Home > Brian's Blogs > Save the Trees…Don’t Buy a Green Bible

Save the Trees…Don’t Buy a Green Bible

Environmentalism is all the rage.  It also happens to be a big money maker…a BIG money maker.  So when Harper publishes its Green Bible, is it really concerned about “being green” or “receiving green”?

The purpose of The Green Bible is to “equip and encourage you to see God’s vision for creation and help you engage in the work of healing and sustaining it.”  Not only this, but it practices what it preaches: it is produced with 10% post-consumer waste!  In addition to the Word of God, it includes “inspirational essays from key leaders such as N. T. Wright, Barbara Brown Taylor, Brian McLaren, Matthew Sleeth, Pope John Paul II, and Wendell Berry. As you read the scriptures anew, The Green Bible will help you see that caring for the earth is not only a calling, but a lifestyle.”

While I am not a hard-core environmentalist, my theology does take into consideration environmental care:  I do believe that God has placed humanity as the stewards of his creation (Gen. 1:28-29) and I do believe that God’s mission is a mission to redeem all of creation (Rom. 8:22; 2 Cor. 5:19; Rev. 21-22).  Furthermore, I believe that humanity has often abused God’s creation out of selfish, economic motives.

That being said, something about The Green Bible makes me cringe.  I’m not exactly sure what it is, but I think it is one of the following.

  1. The Green Bible seems to be a marketing ploy to make money.  Of course this isn’t the stated reason for making the Green Bible, but the Gideons are the only ones I know who give away Bibles for free!  This feels like an idea concocted in some marketing room, perhaps from the same people who created the children’s study bible, teens study bible, men’s study bible, women’s study bible, husband’s study bible, wife’s study bible, couple’s devotional bible, hunter’s devotional bible, etc, etc, etc.
  2. The Green Bible seems to be bad hermeneutics.  If the first step of hermeneutics is to discover the original intent of the author, how valid is it to assume that the original authors were thinking of the environmental crisis as we know it?  I don’t deny there is a legitimate application at times, but this goes too far.  Printing creation-care passages in green ink (soy, nonetheless!) implies that the main idea behind that particular passage is creation care.  I’ve not read this Bible but I can not fathom that there should be too many passages in green!

I want to do my part as a steward of god’s creation, but The Green Bible just isn’t going to be a part of my stewardship.  I’ll stick to my trustworthy old Bible that has its most important parts already printed in red.

  1. mike
    October 15, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    I wonder what they do when they come to the red letters! I’m not sure what you get when you mix red and green, but it sounds Christmassy.

  2. October 24, 2008 at 10:54 am

    So, greenwash has finally invaded christian industry as well. I suppose it was going to get there eventually.

    Most producers wimply don;t have the technology or market expertise to fully assess how “green” their productino processes are. A full lifecycle analysis of a Bible, for instance, would require the measurement of business practices in the wood, pulp, chermical, ink, transport, communications and energy industries (at a minimum).

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