The Facepalm Bible

Ladies and blokes, I give you… *drumroll please*… the Compass Study Bible. The latest in über-relavent and totally hip Bible translationry stuff. I know your hands are already reaching for your wallets, but wait! Before you start throwing cash around, allow me to wax the floor of your collective mind with a sales pitch.

*awkward silence, cringing, followed by a shuffling of feet*

Okay. I give. It’s not a sales pitch. More like a no-sale pitch.

Day before last, my Mom received an email from one of the publicists for this thing. The description (as given in the email) went on about how the concept for Compass originated with readers: “Through a series of focus groups and research, a need was discovered and reiterated by consumers for a new type of Bible that helped them find answers but didn’t tell them what to do or how to live their lives.”

*hand strokes chin* You don’t say? A Bible that helps me find answers, but does not tell me what to do or how to live my life? Sounds nice. Like no Bible I’ve heard of. Ever. This calls for more chin-stroking.

But wait, there’s more. Compass Study Bible “aims to provide a non-threatening package of God’s Word that becomes a companion to the work-a-day person.” Hallelujah. This is such a relief to hear. I am so fed up with threatening Bibles. (Looking at you, King friggin’ James.)

*prolonged throat-clearing* Alright then. Note to self: breathe deeply, chill out, and drink a tall glass of chocolate milk. Relax. Even your hair is clinched.


I have no desire to sound like the Internet Theology Police. I have no desire to be a prig. But for God’s sake, is this really a thing? (Yes.) Am I losing my mind? (Probably.) Is it possible that we are actually giving these shenanigans a first glance, let alone a second? (Yes.)

Three observations before I head off to get that chocolate milk:

First, the opening spiel about “a need” being “discovered and reiterated by consumers” should set off smoke alarms faster than my brother’s cooking (sorry, dude). Since when were the whims and wishes of “consumers” a determining factor in our handling of Holy Writ? Should we expect to see an Adulterer’s Study Bible in future, or perhaps one for those who don’t particularly care to read about fiery lakes and damnation?

Second, I keep returning to the part about “a new type of Bible” that helps people “find answers” but doesn’t “tell them what to do or how to live their lives.” I am almost at a loss for words. To steal a phrase from Chesterton: if mortal muddle-headedness can go deeper than that, in this vale of tears, I should like to see it. It reads like a parody; the fact that it isn’t chills my spine.

Third, the minute someone starts talking about “a non-threatening package of God’s Word,” we ought to be awfully suspicious, if not actually hostile. Non-threatening? By this, I can only conclude that what is being offered is not really a Bible at all. It can’t be. Turn around and take a good long stare down the corridor of history, bub. You don’t get thrown to the lions or chopped into bits for holding to a faith that is non-threatening.

13 thoughts on “The Facepalm Bible”

  1. Very funny and *very* sobering at the same time. Good way to start my day!
    I saw that “Bible” just the other day. A Bible that doesn’t tell people how to live?
    And I read an ironic and puzzling statement last night, an ad for a local “Church” that is “Open and affirming.” I sat there saying…. open to what, and affirming of what?

  2. Oi… :shock: And people gave the Message translation a hard time! A “bible” like this makes the Message look like the original Hebrew…

  3. A little research indicates that the “Ecclesia Bible Society” is headed by Chris Seay, pastor of “Ecclesia” in the Montrose section of Houston, the ‘artsy’ section of Houston, and one of the largest LGBT centers in the US. I don’t know anything about the church, nor what their ‘open and affirming’ means.

    As far as naming, I find it anomalous that a Bible called “The Compass Bible” doesn’t actually give ‘direction.’ Would that not be a misnomer?

  4. Love the photo! This “bible” has me shaking my head. Please accept my apologies for those of us who live in Houston and believe the Bible is God’s Word–not some piece of literature we can manipulate for our own comfort and benefit. You are right–“You don’t get thrown to the lions or chopped into bits for holding to a faith that is non-threatening.” We should be a plumb line for our culture and that is not easy or fun. It is certainly never popular.

    Great post, Corey.


  5. I can only imagine what the book of Revelation would look like in this abomination…if it’s even in there. God forbid this “non-threatening” fantasy novel speak of anything pertaining to the End of The Age. This is horrifying and, most disturbingly, it’s really not all that surprising. I find myself angered by such a concept and yet at peace with the fact that this is just another facet of end times prophecy being fulfilled. It’s a proud day for the Whore of Babylon…she just took another step toward full maturity.

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