I was at my local Goodwill by-the-pound store and found a book in the bins that could be described as a very abridged Bible for presenting the big picture of the biblical story. It was a small paperback and only 75 or so pages in length. However, in the crazed atmosphere of a Goodwill clearance center, I somehow did not arrive home with the book. It got lost somewhere in the shuffle. I liked the idea of it, and searched online for it without success. Then I was at a local used book store and stumbled upon The 100-Minute Bible. This is not the same one as at the Goodwill, but the same concept. It is published out of Great Britain by the 100-minute Press. I have the American edition – they must use American English in it rather than British.
Anyhow, in an increasingly biblically illiterate age, I think the concept of this Bible is a good one. It is designed to give someone an overview of the entire Bible in about 100 minutes of reading time. I believe the one I saw at the Goodwill was straight Scripture, but The 100-Minute Bible is different. It paraphrases/summarizes key Scripture texts. And in reverse of a traditional Bible where the Old Testament is the bulk of content, it majors on the New Testament since “the key to unlocking the Bible is Jesus Christ.” Of the 50 pages, 17 are on the Old Testament. Each page has a theme, such as: Abraham, Moses, David as King, Jesus’ Baptism and Temptation, Jesus Answers Questions, and the young church.
It could be helpful for a Christian who needs a review of the big picture of the Bible. We can all get lost in the details. But I think it would be primarily useful for someone who is not a Christian but interested in learning more. It could serve as a not-so-overwhelming introduction to the Bible, and serve as a spring board for further discussion and explanation.
I suppose some people won’t be pleased with such an abridged version of the Bible, and there is certainly subjectivity involved in what to include or not include. I was amused when it jumped straight from the Israelites getting the Law to Moses leading them in the desert for 40 years – without explanation as to why they ended up wandering so long. haha. But you obviously have to leave some content out. By the way, it doesn’t sugarcoat and leave out challenging content. A note in the introduction says: “A word of warning…Do not be put off by the bloodthirstiness of the first few sections – this is the social context into which God sends his own son to show a new way of living.”
While I am keeping this Bible on my shelf for now, it will be one I plan to give away in the right situation to someone interested in learning more about the Bible and Christianity.