100-Minute Bible

100-Minute BibleI heard about this a few weeks ago, but refused to believe it. The 100-Minute Bible was launched on September 21st in England and at the risk of being sacrilegious, St. Paul is rolling in his grave… so to speak.

The 100-Minute Bible is primarily intended for people who have an interest in Christianity but not the time (nor tenacity!) to read the whole Bible. As the title indicates most people will only take 100 minutes to read it, making it ideal for an upcoming rail or aeroplane journey. [the100-minutepress.com]

What the hell? Seriously. This both says something about Christianity and society at large. I do believe that Christains need to be relevant to today’s society (although I am not so sure the Emergant Chuch has it right either), but there are appropriate ways to do this. In post-modern times this can be difficult, but needed. And it is still quite possible to retain tradition and more importantly Truth while still being relevant.

The way I see it the 100-Minute Bible is aimed at two groups: those interested in Christianity but don’t want to read the loooooong Bible AND Christians who don’t want to actually read the Bible but want to remain Christian. Let me discuss both groups.

For those that are interested in Christianity, I can understand that the Bible can be somewhat intimidating, it is, indeed, long. You have many options though. If someone is interested in Christianity, great, one of the first things you should know is that the Bible is considered sacred scripture and its authenticity is something that Christians try to hold in high regard. As such, any sort of modification to that text tends to be suspect. This is why Bible translation is such a difficult and important field. Bible translations attempt (some better than others) to capture original intent, meaning, and Truth. Any time a translator deviates from that, there are problems. If you have interest in Christianity, please respect the fact that the Bible exists as a whole and any sort of abridged version does not maintain the quality that is expected of a solid translation. Also, don’t feel you have to read all of the Bible if you are looking to find out more (that can come later). There are appropriate passages and sections that can be focused on (without having to throw out the rest), especially the Gospel of John. Another option would be to read books about the Bible that will let you know what is going on, the context, and theology to be found in the Bible without claiming to be the Bible. Gordon Fee’s How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth is a good introduction to what the Bible has to say. And many of C.S. Lewis’ books would be good reading for an introduction to Christianity (including the Narnia series). I just ask that you recognize that the Bible is a complex piece of literature that draws on many genres and can be read in pieces, but a truncated version is distinctly different.

To the second group (please see my post, Judge not…, before you jump all over me!), my brothers and sisters in Christ, I just have to say this: don’t be a lazy ass. You are short on time? That is the lamest excuse ever. Everyone has time, even if you don’t want to admit it to yourself. If you are reading this right now, you have time. No one ever said you had to read the entire Bible all at once, it would be stupid to suggest that you do (which is actually another thing the 100-Minute Bible does). No one even said you had to take your entire Bible with you everwhere you go. Take 5 minutes, read a Psalm. Take 15 minutes, read Phillipians. Whatever, just do it. Now of course, as a Christain, you should be wanting to grow in your faith and therefore would also want to meditate on the Word and that will often take a bit more time. But so what? You are (I am assuming) an adult, act like one and stop making excuses for displacing the practice of your nominal faith.

Just because society is set on being fast paced, doesn’t mean that religion has to be the same way. I think people should be able to come to Christianity as a breath of fresh air. Christianity should not act counter to what it is just because society acts that way.

UPDATE: Matt Gumm has a nice post on the 100-Minute Bible that offers more explicit suggestions for beginning Bible reading that will not deter from the whole Word.

Resources and articles:
The 100-Minute Bible Website, A sample of Matthew
New page-turner Bible is launched - BBC News
Speedy but spiritual: British cleric unveils ’100-Minute Bible’ - Yahoo News
’100-minute Bible’ is launched - CNN
Vicar launches ’100-Minute Bible’ - Times Online (UK)

Ή χάρις του κυρίου ημων Ίησου Χριστου μεθ’ υμων.

  1. Jae
    October 7th, 2005 at 22:50 | #1

    preach it brother!!!

    signed the chief of lazy asses,

  2. October 8th, 2005 at 16:13 | #2

    I hear what you are saying…but, is it possible that someone intimidated by reading the entire Holy Bible might actually pick this one up, read it in 100 or so minutes, and then want more?

    Very few actually read the entire Bible beginning to end, and in fact, I bet more people think they know what is in it simply because they’ve seen “The Ten Commandments”, “Jesus of Nazareth”, or “The Passion of the Christ”.

    It is true that the Bible is something that must be understood as a “whole”, the Truth, the Word of God, and to take pieces parts here and there will sometimes lead a person to a skewed understanding of God and His character.

    I’m all for reading the entire Bible front to back, I have done this twice, and probably will again, however, I don’t the the 100 minute Bible is being marketed as a “replacement” for the entire Word.

    It may serve to introduce some to the Word of God who otherwise wouldn’t take an interest.

  3. October 8th, 2005 at 17:54 | #3

    OH, I totally agree with you on the “don’t be a lazy ass” comment. I mean, even if you aren’t religious (and I’m not, although that’s a pretty long and complicated story that isn’t finished yet), the Bible is a great read.

  4. October 9th, 2005 at 05:23 | #4

    This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard of in awhile (the new book, not your post). I’m also wondering what the reaction would be had the author done the same thing to the Torah, or the Qua’ran.

    Bravo to everything you said.

  5. October 9th, 2005 at 11:24 | #5

    I think it’s a very good idea. It will be of far greater assistance to those wishing to delve or take an interest. It might even get someone to actually convert, though I don’t see that as being an advantage, you might. As for ‘what if the same were to to the Koran?’ quite clearly this would be a fantastic idea. I’d love to read all the world religeous books if I had the time. If someone compressed them then I would have a broader and better understanding of religion and spirituality in the round.

  6. October 9th, 2005 at 12:38 | #6

    I think of the 100-Minutes Bible like I do TBN, it may have a good outcome from time to time, but in general is a bad idea and a detriment to Christianity.

    I think that if someone was willing to just pick up the 100 minute Bible they could jsut as easly just read sections of the complete Bible. They even have complete Bibles for new believers that will highlight certain pasages that are good places to start. If a Christian knows someone is interested in Christianity it is their duty to suggest reading both in the Bible and out in secondary literature. If they don’t want to be overwhelmed then just highlight passages that would be helpful.

    Kim, I was thinking the same thing, especialy in relation to the Quran. For one, Muslims would NEVER allow that to happen (I don’t think) and secondly when I have interest in the Quran I just read from it because I recongnzie that any sort of condensed version is no longer the Quran. It is exactly the same with the Bible, any abridged version is no longer the Bible and will end up causing a skewed version of Christianity.

    If someone wants to know what the Bible says, either read it or buy an introductory text book of some sort. I definitely encourage people to take interest in the Bible but there are many ways that are much better than this.

    Thank you all for you feelings on this, it is good to have some discussion!

  7. October 9th, 2005 at 12:43 | #7

    Anther thing, if you have an interest in something, wouldn’t you want to have an accurate picture of that which you are studying? Its like wanting to know about physics and skipping Newton’s First AND Second laws. Wanting a broader understanding is fine, find a text book (Like Ludwig’s The Sacred Paths) that will do its best to define what the different religions beleive and will highlight different scriptures but without claiming to be the scripture. If there really is an interest the “if I had time” mentality is not a very good excuse. What that really means is “I kinda like that topic but I would rather do other things with my time.”

  8. October 9th, 2005 at 15:05 | #8

    Exactly Matt. We were just discussing this im my “How to Pray” class. If you value prayer and or reading the Bible you will give it priority. Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day…what you do with it shows what is important to you.

  9. October 9th, 2005 at 21:13 | #9

    Indeed Sal! I can say that I am interested in something but until my actions follow my words, the words are fairly hollow.

  10. October 10th, 2005 at 09:13 | #10

    I tend to think of the 100 Minute Bible like the Message Translation. It’s a additional tool to use for the study of the Scriptures, it is however, not a substitute for reading the inspired Word itself, nor of our call to remain in the Word as the Holy Spirit reveals its truths to us in our lives. Nice post.


  11. October 10th, 2005 at 12:00 | #11

    Brad I would tend to agree. While I agree that The Message should not be used for study, it is a wonderful tool for devotions or reading aloud. Not only that, it is still the entire scriptures based on the original Greek and Hebrew. If you suggest The Message is not the inspired Word itself, what does count as the inspired Word? Maybe I am biased becaue I am a big fan of The Message (while not for study), but in my mind, there is a huge difference between a paraphrase translation and a truncated version with much of the inspired Word completely missing.

  12. October 11th, 2005 at 09:31 | #12

    The Bible is not something that can be summed up in a few words anyway. Misinterpretation of the Bible has caused such things as war and schisms and more war. If someone wants to take on the huge responsibility of religion, he better be prepared to go all the way. We don’t need novices reading partial messages and then going out and acting “in the name of religion.”

  13. October 11th, 2005 at 15:08 | #13

    I definitely agree Daedalus, so much confusion and misinterpretation will arise out of anything less that the real deal (we already get enough confusion and misinterpretation with the real deal as it is!). I am ok with novices reading bits and pieces of the Bible for gathering information with the understanding that they have missed much of the message.

  14. October 11th, 2005 at 20:25 | #14

    12 years in the private school sector stamped out whatever issues or concerns I may have ever had concerning my desire to read the Word and my even GREATER desire to not waste my time…

    The 100-Minute Bible is as much of a sham as that tired, red “Kabbalah” string that dangles hypocritically from Britney Spears’ wrist; I agree with you wholeheartedly that this shorcut to the divine is ridiculous and wrong.

    In my former life, I was quite the devout Catholic. And even now that I no longer practice any faith - a decision I came to after talking with my priest about offering up empty prayers when I simply couldn’t reconcile some things with God - I still respect and admire genuine faith. It appalls me that people are offering an easy way to eternal salvation; even more disturbing is the fact that people are actually taking this crap up. If there is any part of your life that you can’t just skim over or thumb through, this HAS to be it.

    Besides, editing the Bible is dangerous; the first one was divinely inspired…who knows who this one was inspired by?

  15. October 11th, 2005 at 22:54 | #15

    I am sorry that you have such a negative view of Christianity, but am glad that you can still respect the Word enough not to cut it up. And yeah, it is just as much a sham as the now trendy Kabbalah. “It appalls me that people are offering an easy way to eternal salvation; even more disturbing is the fact that people are actually taking this crap up.” I could not have said it better myself. Spirituality is not something to be taken lightly, ever. Thanks for your comment, it is greatly appreciated.

  1. October 12th, 2005 at 22:44 | #1
  2. October 9th, 2005 at 19:08 | #2
  3. October 10th, 2005 at 10:46 | #3
  4. October 12th, 2005 at 11:11 | #4

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