Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Fashion Update for an Ancient Book

Back in the day -- back when I was a lowly seminary student (early 1980s) I worked in a Christian bookstore selling Bibles. Back then there were quite a few options, but nothing like today. The NIV was brand new and I was still a fan of the NASB. But as far as editions it was pretty much hardback, leather, paper or imitation leather -- color choices ran from black to burgundy. There were a few study bibles, but not that many. Even then making a decision could take some time.

Well how things have changed. Not only are there many more translations available -- I'm partial to the NRSV (see my bookstore in the sidebar) -- but there are many other choices. Stephanie Simon wrote a Column One piece yesterday (Christmas Day) entitled: "Selling the Good Book by its cover." The focus was primarily on Zondervan, which has sought to bring the Bible up-to-date with all numbers of fabrics and colors, as well as niched bibles for every age and interest (personally I'm waiting for a Hugh Hefner edition).

There are Magna bibles and teen fashion themed one. Why all this effort --- well, how else to you get people to buy Bibles (still the number one selling book) to an American populace -- 91% of whose households already own one? The question is how far is too far? And when does the Bible get lost in its wrappings?

One last thing -- there seem to be so many choices out there that half the buyers go home empty handed -- confused. My suggestion is go to my bookstore and buy one of the NRSV's listed!

So, if you've been wondering about all of this -- read the article here and let me know what you think.

6 comments:

Drew said...

I like the Oxford and HarperCollins Study NRSV's. I also use the ASV and the NKJV for exegesis.

But the last time I bought a bible I was amazed at how many super expensive bibles with pictures and nice flashy binding and crappy notes with lousy theology for kids. I was thinking, this is not really what God had in mind is it?

Pastor Bob Cornwall said...

Drew,

This is one of the after affects of a Mainline decline -- There isn't a progressive children's bible out there. Maybe Harper will catch on!

Dwight said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dwight said...

Amen for a progressive kids Bible.

I still have the NRSV Bible my pastor gave me when I graduated from high school but over the last number of years I've fallen in love with the language of the New English Bible. Now it's become my version of choice.

Juniper said...

Ok, this post is like a 1000 years old in blog-time, but did you know that it is actually the ONLY thing that comes up when you google "progressive children's bible" ?? Evidently the sad state of affairs you noted here way back in 2007 continues.

And, btw, do you have any suggestions for Bibles to give to third graders that arent plagued with - as Drew notes - crappy notes and lousy theology? Last year I gave away some that I found lying around the church library (they were so pretty! and still wrapped in their plastic!) and they were so offensive and horrible,we ended up just ripping out the "life guide" sections in the back. would like to not have to do that again this year...

Pastor Bob Cornwall said...

Juniper, it is unfortunate that children's bibles tend to have problems. There is the artwork for one, and often the study helps are way too conservative.

I don't have a good answer to the question -- but I'll try to see if anything pops up.