The Bible, the word of God?

Photo: Pål Berge / Wikimedia Commons The Norwegian Bible.

Photo: Pål Berge / Wikimedia Commons
The Norwegian Bible.

Ragnar Overby
Arlington, Va.

As far as I remember, there was only one Bible when I grew up in Norway. It was called “The Bible” or sometimes God’s Word. Formally it was always The King James Version, just as it was here in the United States. That was 70 years ago and the world has changed a lot since then. We are in a time now when things change faster than at any other time in human history and change has become normal. Including—unfortunately—the “unchangeable” word of God.

Nowadays the news is mostly about what might happen next, rather than about what has happened, which is what news was all about when I was young. People are restless and impatient now. Epicurean, some say. Spoiled, says others. They are turning into iPhones!

Anyway, when a new version of the Bible was brought to my mind my reaction was that God must have changed His mind. As it turned out, it was written by dissatisfied restless humans and God had nothing to do with it. In other words, all the differences in it were not God’s word such that referring to the Bible as God’s word was no longer strictly true. I realize that the first written Bible would also not have existed if it had not been written by humans, but I grew up without thinking like that. The Bible was said to be inerrant; its writers governed by the Holy Spirit, and changing it even a little bit would most likely soon allow bigger bits of change and so forth.

And, sure enough, not long after I first came across that new version of the Bible, other versions surfaced! One day I asked a friend if these must be produced by the Devil as weapons in his fight against God? These days when people tell you what the Bible says, it makes sense to ask them what Bible they are referring to! Whatever they say the Bible says, I can say “Mine does not say that”—and the Devil chuckles and feels good.

There are many more versions than the different ones listed below, but among them we can see the Devil’s Spirit surface! Take for example these:
• Inclusive Version—AIV: 1995, stresses equality of the sexes and physically handicapped, includes Psalms.
• Word Made Fresh—WMF: 1988, a paraphrase with humor and familiar names and places for those who have no desire to read the Bible.
• Versified Rendering of the Complete Gospel Story—VRGS: 1980, the gospel books written in poetic form, contains the four gospels.
• Restored New Testament—PRNT: 1914, a version giving an interpretation according to ancient philosophy and psychology.

I am not making a living doing the disgusting work of digging up changed versions of the Bible and am only pointing toward an ominous trend demonstrating the desacralization of our times. The Spiritual climate is changing!

Nothing surprises anymore, I thought, until the other day when I came across “The Gluten-Free Bible.”

The Gluten-Free Bible!

Those who think I am exaggerating and perhaps not serious may wish to browse through a long list of Bible versions at

The Gluten-free Bible is, however, the only one that has nothing in it about God or Jesus or the Holy Spirit, or about end-times and love and Christmas, or justice and peace, politics and economics. It is about eating right, staying healthy, and looking good. It is just another use of the word Bible. There is still something authoritative in the word Bible that is being tapped into—to sell books on how to eat and do things having nothing to do with religion.

This article originally appeared in the Feb. 6, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

Norwegian American Logo

The Norwegian American

The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.