Snippets from Jeff Lindsay:

Bill Clinton's Good News Bible

Whether they liked his politics or not, many Christians recognized that Bill Clinton was not a President whose private life was deeply rooted in the Bible. Many might suspect that the Bible would be the last place that he would turn to for strength and inspiration. But now that Clinton is out of the White House, the Bible appears to have become a significant part of his life. Some people are asking "Why?", but I suspect the real question is "Which Bible?"

Before I explain, here is an excerpt from CNSNews.com demonstrating Clinton's love affair with the Bible (Steve Brown, "Davis/Clinton Church Rally Sparks Call for IRS Investigation," Sept. 18, 2003):

A Sept. 14 political rally meant to criticize the recall effort aimed at booting California Democratic Gov. Gray Davis from office is the target of a liberal watchdog group's federal complaint because the rally was held at a Los Angeles church.

The event took place at the First African Methodist Church and featured Davis and former President Bill Clinton.

In its Sept. 16 letter to the Internal Revenue Service requesting an investigation, Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU) called the incident a clear violation of the church's tax-exempt status.

According to Fox News, Clinton took to the pulpit before a predominantly black congregation of nearly 1,000 people, mixing biblical quotes with his calls for voters to reject the Davis recall.

Forget about the potential loss of liberty here if citizens can't speak out about major issues while standing on church property. The big news is that Clinton is comfortable, and even fluent, with Bible quotes. The former President, whose personal values once revulsed millions of Bible-believing Americans, is not hanging out at parties mixing drinks, but prefers to be behind the pulpit mixing quotes from the Bible. What's up?

I suspect the answer may be in the Bible - specifically, in the rare 1631 printing of the King James Bible that I am guessing he received as a present from some other head of state who understood Clinton's spiritual desires. The significance of Clinton's new-found respect for the Bible, that is, for his special Bible, became clear to me last night while reading Alister F. McGrath's book, In the Beginning: The Story of the King James Bible and How it Changed a Nation, a Language, and a Culture (New York: Doubleday, 2001). McGrath discusses the numerous printing errors that occurred in early editions of the Bible (pp. 213-216), and notes a particularly troublesome error in 1631 (p. 216):

More serious was the misprint in an edition of 1631, which rendered Exodus 20:14 as follows: "Thou shalt commit adultery." The omission of the word "not" was speedily corrected, but not before this had caused some consternation among the Bible's readers. Robert Barker and Martin Lucas, the printers of this "Wicked Bible" - as it came to be known - were fined severely for this unfortunate lapse.
Could it be that the Bible that the former President is toting and quoting was printed in 1631? If so, then we might well imagine his response: "Now that's what I call the Good News Bible!"

Jeff Lindsay, Sept. 22, 2003

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