The Green Bible is a version of the Bible that highlights verses and passages that relate to environmental stewardship and care for creation. The text of the Bible itself is the New Revised Standard Version, but key verses and sections relevant to nature and the earth are printed in green ink instead of the standard black.
The Green Bible was conceived and published in 2008 by HarperOne, a division of HarperCollins Publishers. The goal was to make it easier for people to see and reflect on what the Bible says about the environment and our responsibility as Christians to care for God’s creation. The Green Bible includes over 1,000 references highlighted in green, an index of green subjects and themes, essays by religious leaders on creation care, and resources for further study and reflection.
Some of the key green themes that emerge from the text include:
God Created the Earth
The Bible opens with the majestic account of God creating the heavens, the earth, and everything in them in six days. Humanity is portrayed as the pinnacle of creation, made in God’s image and likeness and given dominion over the earth (Genesis 1:1-2:3). The earth and all of nature belong to God, not to humans, as the Maker of heaven and earth.
The Goodness of Creation
Throughout Genesis 1, God sees that His creation is “good” and by the end, He sees everything He has made as “very good” (Genesis 1:31). The created world has inherent goodness because it comes from the hand of a good God. All parts of creation—land, sea, plants, trees, animals, humans—have goodness and value because they are made by God.
Creation’s Praise of God
The Psalms, in particular, highlight how all of creation praises God and gives Him glory simply by being what He made it to be. “Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!” the Psalmist declares (Psalm 150:6). The heavens, earth, seas, plants, animals, and humans all have a role in praising the greatness and goodness of God through their very existence.
God’s Providence over Creation
Passages like Psalm 104 emphasize God’s providential care for His creation. God makes the grass grow for cattle, causes springs to flow into rivers, sets the moon to mark the seasons, feeds the wild animals, and provides food from the earth for all living creatures. The entire natural order relies on God’s provision and governance.
Covenant with Creation
When God establishes His covenant with Noah after the flood, He includes not just humanity but all of the earth: “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth” (Genesis 9:9-10). God’s redemptive plan is for all of creation, not just human beings.
Caring for Creation
God’s mandate for humanity in the Garden of Eden—to “work it and take care of it” (Genesis 2:15)—implies responsible stewardship of the earth’s resources. Passages like Deuteronomy 20:19-20 and Leviticus 25 instruct the Israelites not to destroy fruit trees or overwork the land, but to care for it even in times of war. Wise use of natural resources is upheld.
All Creation Groans
In the New Testament, Paul explains that creation has been subjected to frustration and groaning because of humanity’s fall into sin, though it still waits in hope for God’s redemption (Romans 8:18-22). Misuse of creation began with the first humans, but God promises ultimate restoration.
Christ as Creator and Redeemer
The New Testament reveals Christ as not only Savior but Creator. “Through him all things were made,” John 1:3 declares. Colossians 1:15-20 affirms that all things were created by Christ and find their purpose in Him. As Creator, Christ is also the one who reconciles and restores creation.
Revelation depicts a vision of a new heaven and new earth, in which God fully restores and renews the entire cosmos from the effects of sin and death (Revelation 21:1-4). God’s plan of redemption encompasses not just humans but the whole natural world.
Our Role as Stewards
From beginning to end, the Bible suggests that human beings have a unique responsibility to steward well the creation that God has placed under our management. Passages like Genesis 2, Genesis 9, Psalm 8, and Revelation 21 imply caregiving oversight of the earth as part of what it means to be made in God’s image. We are called to reflect God’s own care and creativity.
Dependence on God, Not Creation
At the same time, the Bible warns against worshiping nature itself rather than the Creator. Deuteronomy 4:19 prohibits revering the sun, moon, stars, and other parts of creation. Romans 1:25 condemns those who worship and serve created things rather than the Creator. Appreciation for God’s creation should not lead to pantheism or nature worship.
A Theology of Care
While conservationism and environmentalism are modern movements, a theology of creation care has ancient roots in the biblical text. The Bible provides a framework for valuing nature as God’s handiwork, trusting in His providence, avoiding extremes of nature worship or disregard, and understanding our place in the created order.
Call to Faithfulness
From Genesis to Revelation, the Green Bible highlights how God has entrusted His creation to humanity to oversee and care for. As stewards created in His image, we have a unique duty to be faithful in how we use and treat the amazing world God gave us. How we treat nature and the environment is an outflow of our love for the Creator.
While the Bible may not give exact guidelines for every environmental issue we face today, the Green Bible draws out timeless theological principles for why creation care matters. As we develop ethics and practices of sustainability, these biblical truths provide a vital foundation. The Scriptures remind us of nature’s inherent goodness, value, and purpose in glorifying God.