From Peanuts to Preaching: President Carter Publishes a Bible

Former president Jimmy Carter, once a Georgia peanut farmer, once the leader of the free world, has just published a new bible.

Called the Lessons From Life Study Bible, Carter’s new edition combines the NIV (New International Version) with Carter’s own, down-home advice and personal reflections.  The Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Zondervan Publishing Company, which released the Lessons From Life Study Bible, expects to sell about 250,000 copies.

President Carter is no stranger to the scriptures. A Sunday School teacher throughout his adult years, Carter managed to teach a bible study 14 times while in the White House.  Since returning to Athens, Georgia, after losing his reelection bid in 1980, he claims, he has taught Sunday School about 685 times—which works out to about once every two weeks.

Carter was dubbed “the Redeemer President” by historian Randall Balmer, who wrote about the Carter Administration in his book God in the White House (HarperCollins,
2008).  The 39th president expanded the lexicon of the White House, attesting to his Christian faith and explaining that he had been “born again.”  But his candor regarding his evangelical faith sometimes got him into hot water with the press and the electorate—as, for example, when he admitted that he had “lusted after a woman in his heart.”

Some of Carter’s views showed a strong liberal bent: He favored the legalization of homosexual unions.  He believed that Jefferson’s concept of a “wall of separation between church and state” meant that there should be no prayer services in the White House, as had been de rigueur during previous Administrations.  He advocated for women’s rights, and opposed racial segregation.

He drew criticism from both conservatives and liberals for his views on abortion. Carter was “personally opposed” to abortion—yet he believed that it should be legal, after the court ruling in Roe v. Wade.


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