A shift is needed…

Why does this exist?  Magazine Bibles, in other words, Bibles that look like teen magazines?

Magazine Bibles?!

So, as you browse your local Christian bookstore for a good Ted Dekker thriller, or a Beverly Lewis Amish fiction novel, your teenager walks up to you with the latest Christan magazine in his/her hands.  You notice topics on the cover like: “Girls Spill it All“, “How To Live What You Believe“, and “Are You Dating a Godly Guy?”.  After picking a Frank Peretti supernatural, semi-horror book you ask, “What do you have there?”

To which your kid responds, “The Bible.”

Double take.

Why does this exist?  Why do we need to have the Bible in the format of a magazine?  What purpose does that serve?  It has stories from real teens in it that are dealing with the same things you’re dealing with right now?  It has lists of things to do to grow closer to God?  It teaches you how to gain the attention of the cute guy or girl at school in a “Christian” way?  SO DOES A TEEN STUDY BIBLE!

These quotes come from the website of Tomas Nelson, the publisher of these “Bibles”:

From the magazine Bible for girls, Revolve: Complete New Testament:

In focus groups, online polling, and one-on-one discussion, Transit Books has found that the number one reason teens don’t read the Bible is that it is “too big and freaky looking.” This fashion-magazine format for the New Testament is the perfect solution to that problem. Teen girls feel comfortable exploring the Scriptures in the New Century Version and over 500 further-study notes because of the relevant language and format!

Revolve is the new look for teen Bible publishing!

  • Blabs (Q & A)
  • 12 monthly calendars
  • Issue articles
  • Bible Basics
  • Quizzes
  • Beauty Secrets
  • Guys Speak Out!
  • Relationship articles
  • Devotional Reading Plans
  • and more . . .

Source Link: http://www.thomasnelson.com/consumer/product_detail.asp?sku=0718003586

From the magazine Bible for guys, Refuel: Complete New Testament:

This is a totally cool new way for teen guys to read the Bible. Formatted like a sports or entertainment magazine, this New Testament Bible comes to life with relevant application. Based on the success of Revolve, and in response to tremendous customer feedback, this Bible is sure to be a hit!

Includes great topics like:

  • Inside Her Head: Real Girls Give Their Opinions
  • 172 Lists: On Everything
  • Look Cool: Tips on Your Self
  • Dive In: How to Make Your Faith Real
  • 240 Ways to Walk the Walk

Source Link: http://www.thomasnelson.com/consumer/product_detail.asp?sku=0718006763

I understand that being a Christian in public school (or even Christian school for that matter) can be very hard in this day and age.  Christianity is looked down upon by a lot of people.  Bringing a Bible to school may be looked at as preachy and uncool.  However, at least it’s just a Bible, and people know what it is and what it stands for (even if that idea is twisted in their minds).  These magazine Bibles are just a stupid way to have a Bible without people knowing you have one.  “Oh, I may be laughed at if I bring my Bible to school.  But if I bring this Bible that looks like a magazine…maybe I can get away with it without being ridiculed.”  Or its just an attempt to make the Bible more edgy!  “Look at my magazine, I bet you didn’t think would be a Bible, did ya?  Cool, right?”

What are you trying to hide?  Shouldn’t you let your light shine?  Why are you ashamed of being a Christian?  Why do you have to hide your Bible in a teen magazine format?  I agree that it’s tough, I agree that it’s hard.  But I disagree with this product!   Look at it this way…people mock you for bringing a Bible to school.  Do you think they’ll mock you less because your Bible looks like a fashion or sports periodical?   Don’t you think that the unsaved community would look at that–a Bible hiding in a magazine trying to look cooler than a normal Bible–and think better of Christians?  I think just the opposite will happen.  Most people will look at that and think it’s just another cheesy Christian gimmick…and frankly, I would agree with them.

I’m not a teenager anymore, but I am a Christian, and I have more than one Bible in my home.  None of them look like, nor did they ever look like, magazines.  Why?  Because it’s completely pointless!  If a teen wants a good Bible that’s geared for their age group, then get a good teen study Bible.  They’re out there, I know, I’ve seen them.  Heck, I still have mine.  They (if you get a good one, that is) have everything a teen may want in a Bible.  These “magazine Bibles” are just a Christian gimmick in a shameful attempt to look “cool”.  What do these have to offer that a normal Bible can’t…other than a place to hide your faith?  How can this, a cheesy attempt to reach people, be used to actually accomplish its goal, especially when what they are trying to do is so obvious…and stupid?

So tell me, why does this exist?  Because, I sure as heck can’t.

P.S.  Please don’t take this post to mean that I have a problem with the Word of God.  I don’t.  Also, please don’t take it to mean that I hate Christian teen magazines with topics that will interest them.  I don’t mean that.  I have a problem with THIS product.  A Bible that looks like a magazine, I think it’s cheesy.  Maybe this blog post should have been more about “Christian products” as a whole, but alas, that, more broad, subject must wait for another time.

P.S.S.  CLARIFICATION: I am not saying that if you, or if someone you know has this kind of a Bible, they’re wrong and bad Christians.  In fact, I think it’s great that Thomas Nelson is trying to find a way to get Teens to read their Bibles, and if this helps them do that, that’s awesome!  This blog post was about the reason why we, as an American culture, need a product like this.  Mind you, this is all my personal opinion.  And in that opinion, I state that the idea of a Bible in the shape of a magazine is unnecessary.  Also, I’m not saying that any teen who has one is trying to hide that they’re a Christian, I was just using the ones who would do that as the example.  I’m sorry if I offended anyone, that was not my intent.

Don’t forget to check out the last Why Does This Exist?:  Teen Paranormal Romance Section


Comments on: "Why Does This Exist? – Magazine Bibles" (9)

  1. I don’t think the point of these magazine Bibles are so that the readers of it can hide its identity. It is an attempt by the publishers of these magazine/Bibles to connect and relate to today’s teens.

    I think these are great. They have very relevant tips for teens that teens actually care about. When I was a teen, I cared very much about the topics that you so callously lambasted in this post: The opinions of girls, how to show my faith in a secular school/society, and ways to make myself look good were FOREMOST on my mind. I bet if you were to ask the majority of today’s teens, you would find that most of them care about these things too. So, what is so wrong with coupling relevant articles on dealing with the pressures of being a teenager with the Word of God? I think its awesome, and believe the publishers of these magazine/Bibles have a really great idea

    Moreover, your line that teens should “get a good teen study Bible” is incredibly short-sighted. You grew up in a Christian home and had parents who would gladly purchase you a teen study Bible. What about the teen that lives in a non-Christian home, who’s parents don’t want to shell out upwards of $60 for a teen study Bible? Last I checked, teens don’t make very much money (if any at all) and the low price of these magazine/Bibles gives them the entire New Testament along with articles on topics that they can relate to, and that’s awesome.

    In addition, your contention that these are trying to hide their true identity is absurd. Like you said, you can only find these magazine/Bibles in Christian bookstores. You won’t encounter them trying to blend in with other magazines at Barnes & Noble. And it says “The Complete New Testament” right on the cover of these magazine/Bibles.

    I would really recommend being far more careful in choosing things to go after, particularly when those things are associated with the Word of God. When I went after tracts in my blog, I did not go after the message they were giving, but in the message they gave when coupled with mean, rude, poor tipping customers.

    • I agree with you on most of these points. I, personally, do agree that it’s great to give teens today something to read that have articles that are relevant to them. However, I disagree with the package they have. If you want to make a magazine for teens, that’s awesome! This is NOT however just a teen magazine…it is a Bible that LOOKS like a teen magazine.

      For Christians, I think it’s a good thing…but NOT as a witnessing tool. My problem isn’t with the fact that it’s the Bible. I’m not attacking the Word of God (nor would I ever), I’m saying that I don’t like how cheesy this is to the outside world…the people we’re trying to reach. Maybe I should have made this about “Christian products” in general rather than one specific thing. Maybe I’ll do something on a more broad scale later.

      It’s a cheesy gimmick that appeals to the “Christan” group. In the world, that product, though it may be good for the teen who bought it, might (key word…MIGHT) do more harm than good. At home, and in private, it’s fine…but in the world, I find it to be more of a shield or hiding tool more than anything else.

      Please don’t get me wrong. I love the Word, and I would never mock it. However, if I feel like the Word is being poorly displayed, I’m going to say something. You can agree or disagree. But in my opinion, I find these Bible-in-a-magazine to be kind of stupid.

  2. why do they always exclude the old testament? do we have nothing to learn from it? isn’t it also God’s Word?

    • Yeah, I wondered that myself, I guess because then it would be way to big to be considered a magazine. Shame though, because the Old Testament is flippin’ awesome!

  3. Probably excluded because of that whole “salvation” thing that’s missing from it.

    That, and teens could get the wrong idea from Song of Solomon…

  4. I will agree with you that the format looks cheesy, and personally, I would have never read a bible that looks like an American Eagle catalog. Despite the packaging however, it is still delivering an important message; namely, that the word of God can be accessible and is relevant to teenagers today.

    My biggest contention is the assumption that boys want a teen magazine bible with the look and feel of a sports magazine and that girls want a teen magazine bible that looks like a fashion/gossip magazine. This kind of gender biasing is, I think, very detrimental to the body of Christ. People the world over have a real problem with the stereotypes the Christian community places on “the role of a man” and “the role of a woman.”

    These magazine bibles seem to fall right in line with that type of stereotyping. Having said that, if you don’t like that about the magazine bible, don’t buy it, right?

  5. Marcus Blackwin said:

    I’ve never see those before. that’s crazy!

  6. I had this magazine Bible as a teen and loved it. I remember reading it for hours because the format was so engaging. I definitely didn’t think of it as a way to hide my faith or try to make it seem “cooler” to others. I just really liked the format with its big pages, colourful photos, and meaningful articles, stories, q&a’s, etc. I see no reason to hate on it just because it is a contemporary version of scripture.

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