A new Bible which connects Scriptures with some of the biggest issues of our day has been launched by Bible Society.
The Poverty and Justice Bible is the first ever to highlight more than 2,000 passages that speak of God's attitude to poverty and injustice. Challenging the notion that the Bible is a dusty, outdated rulebook, it shows that, on the biggest issues of our day, God got there first.
The Rt Revd Dr Tom Wright, Anglican Bishop of Durham and Bible Society's president, said: "Poverty and injustice are two of the biggest issues of our day, challenging the minds of politicians and social activists around the world.
"The imbalance of global wealth, famine, water shortages, exploitation and corruption are all issues that invoke outrage and demand attention. But The Poverty and Justice Bible shows that, in speaking out on these issues, God got there first.
"Before the Make Poverty History movement, before Sir Bob Geldof's Live 8 and before politicians began debating these issues, the Bible spoke loudly and clearly on poverty and justice.
"The Poverty and Justice Bible opens our eyes to that. It highlights literally that the Bible has something to say about issues that resonate today. This Bible connects with the very fabric of today's world, with all its problems and messiness and has something powerful to say."
The idea to develop The Poverty and Justice Bible was born out of a comment by US pastor Rick Warren, who said that he had studied theology and had been a pastor for decades but had missed more than 2,000 verses that speak of God's heart for the poor. He claimed that if Christians don't speak out against poverty and injustice, they lose their credibility.
Bible Society staff and experts spent months scouring the Contemporary English Version (CEV) Bible, locating verses relating to poverty and justice.
After weeks of debate, they were left with more than 2,000 sections. From Genesis to Revelation, almost every page emphasised just and fair behaviour.
The Poverty and Justice Bible also has a focus on 'doing', helping today's Christians link social action with Scripture. Produced with support from aid agency World Vision, it includes a 32-page study guide written by bestselling authors Nick and Claire Page. Topics range from equality to education, farming to Fairtrade.
The studies highlight that concern for the oppressed is foundational to faith, and encourage action from giving, to praying, to living responsibly.
Bible Society's Chief Executive James Catford said: "For us in this country, issues of poverty and justice have increasingly become front and centre. What this Bible shows is that on the topics that challenge us every day, God got there first. The Bible has something to say about life and, in fact, there's nothing on earth that we can experience that the Bible doesn't tackle.
"The Poverty and Justice Bible helps the Church engage with the Bible more effectively by linking Scripture with issues that are rooted in today's world. For Bible Society, this is just as important as our work to make the Bible available. It's all part of the fight against Bible poverty."
The Poverty and Justice Bible costs £9.99. Visit www.povertyandjusticebible.org to find out more.