Thomas Nelson Publishers has released a New Bible called the The American Patriot’s Bible. It combines the New King James with patriotic commentary that attempts to imply associations between the American story with the Biblical narrative.
Any special interest Bible risks misapplying the Scriptures. Critics contend that this Bible takes that concern to a whole new level. I have not read it and will withhold judgment until I do. One thing I will say is that readers tend to look at commentary notes as if they are part of Scripture or at least authoritative. But that is not the case. Even translations are in an essence commentary because you can’t make a translation without adding some commentary in the process. In translating, you have to make word choices and reconcile differences between major manuscripts. Very few people read the original languages and judge the meaning of the text itself. Plus, we may know the words and not understand the nuance of the ancient context in which it was originally written.
This new patriotic Bible points to a major concern for those focused on Scriptural purity. The more stuff we add to the Bible, the more cloudy the core of the text may become for the average reader. We have all these “helps” and special resources today. Yet, society is less aware of what the Bible actually says than ever before. If we are supposed to be a Christian nation, why do so few know much about the Bible? Sixty percent of Americans can’t name five of the Ten Commandments. That’s a failing grade in my book. See this article from 2007 to understand just how little we know.
Here is what the Out of Ur blog had to say including a critique of the new patriotic Bible. I am all for being a patriot, and I am a very proud American. However, I think that all these special interest Bibles may lead to confusion and get in the way of a clear understanding of Scripture.