We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Marketing God’s Word

Just when you get to thinking that there is nothing else they can do to the Bible to provide more income for the publishers, out comes a new one.
There are Bibles out there in just about every design possible, and today I even saw a “clutch purse” version called - appropriately - the “Clutch.”  Study Bibles, Charismatic Bibles, teen Bibles, children’s Bibles, etc, etc, etc.
Now we have “The Story.”  The advertisement tells us, The Story was created to turn everyday people into devoted Bible readers - pastors tell us it’s working!”  Essentially a chronological Bible, it uses the NIV translation in a condensed version.
I looked at one at Barnes & Nobel today as I shopped for a particular book, and could see no benefit.  The publishers are always looking for more ways to get rich off of God’s Word, and suckers oblige them by the minute.
I guess I want to know why we need another chronological version.  Back in 1993 I purchased “The Gospels Interwoven,” which had been out since 1987, and it is a chronological version of the Gospels using the NIV.  It was such an interesting way to read Scripture that in 1996 I picked up a copy of “The Narrated Bible in Chronological Order,” also using the NIV.  It is copyright 1984 and I have still seen it in Christian book stores as late as last year!  So if a person wants a chronological version, why not just get that one?
OH, that’s right; we must dumb down our translations to make them appealing as a book, which is why The Story is a condensed version - sort of like a “Reader’s Digest” condensed book.  Of course it includes “a timeline, maps and charts, character sketches, discussion questions, and an epilogue.”   Boy, am I glad it has an epilogue!  But the text itself has been altered: “It’s almost entirely Scripture.
And don’t think Zondervan stopped with just the book; marketing this sort of commodity takes imagination to garner the most gold from the world.  Here are some products of “The Story” for your purchasing pleasure:
The Story Audio CD

The Story Curriculum DVD and Participant’s Guide (Adult small group curriculum).
The Story: Teen Edition with features designed to resonate with teens,” including “fun flip animation on each page.”
Teen curriculum DVD (companion to the Teen Edition)
The Story for Kids, this time using the dumbed-down NIrV.  This is so “kids can discover God’s great love story.”
The Story for Kids: Later Elementary Curriculum  with CD-ROM
The Story Trading Cards: Elementary”
The Story for Little Ones
“The Story for Little Ones: Preschool curriculum with CD-ROM
The Story Trading Cards: Preschool
Don’t forget that you can “Help your church grow and have a greater impact” if you purchase their “Church Campaign Kit” for a limited-time offer of $149.99 (normally $300).  This kit includes:
The Story, NIV
The Heart of the Story, by Randy Frazee
The Story Curriculum DVD and Participant’s Guide
The Story for Teens and DVD Curriculum
The Story for Kids, Ages 9-12, and CD-ROM
The Story for Children, Ages 6-8, and CD-ROM
The Story for Little Ones, Ages 5 and under, and CD-ROM
Two packs of The Story Trading Cards: Elementary Age and Pre-school age.
Implementation Guide
Resource DVD
Online access to Resource Library
Did you notice the “Implementation Guide”?  Looks like they want to implement The Story as the only version for use in your church!  After all, you can’t just have people here and there using this version; we need curriculum for indoctrinating all ages into a dumbed-down version of the Bible.
Then we have also available:
Exploring the Story, by Adam T. Barr.  This is “A Reference Companion”
The Heart of the Story, by Randy Frazee
The Story of Jesus, NIV
Finally, if you order $250 or more worth of The Story merchandise, they will send you free of charge Max Locado’s “God’s Story, Your Story,” billed as a “Six-session Church Campaign and Small Group Curriculum.”  This set includes,
“God’s Story, Your Story” in hardcover
DVD with video teachings, sermon resources and promotional material
Participant’s Guide
Getting Started Guide
All this information is in a Zondervan catalog I received in the mail.
So why do we need this Bible version?  Are our pastors and teachers that lacking in ability to teach from the Word of God without curriculums and programs?  Isn’t the NIV readable enough as it is that it doesn’t need to be made into gimmicks to draw an audience?  How in the world were we able to reach people, including the youth, in times past without all the new gimmicks?  Cultures change, but people don’t, so what purpose does this version serve other than to bring more gold into Zondervan’s till?
Well, I guess I’d much rather see this one in public instead of “The Message.

3 comments:

Committed Christian said...

"The Story"? I never heard of that one. They are coming up with new "translations" so fast I cannot keep up with it. And it is s shame that they are changing the meaning of the Bible, in order to make a buck! May the Lord put an end to this quickly...

ali said...

The NIV - The Nearly Inspired Version.

What will they think of next.??.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Ali,

Actually, there is no such thing as an "inspired" version of the Bible other than the original, which we do not have.