- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 1, 2010

This being Holy Week, it’s the season for Bibles, judging from all the recent releases on my desk. Although there are already 7.5 billion copies distributed of the world’s best-selling book, publishers are always looking for that new niche audience.

Which is why Zondervan has issued its pink-and-hot-pink leather-bound “Busy Moms Bible” with the slogan “daily inspiration if you only have one minute.” As the single mom of a 4-year-old, I know that to be pretty accurate in terms of available time.

The Busy Moms Bible is simply a New International Version with multicolored inserts containing short meditations. One, called “pillow talk,” is a pep talk about sexuality with a verse from the Song of Songs. “If you’re just enduring sex rather than enjoying it, then you need to talk to your husband,” the insert says before listing some of the problem areas.

“When you talk openly about your sex life, it will flourish,” it concludes. Really?

Inspiration-lite meditation topics range from in-laws, remarriage, divorce and disciplining children to mentoring other women, aging and money. There are two lists: one of verses arranged by topic on typical women’s concerns and one of the Bible’s 30 most prominent women.

But I noted there is nothing on single moms; a weird omission in that 10.4 million of America’s 80.5 million mothers are doing it alone. This is no study Bible; unfortunately there are no research notes on motherhood or even a concordance specific to the topic.

Let us hope that Zondervan will do a better job next fall with its promised “Faithgirlz Bible.”

Next on the pile is HarperOne’s Green Bible, the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), with environmental verses in green ink and a forward by retired South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The green lettering, the preface says, is meant to highlight how the Bible speaks to “how we should think and act as we confront the environmental crisis facing our planet.”

The two “greenest” books of the Bible are, apparently, Psalms and Genesis.

In the back is a ‘green subject index’ with listings such as “farm,” “fruitful” and “birds.” The paperback is made of recycled paper and soy-based ink. This version at least tells us the number of references to the earth found in the Bible (more than 1,000) and furnishes us with an accompanying Web site (greenletterbible.com), containing an endorsement from the Sierra Club.

At the end comes a “green trail guide” with study questions. I am assuming the eco-justice crowd is the target market for this one.

Harper has also produced “The Catholic Faith and Family Bible,” an NRSV that also features green ink highlights (must be a trend this year) plus study notes inserted into the actual text. Lectionary readings, Mass instructions and traditional Catholic prayers are included along with an index that for the “women in the church” category selected the more inclusive Romans 16:1-16 passage instead of texts on women being silent (1 Cor. 14:34 and 1 Tim 2:11-12).

Near the end is something you won’t see in Protestant Bibles - a commentary stating that the “woman with child clothed by the sun” in Revelation 12 is, in fact, Our Lady of Guadalupe. A commentary on John 12 talks about Pope John Paul II and the canonization of 103 Korean martyrs.

It used to be the Bible was a reflection of God. Now it is a reflection of us.

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