|Biblebro Rating||Skeptic’s Annotated Bible||Quality|
The Skeptic’s Annotated Bible
Author: Steve Wells, an x-Christian. Nothing more is written about him personally in his book except “When I was a Christian, I never read the bible. Not all the way through, anyway. The problem was that I believed the Bible to be the inspired and inerrant word of God, yet the more I read it, the less credible the belief became. I finally decided that to protect my faith in the Bible, I’d better quit trying to read it.”
Study Note’s Information
Year published: 2012.
Versions: KJV (because he thinks old English sounds funny and makes the bible seem more ridiculous).
Price: $35.95 at Amazon
Rationalwiki.org says, “Wells spent some 20 years researching the Bible, Qur’an, and Book of Mormon to generate his Skeptic’s Annotated Bible”. Since there isn’t a statistics page with the number of notes, I’ll just say that in a book like Matthew (which I will be using for an example throughout this review), about 1 in every 5 verses has a note. The bible uses icons next to the notes; for example a laughing face means a verse is funny or ridiculous, a “not equal sign” ≠ means that the verse contradicts with another verse, and the scales sign points out verses on judgment.
An example of a good note is the note on Matthew 5:32 which says, “…What if the husband is unfaithful? Jesus doesn’t seem to care about that”. It’s those kinds of verses that get a person thinking and searching for answers.
An example of a bad note is the note on Matthew 13:41-50 which says, “Jesus will send his angels to gather up ‘all that offend’ and they ‘shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.’” Why is it a bad note? It’s because IT DOESN’T EXPLAIN ANYTHING. Pointing at verses and saying “this is dumb” aren’t beneficial.
Some notes are not notes at all; for example notes on Matthew 5:29-30 first have a note, and then display the verses that the notes are about. 2/3 of the Skeptic’s Annotated Bible’s notes are that way. Another example of that is notes on Matthew 14:25-31: IT’S JUST RELISTING THE VERSES.
The most interesting part of the notes is the “contradictions”. Some of these are right, and some are wrong. Correct contradictions are like Matthew 8:5-13 vs. Luke 7:2-10 which in Matthew, the centurion comes directly to Jesus, but in Luke, he sends a servant to talk to Jesus. In Matthew 8:28 vs. Mark 5:2 & Luke 8:27, Matthew says there was only one demon possessed man, but Mark and Luke both say this was the one demon possessed man named Legion. This, in my opinion, is the best part of the SAB.
Incorrect contradictions are like in Matthew 10:10 & Luke 9:3 vs. Mark 6:8-9 – Steve thinks Jesus was telling his disciples to walk around barefoot because in Mark it’s written out more clearly that the disciples should not bring 2 PAIRS OF SHOES, while in Matthew and Luke, Jesus said, “Don’t provide two cotes, shoes, staves… etc” which He obviously meant “don’t bring 2 of each of these things”.
Denomination: Atheist (not a Christian / Anti-Christian).
Beliefs: The bible is a ridiculous fairy tale and God is a blood thirsty tyrant murderer. The bible has some good stuff that we should extract and make into a short pamphlet while deleting the rest of it. Steve Wells said he “used to be a Christian”, but it’s clear that he is now Anti-Christian if you see the books he as written, including this one, such as “Drunk with Blood: God’s Killings in the Bible”. While the author does not believe the bible is right, he does stick up for some good things, like deaths or punishment of those who he perceives to be innocent.
Agenda: The agenda would be to get people to believe that the bible is either untrue or unreasonable. The author tries to point out the violent, sexual, or harsh parts of the bible that he thinks the church ignores. While the church emphasized God’s good character, Steve emphasizes the not so pleasant aspects of God and the bible. “Passages are highlighted that are an embarrassment to the Bible-believer” and “The SAB will help those who believe in the Bible to honestly reconsider that belief. It will help those who are unfamiliar with the Bible to resist the temptation to believe. And it will help those who have already rejected the Bible to defend their position.” He goes on, “It’s time for us all to stop believing in, or pretending to believe in, a book that is so unworthy of belief”.
The references aren’t as strong or as many as they could be, but then again, it’s not a reference bible, it’s an annotated bible. Mostly, verses have notes, but not much reference. The best references are the “contradictions”, which have references to the verses that may or may not actually contradict.
The “contradiction” verses aren’t written at the verse note, but are referenced. If you read his notes on his website, it’s actually more convenient since there is a link to click on to see the “contradicting” verses. If you’re reading along through the book like I am, then you’ll have to flip to the back of the bible each time there is a “contradiction”, then to the verses that are referenced.
Reading through the Skeptic’s Annotated Study Bible CAN be beneficial to Christians. However, I don’t recommend the book to anyone who hasn’t already read through the whole bible once on their own and made up their own mind before having Steve’s opinions in mind. Christian’s should share their faith. While sharing faith, a Christian is sure to come across someone like Steve who disagrees and even knows parts of the bible better than they do; it is unavoidable. These notes will either make your faith in God weaker or stronger. So, do I recommend it? Yes and no, depending on who you are, but since at the moment it is a one of a kind, I would recommend looking into it. You can actually see the whole thing for free at the Skeptic’s Study Bible Website.
As a last note, I gave the book a thumbs up as far as quality goes, because it is pretty good quality.