “they show Jesus or God interacting with nature.” However, as eco-ethicist Marla Marcum told me, not all those passages are meant to be centered on how God or Jesus interact with nature, but simply to show the power of God. The ways how JC and God interact with Creation are not meant to be lessons of how we should, but rather exemplifications of the power of God. Take heed!
While not as revolutionary as the Bible Illuminated, The Green Bible is not meant to be so. It is meant as a tool for personal or group study, and has many practical impacts. It is meant to add to the conversation to answer the questions of “what did Jesus have to say about recycling” and traces biblical themes in response.
Thoughts or impressions?