The Perfect Bible

March 20, 2009

Know what Americans need? More Bibles.

I set out on a quest for a new Bible. I’ve got my stand-by, an NIV study Bible with my scribbles all over it. It’s pretty rad. But I felt like I needed a new Bible for some reason. It was just feeling a little, I don’t know, stale.

Since it’s been a while since I’ve purchased a Bible, I knew there would be several new translations and versions to choose from that I would not be familiar with. I went to Amazon.com to check out my options.

Amazon came up with 7,183 different Bibles.

7,183 different flavors of God’s Word.

This was going to be more daunting than I had previously assumed. But perhaps you’re in the same boat, trying to navigate the endless waters of niche Bibles. Some tirelessly working marketing team has decided to serve the Lord by identifying, studying and producing a Bible for your specific segment of society, to help God meet your specific needs for the next five minutes! But how do you know which group you fall into? What if you got the wrong Bible? Your needs might not be met! Your Bible might not make you as happy as it’s intended!

The Church of No People Institute for Studying Things has identified some of the most important Bibles out there, and devised an easy system to help you know if God can work in your life through these Bibles by keeping his Word fresh and interesting as it caters to you.

The Message
The Message is a huge phenomenon. Some people love to ponder over the beauty of the details in life. Others just want the gist of things. The Message is the words of scripture, now simplified and re-interpreted for the common person. It may not get all the details right, but it gets the gist of things. God, Jesus, everyone’s here! The Message has been so successful, it’s spawned several new versions of itself, including ‘The Message: Remix 2.0,’ and ‘The Message: Pause.’
Try it if you like: Wikipedia
Wikipedia is a huge phenomenon. Some people love to ponder over the beauty of the details in life. Others just want the gist of things. Wikipedia is human knowledge, now simplified and collectively re-interpreted for the common person. It may not get all the details right, but it gets the gist of things. George Washington, Groucho Marx, they’re all here! Wikipedia has been so successful, it’s spawned several new versions of itself, including WikiNews and WikiBooks.

The Chronological New King James Bible
Maybe you’re the adventurous type. Maybe every day for you is the Renassaince Festival. You fancy long quests and long bows and characters named Longshanks. Perhaps thou believest that surly, crusading pirates are inherently better than ninjas (thou art wrong.) My friend, this Bible was made for you. This ancient tome carries the very legend and legacy of Israel, in the re-edited, director’s cut tale of swords, battles, plagues and fair maidens. And with just enough fancy old-school English-speak, ye truly will raise ye olde chalice and toast this masterpiece!
Try it if you like: The Lord of the Rings

The Regular King James Bible
Some people still go for really old-school. This unedited, un-remixed, un-exciting version of the Bible which shaped our language is no longer than any other Bible, but it feels that way. It’s archaic words will confuse you, forcing you to take twice as long to read it. Only people with true taste for boredom and endlessly exasperating stories will truly appreciate this classic. Verily!
Try it if you like: Pride and Prejudice

The Evidence Bible
Written by Ray Comfort, this Bible promises to dissect each scene of the Bible with meticulous attention to detail. Every trace and every clue is re-examined to prove what really happened in Israel so many years ago. You’ll be uncovering new facts, interviewing new people, finding new clues. This Bible is great to read in a laboratory under blue lights while listening to funky techno-riffs. From the opening bang of creation to the final twist of Revelation, you’ll be on the edge of your seat. This Bible always gets its man. The only thing missing is David Caruso.
Try it if you like: CSI, Cold Case, CSI: NY, Numbers, Bones, The Shield, NYPD Blue, Without a Trace, COPS, CSI: Miami, The Closer, Criminal Minds, Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, The Mentalist or Dateline.

The Green Bible
Maybe you’re feeling a little bit self-conscious around your non-Christian friends. While your progressive-thinking peers are out trying to save Darfur, or at least paying Bono to do it, or reducing their carbon footprint, you’re probably going to some Bible study! And everyone knows what goes on at those things. Christians plot how they can take away everyone’s freedom, elect Republicans, and destroy the earth! You don’t have to tell us; your leather-bound Bible says it all. Why don’t you just get a Bible make of baby seals, murderer!
If your Bible is getting in the way of your witness to your eco-conscious friends, put The Green Bible on your recycled bamboo coffee table. It has no carbon footprint, helps save Darfur, and its cover is made completely out of granola!
Try it if you like: Telling everyone you don’t even own a TV.

Grace for the Moment Bible
Maybe you didn’t get hugged enough as a child. You need some extra love in your life. Despite all the affection and encouragement you recieve from your parents, children, spouse, church and friends, you need just a little bit more. Max Lucado has a Bible for you. No matter what’s going on, Max’s Bible is here to cheer you up. It doesn’t matter what you’re dealing with: slow traffic, an inept waitress, a spider in your house, you can have victory, because there is grace for this moment. And someone in the Bible just might have had it worse than you (maybe.)
Try it if you like: Oprah

The Grandmother’s Bible
It’s your golden years. You’ve worked hard raising a family, and they should be your satisfaction in life. But that idiot son of yours is raising your grandchildren to be a bunch of godless heathens! You need a Bible that helps you pray for your family and this rest of this god-forsaken country before everyone goes to hell! Plus its knitted cover is sure to match that quilt you’re working on.
It makes a great match with The Grandfather’s Bible, with its extra heavy brick-like cover; perfect for throwing at those gat-dang teenagers who won’t stay off your property with their baggy pants and their devil music!
Try it if you like: The Price is Right, but not that new young fella. He doesn’t know what he’s doing up there. And ever since Bob Barker left, I can’t keep that mangy cat next door from violating my precious Toonces, no matter how much I spray him with the hose. Right in front of my house!

What I really want to find is one of those Bibles that blinds me with the light of Jesus when I open it, like I see in all those forwarded emails I don’t open.

For the record, if you care, I prefer the NIV Bible. It has a good balance of literal interpretation, modern language and smooth sentence structure, which is quite a feat. I found in seminary (where everyone used the NAS) almost every time the prof. would point out what the Bible really means (i.e. where the NAS is inaccurate), my NIV would already have the proper translation.

There’s lots of other Bibles out there that remain to be studied. What’s your favorite Bible? Do you own any of these speciality Bibles? Are they actually any good?