Not so anymore. Some of them are just so attractive! This one came with a free bracelet when it first hit the stores. Here is one in camo--just because. I loved this one when I first saw it. Here is a New Testament patterned after a teen magazine. Yes, it's really a New Testament.
It seems that buying a Bible for someone is very difficult these days. I mean, which KIND of Bible? Is it for a boy or a girl? (It matters.) For a college student or a "tween"? They've got one for everybody. What probably started out as trying to make those basic black covers more attractive (I prefer maroon, personally.) has bled into trying to make the inside of the Bible more attractive as well.
What do I mean? Well, just read the description that comes with this Bible marketed to teen girls:
"Do you ever feel that the Bible is "too big and freaky looking"? Are you ever too intimidated to read it? Revolve is for you. It's a Bible that looks like a fashion magazine! With this relevant format and over 500 further-study notes, you'll feel comfortable exploring the Scriptures. Features Include: Blabs (Q & A), 12 Month-Long Calendars, Love Notes from God, Issue articles, Basics of Christianity Articles, Quizzes, Beauty Secrets, Relationship articles, Devotional Reading Plans, and more!"
Oh, how I wish I were kidding.
I first stumbled on some reviews of the many teen Bibles online. In particular, I read about the NIV Teen Study Bible and really couldn't believe what I was reading. So when I saw one of the teens at church with the same Bible, I asked him if I could look at it. Buried in the pages of the Bible are some glossy pages with cool hip colors and graphics. Each page has an alternative definition on it of a certain word. The first edition had this: "Sex-(alternative definition) another fun thing mean adults tell teenagers to keep away from." I believe newer versions have different wording. His did, anyway. But what scared me about all this is that this is EXACTLY the Bible I would have picked for my teen! I have an NIV Study Bible and I use it all the time. Great! One for teens--I'll take it.
My point about the two Bible versions above is that you are not just handing your kids the word of God, but also some articles (written by whom?), quizzes (magazine style), beauty secrets, and lots and lots of information on dating and more. Much more.
The one that concerned me the most of all the Bibles I researched was the NIV True Images Bible for teen girls. I wouldn't report on something that I had not seen with my own eyes. After reading about this Bible online and this article, which you must at least glance over to believe, I met an 11 year old girl who owned this Bible. I saw the articles with my own eyes and let me just say that I think I learned a few things by reading them and I am in my 30's! It horrifies me to think of my daughter reading these articles, while her eyes and thoughts should be on the word of God!
I know these topics are real. I know teens daily face them. I am sure you could collect stories of girls who were helped by this Bible. But I just want parents (and grandparents, and anyone else who would buy a Bible as a gift) to be aware that when it comes to Bibles these days--you really better look between that beautiful cover and past all the freebies and cool stuff that come along with it--and read exactly what you are handing your children.
Because if you are like me*, you might not like what you see. And you may just go buy a really "boring" Bible and put it in a cute cover for your daughter's Christmas present.
Next up: Part 3--Oh, Those Bothersome Little Pronouns!
*And if you are not like me--you can dismiss all of this as my own opinions. I "warned" a friend and they didn't see anything wrong with the Bible their child had. So...feel free to disagree.