The Sharing Bible May 9, 2011

The Sharing Bible

I was looking at my bookshelf last night when I came across a Bible (I have several…) that I hadn’t seen in a long time. And I remember writing about it on this site years ago, but I don’t think most of you were reading this site back then…

So I’m going to plagiarize myself.

Here’s the background: Around the time I was writing I Sold My Soul on eBay, a Christian who was fed up with the way other Christians evangelized sent me a Bible he had. It was a special edition — designed to help Christians proselytize to other people.

In the back of the book was a page explaining how to share the Bible… It had *very* specific instructions:

Don’t let these instructions intimidate you. They are simple to follow. Get your pen, a colorful highlighter, and mark your sharing Bible/New Testament as follows:

  1. In the front of your Bible, write the page number ** of Romans 3:23.
  2. Highlight Romans 3:23
  3. Write the page number ** of Romans 6:23 in the top margin. Since I usually sit across from the person with whom I am sharing, I turn the Bible around to face him. In this same manner, with the Bible facing away from you, write the notes in the top margin (now the margin nearest you). This way, while your friend reads the Scripture aloud, you can read your “upside-down” notes.

    [Hemant’s note: Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”]

  4. Highlight Romans 6:23 and write the page number ** of John 3:3 in the margin.*
  5. Circle the word sin.
  6. Underline the word death.
  7. Write the word hell over the word death.
  8. Underline the word in.
  9. Highlight John 3:3 and write the page number ** of John 14:6 in the margin.*
  10. Draw a cross and an X next to John 3:3.
  11. Highlight John 14:6 and write the page number ** of Romans 10:9-11 in the margin.*
  12. Highlight Romans 10:9-11 and write the page number ** of 2 Corinthians 5:15 in the margin.*
  13. Highlight 2 Corinthians 5:15 and write the page number ** of Revelation 3:20 in the margin.*
  14. Highlight Revelation 3:20.

* Don’t forget to turn your Bible around to write your notes in the (top) margin nearest you.
** You may write the page number and/or the Scripture reference.

But that wasn’t even the best part. When you turned the page, it gave you a giant bulletpointed list of how to respond to people who will object to your proselytizing.

For example… what happens when you point out all the contradictions in the Bible?

That’s it. That’s all the conversation it takes.

But the best one, by far, was the following:

5. I’m having too much fun.

YOU:

  • Why?
  • (Echo back what your friend answers. Example:) In other words, you are into the party scene– sex, drugs, and rock and roll.
  • According to this, when you die, where are you going?
  • Drive carefully. (or) Have a nice day.
  • (If he answers, “hell,” with fear and trembling) Are you ready to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior?

As I wrote then:

First of all, who still considers “rock and roll” a sin? Is rock and roll even in existence anymore…?

Second, “Drive carefully”??? I’m a bit upset that the converter gives up so easily! I would think this person has some tenacity. They did circle “sin” after all.

Third, if anyone is “trembling with fear” after the mere question, “According to this, when you die, where are you going?” their non-Christian beliefs probably aren’t very strong in the first place… it’s like picking low hanging fruit. Is this the type of person any religion wants?

Do any of you have really entertaining Bibles? Because now, I want to collect these.

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  • Parse

    To answer the question I had when reading this: according to the original post, Matt (the Christian who sent this bible in) was irritated at the approach and arguments used here; he didn’t send this as a ‘Maybe this’ll convert the heathen’ gift. (That’s what I expected, but seeing enough of PZ Myer’s ‘I Get Email’ threads, I couldn’t be certain.)

    As for the ‘Drive carefully’ and ‘Have a nice day’ response? I see them as a fair bit more sinister – “Drive carefully, because if you don’t, you’ll go to Hell! Oogity-boogity!”
    I also get a kick out of the fact that there’s no response provided for when proselytizee actually can point out errors in the Bible.

  • Do I have any entertaining bibles?

    Nah – I burned any I had years ago***. I think I heard some angels scream as they were engulfed in satan’s fires. Either that, or it was water boiling out of the somewhat wet wood…

    *** j/k – I wouldn’t waste my time burning them. 😉

  • Steve

    Is this the type of person any religion wants?

    Of course. That’s the perfect believer. It means the always sort of believed, but just didn’t take it that seriously or weren’t into religion. At the same time, they haven’t though much about it and are easy to convert. They already have fear, so they are easy to control.

  • Haha! Wow! Is “I’m having too much fun” even something people actually use to say why they “don’t believe” in the Bible?

    As for other Bibles, I have the manga Bible:

    http://www.amazon.com/Manga-Bible-Tyndale/dp/1414316798/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1304706925&sr=8-4

    It doesn’t say anything fun like this that I’ve seen, but my friend thinks that Jesus is pretty hot.

  • geralyn mott

    i “binged” all these passages and they pretty much assume an existing belief in god. they actually require it. pretty weak instructions for a pro-christian argument

  • Dave B

    I love the strategy for dismissing contradictions. After arming yourself with page numbers and highlights, challenge someone else to pick out relevant verses on the spot and unprepared. Luckily for the proselytizer, the bible doesn’t directly contradict well-established science until the end of the first sentence.

  • Miko

    Parse:

    I also get a kick out of the fact that there’s no response provided for when proselytizee actually can point out errors in the Bible.

    Other than ending the conversation really quickly, I’m not sure what response they could give. Unless perhaps they want to add a conversation branch that leads to the “sharer” renouncing their Christianity…

  • Young Apostate

    If I’m not mistaken, that is a Faith Evangelism New Testament. I used to have one of those, when I was a believer. I even went door to door with other members of the church I attended.

    Wow, what funny memories.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    it’s like picking low hanging fruit. Is this the type of person any religion wants?

    Damn straight.

  • Secular Stu

    Luckily for the proselytizer, the bible doesn’t directly contradict well-established science until the end of the first sentence.

    And it doesn’t begin to contradict itself until the beginning of the second chapter.

    Here’s the tl;dr version of “Sharing the Bible”:

    Use fear.

  • Larry Meredith

    Part 20 really makes me want to memorize the Reason Project’s list of bible contradictions.

    The fact that the instructed argument for bible contradictions rests solely on the hope that whoever you’re proselytizing is forgetful or hasn’t memorized the exact references that are contradictory just shows how manipulative they are.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    There are too many errors in the Bible – Would you show me one?

    I think I would start off with Genesis chapter 30, in which it is learned that you can breed animals with stripes by putting sticks near their watering trough. Then I would flip to Leviticus chapter 11, a veritable font of biological wisdom: bats are a type of fowl, rabbits chew their cud, insects have 4 legs, etc.

    I would take a brief break from pointing out errors to note that in Genesis 2:16, God lied to Adam, while in chapter 3 the serpent told the truth to Eve.

    Then, for some balance, maybe I would move to the New Testament and line up some verses on salvation by faith vs. salvation by works..

    … What? It was intended as a rhetorical question?

  • Patrik

    To answer your final question, I do have an “entertaining” bible. Unfortunately it’s not in English (since it would be kind of silly to give a Swedish six year old an English bible), so you might not want to collect it.

    It’s called “The Childrens’ Bible”, and it’s got “all” the stories of the original Bible, but written in a way that kids can understand. And when I say “all”, I really mean “none of the strange, offensive or contradictionary stories” as well as “the stories that are left in are censored and changed so kids don’t get the feeling God kills people for shits and giggles. Very little blood and gore.

    Also, it’s written as a story, not in verses.

    I did make an effort to pick it up and re-read it, but after reading like 3 pages and having read “God is so full of love and loves you and everyone else” around 59 times, I gave up.

  • Jennifer K.

    Ugh, I used to own that bible. When I went through my christian experimentation phase in college I collected so many bibles. I’ve gotten rid of most of them, but I still have a handful for reference purposes.

    My favorite is “the word on the street” because it’s just amusing.

    My most important (and the only one I would keep if I suddenly lost my entire library of books) is one my great-grandma sent me when I was younger. It’s just a basic ESV, but it was a gift from her. I’m not religious in the least, and wasn’t when she sent it to me, but I recognized that she felt she was sharing something with me that was important to her. And that made it important to me, even if I don’t believe a word of the book.

    For pure colorfulness I like The Learning Bible. This is also the bible I use when I need to formulate an argument against the bible. The notes in the version are awesome for that reason alone.

  • Mary

    What are they supposed to say when the student says, “Believing in magic is dumb”? Or how about, “People in the bible seem like a bunch of jerks”? Or, “I’m a woman and I don’t really like being your silent slave”? Getting people to believe silly stuff sure seems hard.

  • Alex

    Maybe along the same lines, a book written by Mark Mittelberg, entitled “The Questions Christians Hope No One Will Ask” opens with the following Foreword: “Have you ever experienced “spiritual vertigo” -a queasy sense of disorientation, confusion, and even panic that can overtake us when a critic challenges the core of our faith in a way that we cannot answer?”

  • Anonymous

    Do any of you have really entertaining Bibles?

    My favorite is this wiki project.
    http://www.lolcatbible.com/index.php?title=Main_Page

    And since it’s online, we all can haz!

  • Richard Wade

    “Drive carefully” is a manipulation. The “mark” has been listening for quite a while by this point, but has not bitten the hook. By giving the cue that this conversation is coming to an end with an implied threat to the mark’s life, he’ll either bite or the proselytizer can stop wasting his time and move on to another mark.

  • The OT is too easy for contradictions and silly pre-science explanations. I’d look up the resurrection story in the gospels and point out the blatant contradictions there. That’s always fun.

    “Sin” and “Hell” are nonsense words. They only have meaning for people who already accept them. I don’t believe in a deity to “sin” against and I don’t believe in a “hell” where I’ll be sent to toast my toes after I’m already dead. They aren’t scary. They’re silly.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Illustrated Stories From the Bible
    (that they won’t tell you in Sunday School)
    by Paul Farrell, illustrated by Kathy Demchuck

  • Darwin’s Dagger

    I don’t think the “Drive Carefully” line is an implied threat, just an attempt to remind the listener of his own mortality and the fragility of human life. It’s clearly a manipulation designed to play on the actual threat that the Christian is making, i.e. you’re going to hell if you die unsaved.

  • My answer to “Why?” under “I’m having too much fun” wouldn’t be “because sex, drugs, and rock and roll” so much as “because I love scouting rare and out-of-print Bibles for to sell to collectors, but if I became a believer I might feel like keeping them and/or feel squeamish about selling The Word of God(TM) for money, and I might start having to deal in original first editions of Darwin*, and then I would DEFINITELY go to hell, right?”

    But I’m bafflingly honest like that. 😛

    *IF ONLY I had this kind of cash….

  • ACN

    Disgusting.

    They used to have events at the church I attended (PC-USA) before becoming an atheist about sharing the bible with “the lost” that basically followed this script.

  • I think I’d point out the contradictions that they’ve already used on me:
    John 3:3 vs Romans 10:9

    Also, I always enjoy The Brick Testament. http://www.thebricktestament.com/

  • Gail

    I used to have a Bible called something like The Teenager’s Bible. Everyone I knew at church wanted one once we were about ten. See, it had these glossy pages every so often about different things, like friends, family, church, etc., but one of them was “sex,” and I think that’s the real reason everyone wanted it (sex-obsessed teenagers, shocker). I’m sure that page discussed abstinence, but all I remember about it is that is said, “Your sex drive is not like hunger, and sex isn’t like a ham and cheese sandwich.” I really have no idea what they were going for with that statement, except to perhaps explain that while we have to satisfy our urge for hunger, they think it’s perfectly natural to ignore another completely natural urge.

    I have no idea what happened to that Bible, or I’d offer to send it to you because it’s ridiculous.

    P.S. Just did a quick search- I think it’s this one: http://www.amazon.com/Teen-Devotional-Bible-Carla-Barnhill/dp/0310916542/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1304978862&sr=8-1

  • I’ve got a bible that was given to my parents at some point, that I had to keep because it seems “odd” – it’s a “Reach Out” bible (New Testament) dating from the late 1960s or early 70s. Pictures in various places have that “hippies are bad; square is good” feel to them. I’ve never read it, but I have it on my bookshelf. It was likely given to them by a door-to-door proselytizer making the rounds; neither of my parents were really religious, though they did make me go to Sunday School at a baptist church until I was about 10 years old (dropped out of “church” and scouting at the same time – I had better things to work on, like coding on my TRS-80 Color Computer)…

  • The Grandmother’s Bible. http://healthyhumanist.blogspot.com/2011/04/grandmothers-bibleyuck.html

    I also saw a kids bible book today but couldn’t even handle it due to finals sleep deprivation.

  • KeithLM

    i “binged” all these passages and they pretty much assume an existing belief in god. they actually require it. pretty weak instructions for a pro-christian argument

    This sounds very much like the “strategy” Ray Comfort uses to convert people. He quickly jumps past the part of proving there is a god and goes straight to all the warm and fuzzy nonsense of having a god that sacrifices himself for you.

  • That’s an interesting Bible you’ve got there, Hemant. It’s funny how they know we like to bring up the topic of contradictions in the Bible, but this solution seems like just a simple denial of the existence of those contradictions.

    If the Christian needs those contradictions spelled out quickly, because some people don’t accept an answer that takes more than 5 seconds to say, I always belt it out fast. Something like: “Thou shalt not kill. Kill all witches.”

    It also seems to be all about fear-mongering. Hell…sin…death…but not love? I didn’t see the word “love” in any of those instructions.

    But yes, rock and roll is still alive and well. Rush is coming to Austin! June 12, 2011 at the Frank Erwin Center. Yeah!

  • Andrew

    I was at the height of my religious fervor in middle school (thanks in no small part to the number of attractive girls in our youth group, ahem) and asked my grandma and aunt to buy me a nice leather bound Bible for Christmas.

    So they did. The Defenders Study Bible. It’s annotated by a young earth creationist Bible scholar who went through providing “scientific” proof for why the creation account was more accurate than the answers in the natural sciences. I’d known there were people who took it on faith that the earth was created a few thousand years ago, but it blew my mind to see someone trying to justify their faith with something so patently ridiculous masquerading as the scientific method.

    Suffice it to say that was the day that the nagging voice in the back of my head whispering “this is all made up bullshit” ratcheted up to a frustrated scream.

  • Seriously, Sex, drugs and rock and roll? Really? Who needs a god if that’s your life? Things should be evident clear that they’re working out fine for you if that is what you do.

  • Keith

    What strikes me about all this is how ridiculously juvenile it is. Are thinking adults really supposed to take this rubbish seriously? I can’t help but feeling sorry for anyone who thinks this Sunday School drivel is all there is to life. (end rant)

  • My parents had one (they still might have it) that I loved, even though I never really believed the contents.

    I liked it because it was beautiful. There was this whole middle section that was illustrated manuscript that captivated me with it’s beauty. I seem to remember it being the sermon on the mount. Even though I am not a believer, I always wanted to find another copy to have because it really is a beautiful book, as far as books go.

  • Vanessa

    I got The New Adventure Bible when I was 8: http://www.amazon.com/Adventure-Bible-Revised-Lawrence-Richards/dp/0310916593/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1304993100&sr=8-4

    It’s a children’s bible, but it contains everything a normal bible includes. I don’t know why anyone would give such a book to their child, what with all the violence and sex and stuff.

  • My favorite? The lolcat bible. Praise Ceiling Cat!

  • Aimee

    I had that same bible that Gail mentioned Teen Devotional Bible
    It was pretty funny and had a lot of shallow advice for teens. My grandma gave it to me and I wasn’t actually allowed to use it at my church because it was not only NIV (a bad translation by my church’s standards) but the additions made it blasphemous.

  • mark

    I see them all the time. I’ve seen the Precious Moments bible, the Thomas Kinkaid bible, The Extreme Word (for those edgy skater christians). Then there are bibles disguised as teen magazines look up “explore new testament”.

    I forgot. There is always the R. Crumb Genesis. It’s actually pretty cool.
    I’m waiting for someone to make a Manga bible.

  • sue

    I had a Good News Children’s Bible. It used the Good News Translation, but cut out most of the sex, violence and long lists of begats. Most, but not all, since my mum claims to have had to leave bits out when she read it to me.

    I don’t think I ever actually read it myself, although I may have looked at the pictures. I preferred to read my book of Greek mythology, as the stories were better. So it can’t have been that entertaining.

    I once saw a copy of the Treacle Bible though. The American Museum in Bath has one. It includes the delightful line, “Is there no treacle in Gilead?”

  • Richard Wade said:

    “Drive carefully” is a manipulation. The “mark” has been listening for quite a while by this point, but has not bitten the hook. By giving the cue that this conversation is coming to an end with an implied threat to the mark’s life, he’ll either bite or the proselytizer can stop wasting his time and move on to another mark.

    Darwin’s Dagger said:

    I don’t think the “Drive Carefully” line is an implied threat, just an attempt to remind the listener of his own mortality and the fragility of human life. It’s clearly a manipulation designed to play on the actual threat that the Christian is making, i.e. you’re going to hell if you die unsaved.

    It’s worse than what you’ve both said, if you consider what the person who said it is assumed to believe.

    Not only are we talking about a person who believes that hell literally exists, but we’re talking about a person who would be willing to joke about someone possibly going there. If the Biblical version of hell exists, it’s a lake of fire where people suffer for eternity. The “drive carefully” remark is a frighteningly cavalier dismissal. It’s basically saying “I’m not bothered enough by the thought of you suffering for eternity to do anything more than be flippant about it.”

    As for funny Bibles… I’ve seen two.

    First, the Evidence Bible, which is put out by our dear friend Ray Comfort. Used to love it, back when I was a creationist. Full of anti-science lunacy.

    Second, the HCSB Apologetics Study Bible for Students. I saw it at Barnes & Noble one day and noticed the cover said “Hard Questions, Straight Answers.” After taking a look at some of the answers they gave and trying not to break down laughing in the store, I literally went through and photographed every single “answer” they gave so that I could go back and refute them later…

    We’re talking things like “the Bible says that the moral law is written on the hearts of men, and if there’s a moral law written on the hearts of men, there must be a moral lawgiver.” For serious. Page 96. Or, when challenged that imperfection in the natural world is evidence against a Designer, they say So What? Just because some things aren’t perfect doesn’t mean they’re not designed. Err… a perfect designer can screw stuff up, really? Or “it was okay for God to command the Israelites to commit genocide because those commands were meant for a certain time and place, and God had promised his people the land the victims lived on, and those guys didn’t believe in God’s miracles anyways so they totally deserved it. But (hand wave, hand wave) God’s character is totally consistent throughout the Bible.”

  • Carlie

    That convoluted list of directions on how to proceed reminds me:
    When I was basically deconverted, but still going to church for the social/family aspects, the pastor did a sermon on witnessing in which he said “You have to really know your Bible verses to do this, because there’s really no way to just read the Bible straight through and understand the path to salvation.”
    And I thought “Don’t you think that’s an important enough thing that God would have made it pretty clear-cut? If you have to cut and paste different parts of the Bible to get your story together, that might be some indication that it’s a bs story…”

  • I only have a regular Bible. Nothing fun or entertaining about it. Words on a page. It was useful for when I was a Christian and going to (THE BEST) Bible Study because it had ample room to write down stuff and notes and references.

    (and seriously, this Bible Study was really good. I would still go to it if the Pastor hadn’t been kicked out of the church because of how thorough it was.)

  • ACN

    And I thought “Don’t you think that’s an important enough thing that God would have made it pretty clear-cut? If you have to cut and paste different parts of the Bible to get your story together, that might be some indication that it’s a bs story…”

    A commenter on pharyngula said something really funny about this recently. I think it was:

    This message of salvation is SO IMPORTANT, and yet the only way it ever gets delivered is….

    1) A book that is so confusing and contradictory that people still can’t agree on its point after thousands of years of study.

    2) Voices in your head.

    3) Bad weather and earthquakes.

    4) Burnt toast.
    I had an arrangement with a former friend that soured, and as a result I’m forced to raise my kids in this tiny house surrounded by freeways. It’s virtually guaranteed that without my guidance my kids will get hit by a car, so to teach them about road safety I’m going to compose a parable about four lemmings and some tin snips, dictate it in English to a transcriptionist who’s only really fluent in Quechua, and then mail that book to Seychelles.

    That’s how much I love my kids.

  • Do any of you have really entertaining Bibles?

    The Surfers Bible, which we picked up in a small town on the coast of New South Wales, published by The Bible Society in Australia Inc. It’s not a compendium of surfing advice, as you might think (and hope); rather, it’s the new testament interspersed with quotes from surfers about coming to Jesus, and desperately (and comically) trying to tie the two together. The cover includes the following: “Warning: This book contains explicit life changing material” under pictures of rad waves. You’ll love it, it’s a must for your new collection.

  • Stogoe

    Reginald Selkirk already posted about my new favorite illustrated book of bible stories, which I picked up at the American Atheists convention in April. It is truly, truly great, with one caveat – there’s only one NT story, with the demons and pigs. I had never seen that website, though, so now I get to enjoy the ones available for free on the site.

  • I collect Bibles. One of the ones I have is the Apologetics Study Bible, which contains essays that are meant to explain certain parts of the book and offer answers to questions a person might have. I’ve only reason a few of the essays so far, but they seem like the kind of thing that would only sound convincing if you already believe it, not something that would convince another person to believe.

    I’ve seen various Bibles with a brief advice page to the reader (though none as detailed as this). The most frequent advice I’ve seen is to pray before reading the Bible—essentially asking that you have to believe it before reading the book.

    A couple of months ago, I had a short conversation with a couple of ladies from the Campus Crusade for Christ at my college, and their arguments were similarly simplistic.

    -Ani Sharmin

  • Brian Smith

    What?! No love for the “Bugger All This” Bible, published by Billiton and Scagge, re-discovered by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett and reported in “Good Omens”?

    THE BUGGRE ALLE THIS BIBLE
    The book was commonly known as the Buggre Alle This Bible. The lengthy compositor’s error, if such it may be called, occurs in the book of Ezekiel, chapter 48, verse five:

    2. And bye the border of Dan, fromme the east side to the west side, a portion for Afher.
    3. And bye the border of Afhter, fromme the east side even untoe the west side, a portion for Naphtali.
    4. And bye the border of Naphtali, from the east side untoe the west side, a portion for Manaffeh.
    5. Buggre all this for a Larke. I amme sick to mye Hart of typefettinge. Master Biltonn if no Gentelmann, and Master Scagges noe more than a tighte fisted Southwarke Knobbefticke. I telle you, onne a daye laike thif Ennywone half an oz. of Sense should bee oute in the Sunneshain, ane nott Stucke here alle the liuelong daie inn thif mowldey olde By-Our-Lady Workefhoppe. @*Ӯ@;!*
    6 And bye the border of Ephraim, from the east fide even untoe the west fide, a portion for Reuben.

  • ShellyD99

    I have a Quest Study Bible from 1994. It has a question-and-answer format, and one answer I found especially revealing (and unsettling at the time):

    In 1 Chronicles 18, 4-5, David is said to have captured 1,000 chariots, 7,000 charioteers, 20,000 foot soldiers, etc. Here’s the response to “How can such large numbers be explained?”

    “The scribes who copied the Bible in past centuries sometimes misread the numerals…Such copying errors, however, do not undermine the authority of the Bible; differences in numbers do not challenge the Bible’s critical essence.”

    So they admit there ARE errors in the Bible…just trivial numerical ones? How reassuring that the mistakes don’t affect the Bible’s “critical essence”…which is what, exactly?

  • Dave B

    In 1 Chronicles 18, 4-5, David is said to have captured 1,000 chariots, 7,000 charioteers, 20,000 foot soldiers, etc. Here’s the response to “How can such large numbers be explained?”

    “The scribes who copied the Bible in past centuries sometimes misread the numerals…Such copying errors, however, do not undermine the authority of the Bible; differences in numbers do not challenge the Bible’s critical essence.”

    Do they have a similar bit about how the miraculous things the bible says about Jesus are also just transcription errors?

  • Anna

    I have a Bible called something like “The Young Catholic’s Bible,” that had a section that included “Everything you need to know about Catholicism.” It was complete with examples on how to deal with “My Buddy’s Gay,” and “You, God, and Sex.”. The latter contained a conversation between a teen boy and God.

    I could figure out whether to laugh or weep when I read it…

    Keep in mind this is a pretty recent edition; I’m only 13…

  • Its not really a complete Bible, but there is the Robert Crumb illustrated Genesis

  • JD

    “with fear and trembling”? I wonder how often this works, it’s like the script of someone’s fantasy conversion.

  • ACN

    So they admit there ARE errors in the Bible…just trivial numerical ones? How reassuring that the mistakes don’t affect the Bible’s “critical essence”…which is what, exactly?

    Agreed. This always seemed like a bizarre argument to me. If this were god’s literary masterpiece intended to reveal his divine plan for salvation to humanity, why are there any errors in it at all? Could god not be bothered to make sure the scribes got some basic numerals correct?

  • When the Living Bible came out decades ago, my family sat around the living room reading verses in all the different versions we had. It was enlightening. The Living Bible isn’t even a translation–just a paraphrase. I happily recycled a couple of those. The Bible is a wonderful book (especially the Old Testament) so long as no one requires you to believe it. I especially enjoy the battle stories.

  • Jackal

    Unfortunately I don’t remember the name of this particular bible, but my mother had a 1965 edition that had been translated into plain English to appeal to hip modern youth…with hilarious consequences. For instance, when Job is done yelling at God, God sighs and replies, “Now, Job, don’t make a federal case out of this.”

    Pretty sure the publisher did not intend for that to be quite as funny as it was.