The Manual

One of my blog posts that generated the most interest was on Bibles.  I thought I’d therefore devote a regular posting to individual Bibles.  The one I’ll focus on tonight is called “The Manual.”

The Manual
The Manual

(ISBN #0310940990).  It is not something one is likely to find in the typical Presbyterian or Methodist oriented bookstore.

This Bible, published by Zondervan, is aimed at men.  I found this interesting because while there is a plethora of women’s study Bibles, ones aimed at men are much rarer (just as men are rarer in the pews).  This particular one is filled with myths that men buy into in our 21st century world, illustrations, and reflective sidebars to particular passages (which they called “downshift”).  Even the cover is a good and manly forest green!

Most mainstream denominations would not promote this Bible.  First, it is the ubiquitous NIV translation which you find in evangelical versus mainline churches.  Second, it’s approach is somewhat conservative and when women are discussed they are always reflected on as mothers, wives, and daughters rather than as superiors or subordinates or leaders in the church.  Third, the men who do attend mainline churches do not typically gather for Bible studies in this day and age.

Although I would put a different spin on some of their sidebars, I applaud Zondervan for going after some of the very people we most need back in the church.  It is a good thing that women are viewed in mainline churches as equals and we celebrate their ministry and the difference they make in the cause for Christ.  But we should not and cannot accept as the default assumption forever that church is just more a venue for women and we should not always accept a 65-35 balance that is typical in mainline congregations.

Christ calls us as men and women before God and  Christ’s Church needs an equal balance of the sexes in its leadership, ministry, and programming.

Check it out online, or the next time you’re walking through a Barnes and Nobles or Borders, or even better stop by my office and I can show it to you and we can talk about it.

All the best and until next time,

Tom

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