I’ve blogged this topic before. No, not breast cancer: Bibles. Blue Bibles, pink Bibles, rainbow hued Bibles, Bibles for banana lovers, Bibles for cat lovers and mouse haters and Bibles printed on recycled paper for those who value the environment more than high quality print. No doubt there are even Bibles especially designed for balancing on your nose at fancy dress parties so that when the bouncers ask what you’ve come as you can say, “God knows.” Don’t worry, it’s late at night and my mind is running wild…
Seriously, do we need this? When does use of the Bible become abuse of the Bible as publishers set out to exploit every human weakness simply to sell another Bible? Or is this a genuine attempt by HarperCollins to meet a sector of the community where they are? Not a commercial decision, then, but one born out an honest desire to reach people with the words of eternal life? Except I look at the cover of that Bible and see those immortal words, Limited Edition: no, this isn’t about making the Bible available, it’s about making the most from a sales pitch targeted towards a particularly vulnerable group of people.
Had it been about making the Bible more accessible, about highlighting its relevance to their needs then yes, in this case, I think that I could actually see it. I’ve lost friends and family to cancer. I have friends who’ve had mastectomies and live with the constant fear of their cancer recurring. Would or could a special — special, not limited — edition Bible have brought or bring them some comfort?
But in the meantime as we seek to serve more and more niche markets with niche products, millions of people remain without the Bible in their own language, and if but a fraction of the investment made by publishers such as HarperCollins in these fancy dress accessory styled Bibles were to be made in Wycliffe’s Bible translation projects then, perhaps, some real light would begin to shine in humanity’s darkness.
Now, if you haven’t already done so, go read Alicia Cohn’s Breast Cancer and the Bible for even more questions; and as for beating breast cancer — and other forms of cancer — there are surely better ways than branding (or brandishing!) the Bible: run10k.org for one amongst many.
- Response from Eddie Arthur: Exploitative Bibles?