Call it a perverse fascination with consumer culture if you like. I prefer to think of it as a genuine interest in the ceaseless ways that the marketplace finds to represent the Bible to those who have the money to pay for it. The charismatics get Spirit-filled study Bibles, the tree huggers get their Green Bibles, gun-toting survivalists get the Sportsman’s Bible, scuba divers have the Waterproof Bible, preteen girls get the Bethany Hamilton Soul Surfer Bible, young and spry defenders of the faith get the Apologetics Study Bible, new English speakers get the Good News Bible, old English speakers get the KJV Bible, traditional dispensationalists get the Old Scofield Study Bible, new Calvinists get the Reformation Study Bible, women get the Women’s Devotional Bible, real men get the Manual: The Bible for Men (incidentally, if a reader of the Sportsman Bible fought a reader of Manual: The Bible for Men, who would win?!), teenagers get the Teen Life Application Study Bible, and believe it or not, porn stars get the Jesus Loves Porn Stars Bible (don’t worry, the link just takes you to Amazon.com, and the Bible is a version of Eugene Peterson’s The Message!).
Most of these Bibles strike me as bald attempts to pander to a particular market segment (or imagined market segment). Some are okay, most are of dubious value. But none, I would submit, are as mind-numbingly bad as the Bibleman edition. Yeah, you read that right. Bibleman was a little known 1990s superhero who, sadly enough, was regularly beaten up by the Power Rangers. Even worse, one of the Teletubbies — Tinky-Winky — knocked Bibleman out cold at a children’s festival. Accounts of the incident vary, but most people agree that Bibleman accused Tinky-Winky of being a homosexual. Two seconds later Bibleman was laid out: he didn’t even see what hit him! (Incidentally, Tinky-Winky never denied being gay, a fact that Bibleman would eagerly recount to anybody who inquired about the incident.)
This Bibleman Bible pictured here is a pristine copy that I have in my collection of bad Bibles. This Bible has been out of print for years, and I think I know the reason why. It isn’t merely that Bibleman got beat up by the Power Rangers and Tinky-Winky. It’s also that the Bible contains the entire text of the New Testament, but with a marketing theme aimed at 2-3 year old boys. And I don’t know many three year olds who are up for putting on their purple Bibleman cape and then mulling over the mystery of grace and election in Romans or the dizzying visions of Revelation.
In short, the Bibleman Bible was a marketer’s answer to a question nobody asked. Come to think of it, that’s what Bibleman himself was as well.
And that’s enough to get my vote for worst Bible ever.