There are probably two types of bibles: those that want to start a conversation, and those that want to add to the conversation.
- 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?
wow…always some new gimmick!
Jeffrey P. Moore
I guess I just figured it might also be printed on recycled paper and maybe even come in an electronic version. (Maybe it does and you just did not mention it).
Rev. Jeremy Smith
whoops, yes, Jeffrey, thanks. It is printed on recycled paper and the cover is recycled too…it’s flexible like a Frankenstein mushy middle between a hardcover and a paperback. Minus the stitches.
I was excited to see it come out, but in the interest of consuming less (an ecological principle), I think I’ll forgo buying it since I already have the Earth Bible Commentary
how wise Nathan! lol
I still haven’t found anything as enjoyable as a Dake
All i can say is that god can do anything if u really know he made us and everything around us how can u think about this stuff recycling all i know is if he really wants to he can clean up the planet in a snap of his fingers so why publish this when u already know the answer.
Rev. Jeremy Smith
@ Anonymous #6, We have been given a responsibility. It’s a rejection of our Imago Dei, our being created in the image of God, if we reject that we have a role to play in Creation. I don’t want to be like the Apostles, watching Jesus raised up to the clouds, standing there for an eternity waiting; we are called to act now.
I recently purchaced this Bible and I love it.
It is made of recycled paper, and is printed with soy based inks, and has a cotton/linen cover.
I really like this Bible a lot.
Paul Anthony Preussler
Regarding the Jesus Seminar, it should be noted that they have absolutely no scientific proof to back up their claims about which verses are authentically the words of Jesus and which ones aren’t; the Five Gospels ultimately just indicates which verses they collectively think Jesus said, and which ones they collectively felt were interpolations. Since none of them were actually there, it is merely the result of collective opinion, and the opinion of a handpicked assortment of liberal theologians at that; to my knowledge, not one member of the Jesus Seminar was theologically conservative, or from a conservative denomination (no Eastern Orthodox, no Roman Catholics, no Southern Baptists for that matter). If the composition of the Jesus Seminar more accurately reflected the demographic and psychographic composition of the Christian religion, and excluded from its ranks those who are by their own admission not Christians, but atheists or post-Christian “Jesusists”, the outcome of its work would be dramatically different.
Given UMJeremy’s enthusiasm for hacking, I would propose he also ought to reconsider his stance on “red letter bibles”; anyone involved in computer science, whether as a programmer, systems administrator, or network engineer, will know of the value of syntax highlighting. Not all programmers like it, but the vast majority do; it is a system whereby the text editor you are using automatically color codes your words, as you type them, to indicate to you how your program will interpret them. For example, in the vim text editor, strings (that is to say, representations of text) are color coded red, comments are color coded blue, and other parts of the language are color coded in amber, green, cyan, or magenta, as appropriate. Like the Bible, text editors even provide the equivalent of versification, in the form of automatic line numbering, which is a must, because most compilers, if they detect an error, will report it to you on the basis of which numbered line of code in your program contains it.
I myself would not mind seeing a bible that uses syntax highlighting to represent, with different colors, all remarks ascribed to Jesus, all ascribed to God the father, or to the Trinity as a whole, all ascribed to the Holy Spirit, all those ascribed to Prophets or Apostles speaking in the Holy Spirit, all those ascribed to angels, all those ascribed to demons, and all those ascribed to the devil. This would make for very interesting reading indeed.