Study Guide

The Poisonwood Bible Religion

By Barbara Kingsolver


We know all about the Bible, and not just The Poisonwood Bible.

Well, a couple of them anyway. There are so many different translations and editions, it's impossible to know all of them. There are even whole books of the Bible that people disagree about whether or not they should be in there, namely, the Apocrypha. Nathan Price knows what he thinks: namely, that they're awesome. He raves about apocryphal books like he (lowercase "h") wrote them. His reasoning? To instill fear into the hearts of his congregation—like this gets people closer to God or something. We prefer the hugs not bugs (as in, plagues of locusts) method ourselves.

Questions About Religion

  1. Why are the people of Kilanga wary of Christianity? What associations do they have with Christianity?
  2. Brother Fowles says, "There are Christians and then there are Christians" (3.8.80). Of the characters in The Poisonwood Bible, who would you put into each of these categories?
  3. How would Nathan Price be different if he weren't a Christian?
  4. How does each daughter's belief in God change over the course of the novel?

Chew on This

The Bible may be the Word of God, but it's also the words of men. And some of those men, like Nathan Price, twist the words to their own cruel intentions (and we don't mean the Sarah Michelle Gellar kind).

Some religions are more appropriate for some parts of the world than others. Nathan's Christianity does not adapt to the jungles of the Congo, where their own gods have already taken root.