Anabaptist Bible project gets feedback

September 7, 2023 | News | Volume 27 Issue 18D
Barb Draper | Editorial Assistant
Waterloo, Ontario
John D. Roth, pictured in Waterloo last month during a meeting with the Anabaptism at 500 advisory group. (Photo courtesy of MennoMedia)

Local contributors to an Anabaptist Bible that is set for publication in 2025 met with the Bible’s advisory group last month. 

The advisory group for the Anabaptist Community Bible met in Waterloo, Ontario, in early August to do its first round of editing. Managing editor Mollee Moua invited contributors to join the group for dessert at Conrad Grebel University College on Aug. 11 so that the group could hear directly from grassroots participants.  

“What makes this project unique is that it draws on the contributions of ordinary people who studied the passages,” said John D. Roth, project director for MennoMedia’s Anabaptism at 500 venture.  

More than 590 study groups submitted notes for consideration in the forthcoming Bible. Marginal notes in the Bible will also include contributions from 61 Bible scholars from various Anabaptist denominations as well as comments that historians have gleaned from earlier Anabaptist leaders.  

In all, Roth estimates that about 6,000 people have contributed to the project. 

“We are grateful for all the Bible study groups who gave us content,” said Amy Gingerich, executive director and publisher at MennoMedia.  

The advisory group now faces the challenge of distilling 1,600 pages of notes. 

“The theological breadth of the church comes through in these notes, as each group found different points of connection to highlight,” Gingerich said in a recent MennoMedia release. “As Anabaptists, we believe that God shows up when we do Bible study together, and that comes through in the notes.” 

At the meeting in Waterloo, Roth asked for feedback about the experience. 

“We felt picked on,” commented one participant, half in jest and half in earnest. He explained that one of their passages was an entire chapter of curses.  

Others commented that the violence in the Old Testament was challenging to deal with. There was consensus that being the notetaker in the groups was difficult. 

Some groups worried that they were not doing the assigned task well enough, but Melissa Miller stood and offered the following: “We are Anabaptists, and we trust the Spirit to work in community.” 

Although several study groups found it challenging to come up with comments and questions for their assigned passages, they ultimately found it to be a rewarding experience. 

The Anabaptist Community Bible is the largest of the Anabaptism at 500 projects, which commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Anabaptist movement in 2025.  

It is the first Bible with commentary developed from an Anabaptist perspective. It will contain the full text of the Common English Bible with marginal notes as described above. MennoMedia is raising $1.5 million to bring the project to completion.  

Other projects from the Anabaptism at 500 venture include a commemorative story book that will capture the diverse and inspiring stories of Anabaptist witness from around the globe, as well as children’s books.

—With files from MennoMedia 

Related article:
Planning a people’s Bible

John D. Roth, pictured in Waterloo last month during a meeting with the Anabaptism at 500 advisory group. (Photo courtesy of MennoMedia)

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