Weird Bibles 6: A “Sophisticated” Presidential Prayers Bible (plus another with “personal” reflections)
As part of our irregular series on Weird Bibles …
As part of election fever in 2012, Zondervan released the Presidential Prayers Bible with the following blurb:
Experience the purpose, power, and impact of the prayers from our nation’s presidents in the NIV Presidential Prayers Bible. This sophisticated Bible features 12 pages of prayers from former U.S. Presidents: prayers at inaugurations, prayers of thanksgiving, as well as other events that have shaped us as a nation. In these pages, you will be inspired and pleased to read about the dedication and devotion to the Christian faith that our founding fathers demonstrated in their prayers.
I can only imagine this must have been a dig at Mitt Romney (as a Mormon, he who would use the special LDS Bible) and the Vice-Presidential candidates Joe Biden and Paul Ryan (who as Catholics would presumably not use a Bible lacking Deuterocanonical books.) And certainly, this Bible would not apply to Kennedy (another Catholic) or Jefferson (who made his own version of the Bible). Indeed, one struggles to understand how the NIV could have been the basis of Presidential prayers before Richard Nixon, since the NIV did not being to appear until 1973. And of course, there is the little detail that America’s fathers (and mothers), under the influence of the Enlightenment, were often as not Deists.
Most of all, it is a bit hard to believe that this Bible is “sophisticated” when the blurb contains faulty grammatical parallelism and (“12 pages of prayers from former U.S. Presidents: prayers at inaugurations, prayers of thanksgiving, as well as other events that have shaped us as a nation”) and dangling modifiers (“in these pages”).
Continuing with Zondervan’s presidential Bibles, we come next to the the NIV Lessons from Life Bible: Personal Reflections with Jimmy Carter. Now first, of course, I can only wonder how “personal” Carter’s reflections can be when he has published them in a book. I do understand that Carter regularly teaches Bible class at his local church, but I’ve read some transcriptions of those sermons, and guess what: Carter preaches from the KJV (or paraphrases the text himself!) So you can guess how “personal” this Bible can be. (But one presumes that Carter is definitely open to sponsored endorsements – as in Carter’s notorious remark that the United Arab Emirates was “almost completely free and open” after the UAE government donated $500,000 to the Carter Center.)