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On October 7, publisher HarperOne is taking a bold new step in Bible publishing: The Green Bible. It’s an environmentally friendly Bible, in terms of its packaging — 10% post-consumer recycled paper, soy-based ink, cotton binding — but that’s not really what makes it so groundbreaking.
The Green Bible’s stated purpose 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.” To accomplish that goal, it includes ecologically minded essays by Brian McLaren, N.T. Wright, Desmond Tutu, and Matthew Sleeth. No problem there. I like all those guys. But what’s crazy and new about this Bible is that it takes the old idea of putting the words of Christ in red and tweaks it for environmental stewardship. In the Green Bible, every verse in reference to creation care and stewardship of the earth is printed in green ink. It’s a green-letter Bible! (You can browse through its pages here.)
I personally think this is brilliant, and will kick off the next wave in niche Bible publishing. Some ideas:
1. The Orange Bible: Highlights all the verses about the fires, tortures, and other punishments of hell.
2. The Gold Bible: Highlights all the verses in which God makes it perfectly clear he wants you to be rich. And as long as we’re doing something new and different, the four Gospels would be renamed “The Prosperity Gospel of Matthew” and “The Prosperity Gospel of Mark” and so on.
3. The Blue Bible: Highlights all the times the psalmists and other depressed prophets doubted God’s presence or activity in their lives. This Bible would not sell nearly as well as the Gold Bible.
4. The Dark Red Bible: Highlights all the biblical verses depicting violence and bloodshed. This Bible would probably end up getting banned, though. You’re not supposed to call attention to that stuff.
5. The Lavender Bible: Highlights all the verses involving promiscuity, fornication, and other sexual activity. This also would be banned, for the reasons stated above.
6. The Not-Pink Bible: Highlights the verses that proclaim the sinfulness of homosexuality.
7. The Secret Last Days Bible: Highlights, in invisible ink, all the verses that offer a coded blueprint for the End Times.
8. The Light-Green Bible: Highlights, in a perfectly lovely light shade of green, all the Bible verses mentioning cucumbers. (Unfortunately, there’s only one: Isaiah 1:8 — KJV)
Let me know if I’ve missed any.