We had to do a little digging to make sure this thing was real, not some cool church’s April Fool’s gag. You can’t blame us. A luxury $300 Bible in Supreme red “designed with the highest craftsmanship and attention to detail” doesn’t sound like something that should exist. But it does. You can buy it right now, but we don’t recommend it.
The GPC NIV BIBLE is a product of Good Publishing Co., which says its mission is to “spread God’s Holy Word with the entire world.” Of course, a $300 price point puts this Bible well out of reach for most of the world. It’s undoubtedly a slick-looking product with end pages made from “custom brass toolsets,” hand-dyed Italian grossgain and custom lettering. Yeah, this collection of letters, poetry, ancient biographies, plays and sermon transcriptions has come a long ways from the shepherds, prophets, fishermen outlaws and kings who originally wrote it. In fact, it’s come so far that the most of the original authors couldn’t afford this edition if they spent their whole lives saving for it.
Fancy spins on the Bible are nothing new. This is hardly the first time that a publishing house has put a novelty spin on the Bible, which has resulted in any number of ill-advised Bible versions. From the Duck Commander Faith and Family Bible to the Law Enforcement Officer’s Bible, there have been plenty of times where Christian publishers have crafted oddly specific marketing schemes to get the Word of God off the shelf and into a target demographics’ hands. If this gets someone to take a new interest in spiritual teaching, that’s great. But you can only squeeze so much justification out of an campaign before these Bibles become consumer products first and Holy Writ second.
That’s doubly true for the GPC NIV BIBLE. The website spends a lot of time explaining the triple digit price by going into loving detail over the artisanal craftsmanship behind this “modern version of God’s Holy Word,” and no time at all on the words themselves. Which is probably for the best, since a lot of those words warn the rich about the dangers of wealth in striking detail. “Woe to you who are rich,” Jesus said in Luke 6:24. “For you have already received your comfort.” That’s a verse you can read in the $300 Bible. It’s Hypebeast-inspired content. It’s a product that could only come from a society that confuses art with consumerism and financial value with true worth. In short, it’s a bummer of biblical proportions.
In 1 Timothy 6:5, Paul cautions Timothy about those “who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.”
“But godliness with contentment is great gain,” he continues. “For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.”
This life of contentment is definitely difficult and we all have a lot of soul searching to do about the ways the love of money has infiltrated our lives. It can be difficult to discern where the line is. But luxury Bibles are obviously over it. If you don’t already have a Bible (statistically unlikely) then you can get one for free by asking any local church, ordering here or even checking out excellent apps like YouVersion. There are far more biblical uses for $300 than buying a luxury Bible.
Tyler Huckabee is RELEVANT's senior editor. He lives in Nashville with his wife, dog and Twitter account.