I stand in Family Christian, perusing the bibles, admitting defeat. Defeat because what I want isn’t here, I know that. It never has been and it likely never will be. The closest I ever came to what I want was at Sam’s Club, of all places, but that one opportunity came and slipped away.
I look at the bibles and cannot decide whether to be amused or impressed. I pause for a moment on the Women of Color Study Bible. Clearly not for me. The very thought of a bible existing that is “clearly not for me” lingers in my mind as I ponder the American Patriot’s Bible. I wonder about the various women’s bibles and why none have ever attracted my interest.
So many titles, so many choices. I am a bit overwhelmed when I notice a title that seems out of place: The Case for Christ. Mis-shelved? No, it is an actual bible, edited by Lee Strobel.
I can’t decide exactly what I think of all the titles for a single book. A single book which was written to all of us, now continually rewritten, retranslated, repackaged and remarketed to increasingly focused “niche” markets.
A single book, written to unite us, now seems to segregate us into individual markets. The Sportsman’s Bible, the Policeman’s Bible, the Keepsake Bride’s Bible. All of a sudden, the Bible is reminding me of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, except that it is the same material. The same material repackaged, with new supplemental material.
I finally settle on The Archeological Study Bible. I have been looking at it for awhile, intrigued by the promise of archeological and cultural references. I have picked it up several times, but this evening I have admitted defeat and take my selection to the counter.
Because I know what I want. I want something of a family bible. A large book with large print to sit impressively on my dining room table as we read it together. An illustrated book. Beautifully illustrated.
What I want has existed in the past. The Dore Bible is an excellent example. Imagine how the mind of a child could be stimulated pouring over beautiful illustrations like this:
And how his mind would be drawn into the story. Art that does not merely illustrate, but captivates.
The 1846 Illuminated Bible (an audio introduction will start) is the one I almost purchased. With over 1600 detailed illustrations, it is something to behold. It has something to draw each member of our family in as we read together.
But even the reproduction runs close to $300, and the originals in the thousands. A family bible should be something the children are allowed to touch. To take to their rooms. To refer to throughout the day.
Apparently my niche market isn’t quite large enough to justify the publishing costs of such an impressive volume. But wouldn’t it be lovely…