Let me first state, that the bible itself is a beautiful work, detailed, grand, majestic, and sturdy – yet that only makes it more difficult to read. I wonder how well the Orthodox Study Bible would have done had Thomas Nelson devoted half the attention to that publication as it had to this one. The text is NKJV.
While many are declaring that this bible is a ‘study’ bible, in no way does it measure up to that title (I recommend the NLT Study Bible, if you need one.) Instead, it is propaganda for the religious right — and even conservatives should cry foul over this one. To be honest, I can see this work becoming a bible for many of the homeschooling right. It is a textbook for those that so often confuse American history with salvific history, who confuse the United States with either Israel or the Church.
It includes a U.S. map, the order of statehood and the ‘Seven Principles of the Judeo-Christian Ethic, which, by the way, was only recently invented by the likes of Scofield and Darby. Here are a few:
- Dignity of Life? Really, meaning like the Trail of Tears, the turning away of Jews escaping the Holocaust before WWII, the smallpox blankets, and slavery?
- Right to a God-centered education? Not sure where that is enshrined at, but I know who that is pointed to.
- The Abrahamic Covenant is superseded by the New Covenant. They wholly misuse it, citing the text ‘that if a nation obeys God’…yet, that nation was Israel then, the Church today, not a geo-political entity like the United States.
It includes a Call to Actions as well, which is a political diatribe meant to play on fears. Citing 2nd Chronicles 7.14 (if My people who are called by my name…), they apply it to the United States. Again, the confusion between the United States and a biblical understanding of what a ‘nation’ and a ‘people’ are is deep.
This is a holy book, or is supposed to be, and not a magazine — so why is it that pictures of all manners of men (but rarely women) pictured. Whether or not you like our current President, his stated personal understanding of Christ should dismiss him from being in a Bible. The same goes for Lincoln and others who used religion as propaganda in a time of war or national crisis. Do you really think that quotes by John F. Kennedy should be included in God’s word?
At the beginning of each book, in each section (Torah, Writings, Poetry, etc…) they have images of American history. For the Torah, they have WWII soldiers, pictures of brothers during the Late War of North Aggression, and the preamble of the Constitution. I can only image that this is representative of Exodus, with Israel’s flight to political liberty. The Minor Prophets include pictures of pioneers while the Gospels have the planting of a flag and lighthouse – because, you know, Christ died to make this country free.
In a section titled “Christianity and the American Frontier” they fail to mention that a lot of times, “the American Frontier” was inhabited by natives who were forcibly removed from their land as “America” marched towards manifest destiny.
In another, “The American Revolution,” they make an erroneous conclusion in speaking of the American Revolution and the Founding Fathers – “they saw them (the charges in the Declaration) as a part of the predetermined plan to take away their religious liberties and reestablish the Church of England to rule over their hearts and souls, thus enslaving the colonies.” Really? What evidence of that is there, especially in the Declaration itself? Wasn’t the battle cry, “No taxation without representation?” And wasn’t the majority of American leaders members of said Church?
In the same section, they note that it was the Churches (many of them Episcopalian) which fueled the ‘fires of liberty’. This book credits the ministers with urging a transformation of theory of Romans 13 – almost as if they are speaking to people today. They note ‘ministers turned the colonial resistance into a righteous cause.’
The APB is not a study bible, or a bible that I recommend buying, reading, or giving. It fuels the confusion that plagues us today – that somehow, we are above all, the only ‘nation’ which God has blessed. The product description reads:
THE ONE BIBLE THAT SHOWS HOW ‘A LIGHT FROM ABOVE’ SHAPED OUR NATION. Never has a version of the Bible targeted the spiritual needs of those who love our country more than The American Patriot’s Bible. This extremely unique Bible shows how the history of the United States connects the people and events of the Bible to our lives in a modern world. The story of the United States is wonderfully woven into the teachings of the Bible and includes a beautiful full-color family record section, memorable images from our nation’s history and hundreds of enlightening articles which complement the New King James Version Bible text.
Friends, the bible is not about a single geo-political entity – it is about the God shaping salvation for humanity. Honestly, it makes me weep for my country.