When The Bible Becomes Another Way To Spread Your Brand…

It looks like this:


Regardless of whatever their intentions may or may not be, something about this just feels completely wrong to me.

What do you think– is it okay to publish a “branded Bible” or should we treat the Scriptures a little more sacred? It’s an odd dilemma for me. I am a “progressive” and the Duck Commander folks are ultra conservatives– but in this instance, I believe, I land with a more conservative position on how we should and should not, handle our sacred book.

I’m interested in your thoughts. Is it free game, or am I right to feel icky about this?

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  • NOPE. You should feel validated in your “icky feeling”.

  • Bill Sebring

    What bothers the hell out of me, is these guys are pretty much committing idolatry with scripture….and it IS icky to me.

  • MitchRoush

    I share you’re dilemma, Benjamin. it seems as though I’m landing with this sentiment: “Just because God could work thru it doesn’t mean we should do it.”

    That seems rather cliche, but it’s a concise way to sum-up the long-winded feelings I have.

    Ultimately, the Duck Commander does a pretty good job of speaking about judgment and exclusivity than he does inclusion and grace. So, to me, it seems as though more de-churched, un-churched and “least of these” would be more alienated by this type of publican than encouraged.
    If we can swallow our pride enough to view what affects the more people we’re “trying” to reach–maybe it would change our minds.

    Right now, and I could be wrong, it seems as though this will just be another thing those more conservative and already believers will be embracing. Not sure that helps us reach the masses.

  • Sirjoyful

    I get a bad feeling about this one as well. I much prefer the bible to be a standalone book. I have no problem with a devotional or commentary but It needs to be a separate volume

  • It feels a little icky to me, too. While I’m not a fan of Phil’s statements on homosexuality and race relations, I found the show to be good clean fun, and something I have no problem letting my kids watch (rare to find, it seems) – but a Duck Commander brand Bible seems sacrilegious.

  • David Ozab

    Branding Holy Scripture feels a bit too much like simony to me.

  • Pamela Patterson Lake

    But don’t we already have lots of brandings of our holy book? I have The Green Bible, as well as the Ragamuffin Bible (and there’s lots of other branded bibles). I think it might endemic to our society which is all about advertising and branding. So my initial response while reading your post was “ew, ick!” until I looked at my bookshelf, which lead to a deeper question – while I may mostly disagree with the Phil Robertson theology that is being promoted and embraced by our more conservative brothers and sisters (oh and I do), how is it really any different than the branded bibles that present a more…dare I say progressive? I do agree with? Does that make sense?

  • Yes, that’s a really good comment! I have the Green Bible, the Poverty and Justice Bible… I think you’re right. This is why I decided to see what folks thought. I guess if we drew hard lines it would be hypocritical.

  • Gina Covello

    I don’t follow Duck Dynasty at all and am not very familiar with what this guy says. My initial thoughts were, well we already have alot of Bibles that are specific to certain themes with extra devotions in them. What makes this one different or especially icky? Then I clicked on Christopher Hutton’s link and read: “We don’t need more products from celebrities, and we especially don’t need specialized Bibles which present extrabiblical content that has little-to-no basis in scholarship. Instead, we need to look to those with truly helpful insights and legitimate experience to help the American Evangelical Church find the Good, the True, and the Beautiful. – See more at: http://liter8.net/is-the-duck-dynasty-bible-valid/#sthash.GnO7gyMQ.dpuf.” Let’s get back to the Word and what God has to say. Ask the Holy Spirit to impart knowledge on you as you read through it. Use commentaries and scholarly explanations to understand better the original texts in their original language, but don’t rely on other folks to interpret and explain to you, especially those who don’t even hold scholarly degrees.

  • Cory N Jamie Gilliam

    Yes it does make sense and brings the hot dogging, conceited reality T.V. folks to bring that to our conscious mind. I think scripture lined up with commentary is a good idea but any group that specifically co-opts the Bible for a particular agenda is making a grave mistake. These groups only serve to color an already confusing an already distorted, splintered faith.

  • Michael Wilson

    The Green bible I presume highlights and has commentary related to its cause. Im not sure what the Robertson familly brings to this edition other than a name popular among bible buyers. I suspect their looking to cash in but maybe they feel that they have a bible thst woll benifit some segment more than whats availible. Someone will have to review it for us.

  • Rachel Hedin

    I think you’re asking really important questions. The picture I get in my mind is God asking us, “So how’s making Me in your image working out for you? My intent was the opposite of that, you know? ”
    It also brings up the problem of men (and women) naming theology after ourselves. Identifiers are useful for dialogue, but when does it stop being about God and start being all about us?
    Bottom line: God is not a brand. Thanks for the reminder.

  • This type of agenda pushing has nothing to do with the life and ministry of Jesus. But I agree with the woman’s comments below. It seems like there is always a buck to make on the next new way of discovering God’s word, without a true way of seeing, or for that matter, of being. Sad. So sad. And yet, the funny thing is that God can still use it. Wow.

  • Seabass

    It might be, but it might not be. I’ll have to check the contents of this “Bible” before assessing its potential idolatry.

  • Ruaidrí Ó Domhnaill

    Since the 1980s, bible publishers have been coming out with a study-bible for every occasion. Why not have the Redneck Bigot’s Study Bible?

    Just one more thing for the trash-heap.

  • HappyCat

    Since I don’t know what makes this bible different from a ‘plain’ NKJV, it would be hard for me to judge. I’ve collected bibles since I was very small. While I’ve seen all kinds of paraphrases, pictures, annotations, editorials, I’ve never seen it as branding. Rather, I see it as meeting people where they are. The teenager I was needed something different than the creaky semi-old woman that I am now. There is no appeal to me on any level to purchase this because I have nothing in common with these folks culturally, economically, or socially. The next bible I buy in fact won’t be a book at all – it will be on my e-reader, so I can adjust the font for my tired eyes.

  • Erin McDonald Sweeney

    It is icky and kind of reminds me of this gem of a Bible I saw last year at a convention…http://www.americanpatriotsbible.com/. Though some of the “branded Bibles” that are out there are good, I think it would be better if Bibles could just be Bibles and the themed study guides be something that are sold separately. It’s confusing enough for someone seeking God to decide on a translation. Do we need to confuse them even further by selling Bibles promoting different theological views as well?

  • Kerry Thomas

    When I saw this in the news, all I could think was…” Making a buck off Jesus….” And ” who really wrote this?” I seriously doubt Jase was sitting in the back translating Amos from the original Hebrew…..

  • gimpi1

    Speaking as an unchurched person, you’re right. This won’t interest me in the least. I’ve never watched their show, more out of a dislike for “reality TV” and the massive contradiction embraced therein than any knowledge of this show in particular. But the whole “faith and family” thing, coupled with the anti-gay thing (especially in light of the whole ‘toss your kids on the garbage-heap if they can’t pray away the gay stuff on an earlier thread) is a turn-off.

  • gimpi1

    Expanding your brand to a likely target-audience, in marketing parlance, OK.

    Using what you claim to regard as holy scripture to do it, marginal.

    If this family actually believed that the Bible is holy, would they do this? I’m not sure… If I had a text that I regarded as sacred, I know I wouldn’t. But, since I don’t have a text I hold sacred, that’s an easy call for me to make. On this one, I’ll have to defer to Christians.

  • Mark Schnitzer

    The problem I see with a branded Bible…this one or the “Patriot Bible” and all the others out there is that it uses the Bible to back up your point of view on pet issues. It does not allow for discussion on hard or impossible translate passages, and it shores up, in the mind of the person reading those brands that their way, their interpretation is the right way…..

    “See”, says Billy Bob pointing to the passage in his rifle shaped Bible, “right here in ‘The Ammosexuals’ Bible it says that Jesus told his disciples to buy a sword if you don’t have one. And Pastor Colt’s insight here on page 409 says that Jesus is telling us it is OK to buy and have as many guns as you can afford to protect your family from Obama’s “terranamical” reign.

    As you can tell I am not a fan.

  • Used to work in a Christian bookstore and saw a ton of these
    specialty bibles all the time. My opinion of it now is the same as it was then;
    it’s both a shameless cash grab and a way to keep people in ‘proper’ theology. As
    in, if we just let people read the bible without study notes telling them how
    they should think about the bible, they might read the bible and start getting
    all sorts of thoughts about what the bible is saying that contradicts what ‘proper
    and approved’ pastors have been telling them.

  • Melinda Gray

    I do not like using religion as a marketing hook & in general doing so will lose my business. As a Christian, I am especially turned off by this marketing technique when business with unethical business practices use it. There seems to be an inverse relationship between advertising one’s business as Christian & acting in Christ-like way.

    And I just don’t get the entire concept behind specialty bibles.

  • Jeremiah David Boswell

    I just hope everybody who purchases this American souvenir actually reads it, like their precious infallible Constitution! But most won’t it will just sit laid open to probably the book of Isaiah (middle marker) as a coffee table centerpiece and collect dust.

  • I am not up on the various flavors of “progressives”, but you are theologically conservative but politically liberal, right?

    All progressives profess to highly value to Bible so as to gain credence. But then they choose a hermeneutic or passages or analysis method to “spread their brand”.

    Mind you, I am all for the inclusive, liberal brand of Christianity that they spin, but I do think the are indeed spinning their own brand while telling themselves and others that they aren’t like the duck guys or the conservative bible guys or the Gay Bible or the The Green Bible or The Poverty-Justice Bible or The Freedom Bible or any number of other agendas.

    How about Undiluted — The Bible that tells your the Real Jesus’ radical message.

  • Undiluted isn’t a Bible, it’s just a book– my memoir. In addition, there’s a line in the introduction that even states “this book does not claim to have finally found the one pure message of Jesus” specifically because I can’t stand it when others claim they have.

  • otrotierra

    Thank you for clarifying, but next time Sabio Lantz will need to first learn about what your book actually is before he attempts to criticize it. That would be the respectful and honorable thing to do.

  • All those insights and links and all you do is defend your own work without comment on the substance. Ah, I should have know better to trigger your defenses.

    And the troops jumped in to defend you. Touching.

  • Calling someone dishonorable and disrespectful indirectly. A true rhetorical skill. I guess I am a troll in an echo chamber.

  • Ray Rempel

    Each generation the bible and it’s many diverse messages has been open territory for the charlatans and snake oil salespersons since Billy Sunday and on through the well known and lesser known opportunists. The Ducksters have as much right to get rich off of this book of Mythology as does Joel Osteen and Frankie Graham.

  • But did Matthew, Mark or Luke do the same? People claim that Marcion certainly did — but maybe he way doing what everyone did in those days and what everyone does today.

    We all take the myths around us and turn them into our own. No?

  • No disrespect, but I’ve had a ton of emails and comments to keep up with, so forgive me if during the times when I’m able to interact with readers some of my replies are short. I know there are those other Bibles, which is why I just said that it “feels” wrong and asked what readers though. Though, I think there’s a difference between a study bible intended to point out verses that have to do with poverty verses a Bible named after a TV show.

  • NP. But I am just pointing out that retelling the Bible, retelling someone else’s story is what we all do. When we don’t like someone else’s retelling, we call it a farce.

    Even your book’s subtitle says, “Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus” — but maybe your publisher pushed you into that for sales purposes, so you had to add lots of caveats in the introduction.

    Again, I am not criticizing your work. I am criticizing all of us.

    My sympathy with your tons of e-mails.

  • Thanks. The title will make more sense when it is read. It is a memoir of seminary and is about my personal rediscovery. That’s why I clarify in the introduction.

  • This is hilarious.

  • As a (former) anabaptist, the American Patriot’s Bible has always struck me as particularly icky.

  • I do draw a pretty hard line on this, and whether it’s a brand or an ideology, I just can’t get along with using the Bible to endorse either of those things. I’m a member of a church of Christ ( not the one the Robertsons attend, but part of the same movement. I don;t think Phil Robertson is qualified to be an Elder in his church due to his coarse and vulgar remarks about homosexuality, and this just adds to the reasons he isn’t qualified to lead Christians.

  • CroneEver

    What makes this so special is that you can buy the Bibles and a Duck-Dynasty branded gun!
    And let’s not forget the Redneck Rodeo VBS teaching tool, to teach your kids the gospel!

    Oh, yes. Because what goes better with the message of Jesus Christ than a combination of guns (you get a free American flag bandana with each purchase) and the Bible. This is almost as good as German Christian missionary Karl Gutzlaff, who in the early 1800’s used to sail up and down the Chinese coast on opium ships passing out Bibles…

    Just a wee bit of idolatry going on.

  • gimpi1

    You misquoted the tagline in Ben’s book.

    The title is; “Undiluted. Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus.” You referred to his book as; “Undiluted. The Bible that tells you the Real Jesus’ radical message.” Did you expect people not to notice?

    Ben wrote a book. He isn’t marketing a Bible with his own spin on the text. You tried to make him appear to be a hypocrite. He’s not. Of course people who read him will call you on your misrepresentation. Did you expect otherwise?

  • Les Ferguson, Jr

    Wow. Glory to God! Somebody who might never have picked up a Bible will. And if it has devotional thoughts in it? Will not be the first! I wonder if the author did the Christ-like thing and talked to the family first? The irony? This Bible has had another man’s name on it since 1611. Whole lot of folks have come to know Jesus with it!

  • LOL. Go for it boys. Miss the message and form the wagon train circle. Defend !! You guys are a riot.

  • David Luna

    Really, Who am I to Judge. If it can get one person to read the The Bible than maybe. The problem is that it stops becoming about Jesus but rather the Brand, misleading and redirecting God’s Truth for their own selfish reasons.

  • Elizabeth Parkinson

    With a couple of exceptions, I find this a worrying trend. However, the Life Recovery Bible, which links the Bible into 12 Steps of AA, Al-Anon etc is really helpful, to many recovering people both Christian and non-Christian. But of course, that one isn’t marketed by AA or any other 12 step group.

  • Paul Julian Gould

    To illustrate how weird this is, I’d posit the following… What would be thought about an edition of a translation of the Qur’an with “The Aramco/BP/Exxon Qur’an”…

    It’s mercenary, it’s cynical and, while I am not a “Bible-believing Christian” as it’s understood by those who apply that label, it’s cashing in on a fad while the money is still somewhat rolling in… I seem to recall the Guy these folks presume to worship having a few things to say about this sort of thing…

  • AJ

    Capitalism at it’s finest, folks.