A Jimmy Carter Study Bible

Former President Jimmy Carter has just published a study Bible based on his decades of service as a Sunday School teacher in a Baptist Church. It’s titled NIV Lessons from Life Bible: Personal Reflections with Jimmy Carter, and it “takes Mr. Carter’s years of teaching Sunday school lessons at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, GA, and meshes them with the text of the NIV Bible.” A synopsis on Zondervan’s website describes the book this way:

The legacy of former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, who has been teaching directly from the Bible for over 65 years and has taken the Bible’s teachings seriously, implementing them into his life’s work. Now he shares his own insights and life lessons with you, opening up the Scripture in a new and fresh way.

President Carter recently sat for an interview with The Huffington Post
about the book and his views on controversial biblical subjects. On every question, President Carter gave the answer that one would expect from a theological liberal. Here’s a summary of President Carter’s remarks:

  • On literal interpretation, “When we go to the Bible we should keep in mind that the basic principles of the Bible are taught by God, but written down by human beings deprived of modern day knowledge. So there is some fallibility in the writings of the Bible.”
  • On inspiration, Carter says that God “didn’t write every word of the Bible” and that there are mistakes in it.
  • On creation, “I don’t adhere to passages that so and so was created 4000 years before Christ, and things of that kind.”
  • On women in ministry, “I separated from the Southern Baptists when they adopted the discriminatory attitude towards women… Every worshipper has to decide if and when they want those particular passages to apply to them and their lives.”
  • On homosexuality, “In all of his teachings about multiple things – [Jesus] never said that gay people should be condemned. I personally think it is very fine for gay people to be married in civil ceremonies.”
  • On Jesus as the only way of salvation, “There are many verses in the Bible that you could interpret very rigidly and that makes you ultimately into a fundamentalist. When you think you are better than anybody else — that you are closer to God than other people, and therefore they are inferior to you and subhuman — that leads to conflict and hatred and dissonance among people when we should be working for peace.”

Read the rest here. I think there can be no question that President Carter is an unreliable guide to interpreting the Bible. Thus this study Bible looks to be of very little use to people who really want to understand and obey scripture.

If you’re in the market for a study Bible, you need to find one authored by someone who actually believes that the Bible is true. Obviously, Carter falls short of this standard, and you would do well to pass on his Bible. I recommend this one instead.

8 Responses to A Jimmy Carter Study Bible

  1. Jason Gray March 19, 2012 at 2:59 pm #

    President Carter says: “When you think you are better than anybody else — that you are closer to God than other people, and therefore they are inferior to you and subhuman — that leads to conflict and hatred and dissonance among people when we should be working for peace.”

    Of course, I am sure that he does not apply that to himself as he looks down at who he calls “fundamentalists” or the SBC, who he left, basically because he felt he was better than them and closer to God than them.

    The hypocrisy of the theological left is hilarious at times.

  2. Andy Naselli March 19, 2012 at 3:01 pm #

    Agreed, Denny. Very sad.

  3. Don Johnson March 19, 2012 at 3:09 pm #

    Unless you accept a Magisterium (a teaching authority), this is what each believer needs to do, to assess which verses are for a specific cultural time and which are transcultural. And guess what? Believers disagree on which are which in some cases.

  4. Daryl Little March 21, 2012 at 12:53 pm #

    Zondervan isn’t the church, so I suppose they’re free to publish whatever they’d like

    I don’t think this is so much a “Jimmy Carter Study Bible” as a “Jimmy Cater study, with Bible.”

  5. Walter Rykard March 23, 2012 at 10:44 am #

    Denny I am so proud of you,
    I just can not understand how a person can teach from the Bible for this many years and be a member of a party that believes in killing babies, homosexual marriage, just to name a few, and Support a Man for President like Obama.
    People do judge us by the company we keep. I am trying not to Judge President Carter, but I have a hard time understanding how anyone can be associated with a Liberal Party as the Democrats. At one time the Democrats were the Middle class Christians and some where it all change which I changed to the Republicans many years ago.I am not saying a political Party defines our Christianity, it is were our hearts are with our Father in heaven, but we are to live our lives so others can see Christ in us.
    Help me here please.
    Have a Blessed Day.

    • Denny Burk March 24, 2012 at 8:49 am #

      Thanks, Walter! Great to hear from you!


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