Posted: Thursday, September 22, 2005 at 3:12 am ET
"This is a gateway to the Bible for everybody. We have to face the fact we live in an overwhelmingly secular society and must do all we can to present people with the story and what Christianity is about." Those are the words of Rev. Martin Hinton, a British churchman who decided that the Bible is just to intimidating for modern readers.
According to The Guardian [London], Hinton has produced a condensed Bible intended to be read in just 100 minutes. "We have sacrificed poetry to clarity," Mr Hinton commented. "Those who want a sense of the glorious poetry in the Bible will have to look elsewhere, but anyone who wants a sense of the story and the argument will find it here."
Len Budd, publisher of the slimmed-down Bible, admitted that much had been lost in the reduction. "Is it a dumbing down of the Bible? Yes, but that's the world today. Although we as Christians love the Bible it is very user-unfriendly. People just don't have time to read it. If this book means more people can answer pub quiz questions on the Bible, so much the better."
So, that's the point? It appears that the purpose behind this project is something closer to cultural literacy than evangelism. The new edition is "not an evangelical document," Mr. Budd explained.
Jonathan Petre of The Telegraph [London] described the project this way: "In the beginning was the Word. But the Word went on a bit, so a new version of the Bible has been produced for readers with short attention spans."
The 100-Minute Bible is the perfect symbol of our age of truncated attention spans and rampant biblical illiteracy. At the current rate of declining interest and literacy, 100 minutes will soon be unacceptably long.