Case in point: this resident of my hotel room. The book is bound in the standard ugly brown color that identifies the Gideons as surely as yellow identifies a taxi cab.
Little better is the translation. The New King James waters down the literary brilliance of the original King James in a vain attempt to make the translation more accessible to the modern reader. But that’s like cutting off the sleeves of a heavy woolen sweater to make it more appropriate summer-wear. Summer requires an entirely different kind of clothing, and the modern reader demands an entirely different translation. (Keep the sweater in the closet for autumn. And keep the KJV on the shelf for literary analysis.)
Still, the symbolic significance comes through loud and clear. The Bible in every hotel room reflects a conservative Christianity that exerts herculean efforts to attain certain ends. But all too often all those efforts are rendered moot by an inflexibility, irrelevance and inability to communicate effectively with the world around them.