The Errors of the Magazine-Style Bible


The CEO of a Swedish advertising agency, Dag Soderberg, published the first magazine-style New Testament bible last year called the “Bible Illuminated: The Book, New Testament”. He repackaged the ancient tome by inserting photographs of many celebrities and stars. The cover and layout of the contents are just like that of a beautifully printed magazine. When reporters asked Soderberg why he published this Bible, he replied, “My grandfather was a bishop, but I’m not very religious myself. I didn’t like reading the Bible from when I was young. After I grew up however, I recognized that the Bible has its value. Our heritage comes from that book; ethics, morals, even government laws come from that book, so it does affect us all. It's also the best selling book in the world every year. That’s why I wanted to pair it with modern images to make it more accessible." Soderberg’s Bible uses the Good News Translation (This is the most unrefined of the English translations). To Soderberg, it is not important whether the Bible is the word of God. More important is whether this magazine-style Bible could attract a new generation of purchasers, and he could thereby make a fortune.


Perhaps some would question what is wrong with using an innovative method to preach God’s word. During the 16th century, in order to promote the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther translated the Latin Bible that had been restricted to religious workers only to the first German version. He was greatly aided by the new technology of the printing press. Besides, we have now entered into the age of image-dominant culture. What is the problem with utilizing images to express and fortify the message of the Bible? Didn’t Paul say, “But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice”? (Philippians 1:18)


This writer believes that for Soderberg to convert the Bible into a magazine is to seriously damage, distort, and secularize the Truth that is consecrated by God. Soderberg admitted that the “Illuminated Bible” is purely a coffee-table book that provides leisurely browsing by people just like a magazine, and does not require any serious study. This Bible does not have any notation of verse and chapter, or any sectional heading. The editor only applied those passages that were meaningful to him to complement pre-selected photographs. These photographs do not relate in any way to the word of God, and some are even contrary to biblical truths. For example, there is an image of a child holding a gun that is pointed at the camera. The editor used Christ’s words in Matthew 10:34 as a caption - “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth.” At the beginning of the Gospel of Mark, the editor inserted a photograph of Mohammed Ali in the ring, together with a part of Mark 1:2 - “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way." Then he added without explanation some other photographs of people such as Ex-President Nelson Mandela of South Africa, Martin Luther King Jr., Angelina Jolie, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Theresa etc. Most misleading is the inclusion of a picture of the Dalai Lama. This is exactly the promotional methodology of the New Age Movement that distorts biblical truths and deceives people. Are all these celebrities including the Dalai Lama messengers sent by God?


Satan likes to append just a little bit to God’s words to make it harder for people to differentiate right from wrong. Soderberg did not alter the words of the Bible. He only inserted nice photographs according to his own whim into the Bible, with the result that people misinterpret God’s words. He turned the Bible into a magazine in the hope that the Bible he publishes will be as popular as a magazine, to be found in coffee shops, waiting rooms, beauty salons, barber shops, hotel lobbies and on meeting room tables in many different enterprises. At the end of age, there will be many who will muddle the way of God for profit. Christians must have spiritual discernment. Do not believe that it is of no significance to use innovative media methods to express God’s words. We must bring to light the hidden purposes of the sons of the world.


By: Daniel To