The Skeptic’s Annotated Bible: Now in Print!

Back in high school, not long after I began coming out to close friends as an atheist, I was given a Bible by an acquaintance of mine. She thought that if I read it, I might learn something. So I began reading it. And I marked up all the questionable passages and contradictions I could find.

Then I came across Skeptics Annotated Bible and found out someone had already done all the work for me.

Anyone who has ever visited the site knows what a valuable resource it is. What do you want to find? Injustice? Misogyny? Contradictions? Violence? It’s all marked up for you.

Creator Steve Wells recently released the book we’ve all been waiting for: an actual annotated Bible:

This is the Bible you want to read. And give to people as Christmas gifts. And bring to church (if you have to go).

Here’s a sneak peek at what the first pages look like (click to enlarge):

You want this book. It doesn’t matter that the text is accessible online; it’s *so* much better when it’s on paper and in the form of a book you might actually read in the pew.

I only wish I had it in high school so I could’ve given my acquaintance a thank-you gift.

***Update***: If the Amazon link does not work, try this one instead!

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Ryan Jean

    This makes me happy. SAB is an indispensable tool. At $37 (with shipping) it’s well within most skeptics’ budgets.

  • Smiles

    The website was instrumental in my de-evolution…I feel an obligation to buy a copy and support the folks at SAB. Besides, I would love to have a physical copy to pass down in the family…

  • Smiles

    er, de-conversion….(facepalm)

  • SeekerLancer

    Cool. Will pick it up next month maybe.

  • viaten

    An iPhone app for SAB is supposedly in the works as well.

  • Rogier van Bakel

    Currently not available from Amazon, despite that link. Only from a third-party seller at an inflated price. Damn.

  • Hemant Mehta
  • sadimpoor

    Shipping to Australia is $24USD, almost as much as the book itself! I think I may have to wait now. sadface :(

  • SeekerLancer

    Maybe we’ll get an Android version as well?

  • Tim VanHaitsma

    I have been waiting for this for over a decade. love the site and having a dead tree edition will be awesome. Some thing to take to church next time I am invited by family….

  • Valancy Jane

    What an awesome idea! Definitely going to get it at some point.

    Like most ex-believers, reading the Bible critically is what led me right out of the religion.

  • Anonymous Atheist

    Um, you aren’t understanding the situation. There is no “inflated price”, just flawed expectations. Try clicking on the “these sellers” link or the “1 new” link, to see who the third-party seller actually is. This book is not being sold by the Amazon corporation itself; never has been yet since its release two months ago, and might never be. It is being sold by Steve Wells the SAB guy himself as a third-party seller through Amazon.

    To get such a large (1,632 pages!) limited-market hardcover book at such a reasonable price for what you’re getting ($32.95, plus the Amazon-standard third-party-seller book shipping rate of $3.99 in the US, which is probably less than his actual postage cost for a book that weighs 3 lbs!), it’s a self-published book that I’d guess he probably pays for batches to be preprinted (probably overseas) and then stores them at home to ship to customers himself. Most self-publishing print providers can’t handle a book more than about half that number of pages, and wanting hardcover (particularly with a classy-looking finish like that) further reduces the options. Even if Amazon was willing to buy some from him to stock themselves (which is pretty rare for them to do for most self-published books that aren’t using the Amazon-owned Createspace print-on-demand service, which couldn’t have handled the specs of a book like this), he can keep more of the likely-already-slim profit margin for himself this way.

  • Anonymous Atheist

    NB: He first posted it on Amazon in Feb 2013, but it’s apparently been available from his website by ordering directly via Paypal since at least Oct 2012.

  • Anonymous Atheist

    I found this offer posted by Philip Wells (I think he’s Steve Wells’s son) in a blog comment at :

    “Hello, I’m with the Skeptic’s Annotated Bible. The paper used is 40gsm bible paper, similar to the paper used in the Quest Study Bible. If you would like to send it with an alternate way of shipping, we can work it out. Send me an email at philwellsSAB at and we can go from there.”

    If it’s possible to get it to Australia for less cost than the automated rate is claiming, then they’re probably willing to work with you on that.

    And to add to that information on the materials, another couple of comments from Phil Wells at :

    “It is Leatherette, gold-foiled title embossing, hardcover case bound glued onto 2.5 mm board, lay flat, stitching, section smythe-sewn, 200gsm endsheets (with quotes from the Old Testament on the front inside and quotes from the New Testament on the back inside cover), ribbon bookmark. The paper is the same weight/opacity as the Quest Study Bible, which we really liked the look of. I hope this answers a few of your questions. We could have made the book cheaper, but we wanted to make it last and be a pleasure to read.”

    “I would have loved to have gilt edges and indices. The option was on the table, but we had a couple of unexpected price increases and we were concerned about pricing ourselves out of getting a distributor. We are also working with atheist organizations to get them copies at a steep discount, and every dollar saved means more books that we can get out there.
    I was steered away from leather (now I’m questioning the advice), but I will look into bonded leather for the next edition. We should be re-printing in about a year, and at that time I hope to do two versions: a cheapy paperback and a deluxe version (both with the Apocrypha).”

  • Anonymous Atheist

    Further information: Oct 2012-Feb 2013 availability was for preorders only. Found a photo of the shipment they received in mid-Feb:

    Labels on the boxes confirm my guess of printing in China, and it looks like they had so many of them printed that they’re having to store them in a rented storage space instead of at home.

    6 pallets visible x 5 layers of boxes per pallet x 12 boxes per layer x 8 books per box = 2,880 books

  • Anonymous Atheist

    And while looking up the Quest Study Bible, I saw a reviewer mention a set of add-on tabs – some SAB readers may be interested in them for improving ease of reference:

  • Jim Hudlow

    I have a copy and am in the middle of Jeremiah. I love this SAB…and I cannot believe that any religious person that has actually read the bible still holds it is anything other than an indoctrination tool to maintain power over and keep draining funds from people who are susceptible to fear and never investigate what other people tell them. I am astounded at the violence and immoral examples demonstrated with each page I read. Not any ‘do unto others’ that I have read so far but tons of ‘smote with a great slaughter’ actions by or at the behest of this loving god… insane.

  • trufru

    Step 1: Print SAB as a hard-bound book
    Step 2: Place it in every hotel room
    Step 3: ???
    Step 4: Lulz

  • Rocky Morrison

    You got it right the first time! snicker

  • Rocky Morrison

    Made in China…Bahahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!

  • Rev. Red Mage

    That’s what I’ve been waiting for. An SAB app and the TalkOrigins app make the perfect combination for any atheist’s smartphone.

  • Jen Keane

    Sadly, it seems that Ireland is another place which suffers from the expensive shipping. I was all set to purchase one, but the shipping is $23.95! I see a comment there about emailing to work out a shipping rate, might take a look at that, but it’s disappointing :(

  • Anonymous Atheist

    Yeah, but unfortunately it probably would’ve cost something like 2-3x as much to print in the US. As it is, I’d guess the Wells probably have in the neighborhood of $50,000 invested in that print run.

  • chicago dyke

    i’m pretty broke, but i can’t complain about $24 in shipping. it’s coming across a big pond, after all.

    i used to be a bartender. i’d watch people blow $50 in an hour on drinks. this is a book that will last a lifetime. splurge, and indulge yourself in something worthwhile.

  • Stonyground

    This is certainly a book that I would love to add to my library, although I have now done more than enough research into the Christian religion to know that it is nonsense. Those who like this book may also be interested in:

    The Gospels & Acts: Questions & problems. by Elliott Lesser. Ph.D.

  • Stonyground

    Oh yes, I forgot to mention this:

    If you need proof that Christianity is false, this proof is everywhere. this particuar essay is more than two hundred years old, and yet there are still millions of Christians.

  • Philip

    Hello! Philip Wells here. For the next print run, we are going to sign up for Amazon Global Export and Fulfillment by Amazon, and together that should reduce the shipping to Australia (and Ireland) to somewhere around $10-$12. Look for that option on the Amazon page around July.

  • Philip

    Those do look like nice tabs! I’m going to buy a set and try them out on the SAB, and if they work well maybe we could do a bulk order and offer them on the site at cost, or as an option at checkout for an extra buck or two.

  • Philip

    Hi Jen,

    Check out my other comment to sadimpoor. (The short version: there should be cheaper shipping for International orders in July.)

    Thanks for your interest, and I totally understand being reluctant to pay the high shipping rates. They jumped up from 16.95 to 24.95 on Jan. 1st, which really bummed me out. Hate to pass on those price increases to you guys, especially on an already expensive book… but the good news is there will soon be another option.

  • Mario Strada

    The Kindle version is $9. I am not sure if you could buy it in e-book from Ireland (I know Amazon prevents me from buying Italian books from my US kindle, for some bizarre reason)

  • dan

    It makes me so mad that atheists prize scholarship and
    rationality and COMPLETELY ignore it when it comes to the bible.

    Here’s the catch: I am a skeptic. But before I became one I tried
    vigorously to defend the bible. I have seen the website for this bible, and
    presuming it’s the same material, the guy commenting is an ignorant ass-hat
    when it comes to commenting.

    No this is NOT a “valuable resource.”

    Is there plenty in the bible worth criticizing? You bet. But
    this is such a poor attempt that it’s not worth the potential good it points

    The posted commentary on genesis would laughed out by any serious
    Christian/Jewish/or skeptical historian. It’s an entire lack of knowledge on
    the ancient near eastern culture and ancient texts.

    It’s ironic that atheists criticize creationists for
    ignoring scholarship and the consensus on evolution (which I agree with) and
    then do so poorly with ancient texts (which the bible is).

    If this is a bible “just for fun” that would be fine, but it
    is not merely intending to be that. I would like to see a serious attempt at a
    skeptic study bible. Not this piece of crap.

    This is an embarrassing book for the cause of skepticism. I mean
    does anyone else with an ancient history background not agree with me? This
    commentary is absurd.

    For me its one of those things where the bible has enough o criticize
    without clouding that up with shitty arguments. This will make skeptics appear
    stupid if they use much of the material, and Christians will be reinforced in
    their beliefs because of it. That’s not good. Its counterproductive.

    I can understand Dawkins saying he doesn’t need to study
    every religion to reject it. But he was also NOT writing an annotated BIBLE.

  • dan

    Example: the note has the “laughable” emoticon and says “even god needs to rest”

    Any historian would almost immediately know that “rest” in the ancient world does not necessarily denote “physical weariness.” There are numerous examples of gods resting in the ancient world, and 99.9% of the time it happens in temples. It also usually is accompanied with creation language. The ancient mindset was based on chaos/order or disorder/order and mostly focused on functions rather than material (while material is a debated element). So creation is ordering of disorder (this includes Genesis) and resting is ceasing and ruling. The fact that Genesis one, as well as other Egyptian and Sumerian creation texts, parallel the physical structure of the temples denotes that these are somehow temple related (or temple texts). Thus god (or gods) resting is them taking their place in the temple after ordering and ruling. This sounds over-complex, but its standard fare amongst ancient historians, and Christians are increasingly picking up on this stuff too. Using historically and scholarly illiterate arguments will not help skepticism.

    A better argument might be to point out how similar (and un-unique) Genesis is to the ancient world

    The above information is also easily accessible, its not an idiosyncratic viewpoint

  • Jono H

    I worry that the skeptic bible will just get in the way of something better coming along. I marked up my bible myself after reading Forged by Bart Ehrman.

  • dan

    I’m glad someone agrees

    & are you saying you like Ehrman?

    I am more Old testament & ANE history kind of guy, so I haven’t dug deep into new testament criticism yet. I just started reading Ehrmans “Jesus interrupted.” I’m still early in so I cant tell whether I like him yet or not

  • Pseudonym

    The SAB is a very mixed bag. Some of it is quality research, and some of it is laughably bad. Most of it is only valuable for arguing with (or converting from) the most fundamentalist of fundamentalist positions. But I guess that is “valuable” in a sense.

    In any case, I don’t see the value in a dead tree version. The hyperlinks are one of the few things in the SAB that are actually useful. You won’t get that here. Waste of money, I think.

  • DustinQ

    I thoroughly enjoyed his book “Misquoting Jesus”, some very good and interesting information.

    I am about half-way through Jesus, Interrupted, and personally find that there is some overlap, and of the two I definitely preferred Misquoting Jesus.

    That being said I still have the rest of his book to go.

    I really like how Ehrman has made some of the information about new testament scholarship so accessible to the lay public.

  • Stephanie Austin

    I don’t see a kindle version on the Amazon site. Yesterday there was one copy left. That’s what I get for waiting.