The Green Bible

greenbible1The Green Bible from HarperOne.

NRSV. Green letter edition. Soy-based inks on recycled paper. $19.77 on

Amazon’s description:

“The Green Bible will equip and encourage you to see God’s vision for creation and help you engage in the work of healing and sustaining it. This first Bible of its kind includes inspirational essays from key leaders such as N. T. Wright, Barbara Brown Taylor, Brian McLaren, Matthew Sleeth, Pope John Paul II, and Wendell Berry. As you read the scriptures anew, The Green Bible will help you see that caring for the earth is not only a calling, but a lifestyle.”

I haven’t purchased a copy (I might), but I have done the same thing in my Bible for years by putting a CR for “creation” in the margin by passages about creation and the environment. It turns out these passages are numerous. We tend to think of the doctrine of creation as pertaining to how God made the Universe, and when; and something that can be determined solely from Genesis 1-11 and few Psalms. On the contrary, passages about God’s care over the creation, and our responsibility to care for it, run throughout the Bible, from Genesis through Revelation. I think the green letters will help to bring this out.

No doubt some of the essays are well-written. I have a lot of respect for Wendell Berry, and Pope John Paul II has had valuable insights about nature in other writings. McLaren, though he has some good insights in his writings, is considered by some to be a heretic–one who has stepped outside the boundaries of the historic creedal faith. He could still have valuable comments on the environment.

The endorsements come from both theological liberals, such as Desmond Tutu, and conservatives, including Calvin DeWitt (Evangelical Environmental Network) and Richard Cizik (National Association of Evangelicals).

Whether one uses The Green Bible or just does a study on the environment in the Bible, it becomes clear that the “Earth is the Lord’s,” that it has intrinsic value, that we are responsible for our actions, that our consumptive lifestyle does not bring happiness, and that part of loving our neighbor as ourselves includes taking care of the creation. (These are not “liberal” interpretations, but could be straight out of Francis Schaeffer’s Pollution and the Death of Man).

HT: The Green Life

Grace and Peace

2 thoughts on “The Green Bible

  1. Randy

    “I view McLaren as a heretic–one who has stepped well outside the boundaries of the historic creedal faith”

    This statement encouraged me to look into this guy a bit more. I’m curious (not out of judgment, but out of ignorance) why you’d go so far as ‘heretic’. Knowing nothing of Brian’s history and only what I’ve looked up in the last 15 minutes, I was just wondering.

    Thanks! I very much enjoy reading your blog…it’s encouraging.


  2. geochristian


    Thanks for your comment. “Heretic” is a pretty strong word, and historically it has been used for one who has strayed outside of orthodoxy, or right belief. I define “orthodoxy” fairly broadly as adhering to the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, and a little more narrowly by referring to the confessions of the Protestant Reformation.

    My first real exposure to McLaren was when my then high-school aged son had to read A Generous Orthodoxy for his Bible class. Every few pages he would groan, and then read me a passage. At 17 years old, my son could see how McLaren was straying from Scriptures.

    McLaren certainly steps outside of the bounds of the Protestant confessions (which doesn’t make him a non-Christian) and this makes him, in my mind, heterodox at best (heterodoxy is a mixture of orthodoxy and error). Some examples of this are his views of the atonement and the Scriptures. To him, Jesus is more of a moral example than the sacrifice for our sins.

    I believe McLaren steps outside of the broader orthodoxy that would include Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox as well. His “generous orthodoxy” would pull in all kinds of beliefs and practices that are outside the fence of Biblical teachings.

    Not that all he has to say is bad. He writes out of a frustration with the American Christianity he grew up in. I’m frustrated with many of the same things, but the cure isn’t a “generous orthodoxy” but a return to Biblical orthodoxy.

    I hope this helps. I’m open to critiques.

    Grace and Peace,


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