word, light, man, woman, begat, begat, begat..

Now, I’m not a religious man.. at all [whodathunkit? – Ed], but even I think this is a ludicrous idea. The Times covers the 100-minute Bible here, but the Guardian has a rather telling quote from the publisher, Len Budd, a former chairman of the deanery at Canterbury “Is it a dumbing down of the Bible? Yes, but that’s the world today… If this book means more people can answer pub quiz questions on the Bible, so much the better.”

The man responsible for condensing the Bible, Rev Martin Hinton, has claimed – “We have sacrificed poetry to clarity.”

And, as a comparison, here is a sample from the 100-minute Bible, and the King James Bible’s version of the same sermon on the mount

Also worth reading is The Guardian’s John Crace [he called the 100-minute version the Ronseal edition: “It says 100 minutes on the tin and that’s what it is.”] – The ‘If you don’t have 100 minutes version’

God created heaven and earth in six days. He then made Adam, quickly followed by Eve when he saw that Adam was bored. Their descendants proved a real disappointment, so he flooded the world and started again.

But I’ll pick out one of the submissions to the G’s Newsblog

word, light, man, woman, begat, begat, begat, flood, 10 rules, big wall, trumpet, more rules, rainbow robe, shepherd, star, carpenter, do unto others, fish in a basket, gone-but not for long, convert, convert, convert, 4 horsemen


  • smcgiff

    The 10 second version of the bible.

    A long time ago, in a land far far away… We will all live happily ever after (except the ones that are not of our religion – but they don’t deserve to!).

  • smcgiff

    However, if the bible being translated from Latin to the current accepted ‘English’ bible was such a huge thing, which it surely was, then the updating of the bible to the 21st century English should be equally welcome.

    The sample as given was well put, but I wonder if it loses impact without the ‘Thou’ and ‘Behold’ type words, which ironically was partially the reason the RC church didn’t want it translated into ‘English’ in the first place.

  • peteb

    Even the publisher isn’t strictly claiming it to be an updating of the Bible, smcgiff… he called it a dumbing down.. justifying that by claiming that the modern world has dumbed down.

    That, I suggest, is an under-estimating [or at least a misunderstanding] of the modern world.

  • Denny Boy

    I’m a Christian and have no problem at all with this.

    The NT is not the word of Jesus, but the words of Jesus remembered (and probably half-remembered half the time) by men writing decades later.

    If the gist of it is there, and people can learn a little love from it, then that’s good enough for me.

  • smcgiff

    ‘justifying that by claiming that the modern world has dumbed down.’

    It’s only a matter of time (even if its geological terms) before the bible is updated for modern usage. The sooner the better and hopefully it wont take a schism this time.

  • peteb

    Denny Boy.. here’s a good example of the gist of it, again from the G’s Newsblog

    GOD is pleased to announce that, after a long period of mutual misunderstanding (including, and in particular, the regrettable incident during which His son was nailed to a piece of wood) and all appearances to the contrary, relations between Himself and humanity have now been normalised and everything will turn out all right in the end so long as EVERYBODY BEHAVES HIM OR HERSELF (see Addendum).

    God (and Jesus sends his regards, you naughty people)


    The Rules (abbreviated form)

    1. Nobody moves, nobody gets hurt.
    2. Don’t even think about it.

  • Denny Boy



  • Harry Flashman

    I never understand the problem people have with the old Bible, they always say “those thous and thees…sure young people can’t understand it”, but I ask why? I understood it perfectly when I was a kid and I was no Einstein, as did generations before me, what’s the problem with young people today? I mean it can’t be because they’re more stupid than we were, after all we hear every August about the fantastic exam results they keep getting, so if they’re so damn brainy why can’t they understand the Bible?

    I think the King James Bible contains some of the most beautiful language ever in the canon of English writing. I’m not a Prod by the way, heck I’m not even a Christian any more, but when we were wee’uns in Derry we had absolutely no difficulty understanding what ‘thou’ and ‘thee’ meant, it wasn’t exactly rocket science. So what is it with the yoof today who seem to have no difficulty comprhending the utter gobbledygook of rap lyrics that they have a problem with the language in the Bible?

    No, leave the Bible alone, don’t dumb it down, you won’t get one single extra believer but leave it there on the shelf it will be remarkable how when someone eventually needs it they will be able to take it down and comprehend its magnificently sublime message without any problems at all.

  • Yoda

    Maybe the world is not being dumbed-down per se, but I do think that there is an increasingly consumerist attitude to everything. Texts become mere “information,” and we’re all plugged into our Bluetooths saying things like “just gimme the executive summary.” Our sense of self-importance bloats and art, nuance, subtlety, degree and shading are all victims. That makes us all a little more stupid.

    And the very idea that there’ll be “christians” running about with the executive summary version of the bible scares the shite out of me. More doctrinaire, more moral absolutism, more black and white christianity is just what the world needs like a hole in the head.


    Well, I’ve got my favourite sin down to about three minutes, so it’s only right and proper that those who want to chastise me speed up the process as well.

  • Henry94


    Well, I’ve got my favourite sin down to about three minutes

    I noticed your posts were getting shorter.

  • anne dunne


    Your post puts me in mind of another approach to Bible streamlining taken by Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson produced a compilation “The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth”, in which he cut out all the references to genealogy, miracles, resurrections and greek and platonic influences (please don’t ask me what these last two are).

    According to Jefferson he was rescuing the philosophy of Jesus and the “pure principles which he taught,” from the “artificial vestments in which they have been muffled by priests, who have travestied them into various forms as instruments of riches and power for themselves.”


    “abstracting what is really his from the rubbish in which it is buried, easily distinguished by its lustre from the dross of his biographers, and as separate from that as the diamond from the dung hill.”

    I’m not completely sure meself. My kids think the best bits are those with the animals in – floods and whales and the like.

  • 6countyprod

    This ‘new’ Bible is actually a summary rather than a translation.

    If it prompts people to link to the real thing,
    to read more, it will have accomplished a lot.

  • smcgiff

    Jaysus, lads/lassies,

    Ye’d have been the very people to claim the Latin bible was fine the way it was.

    Talk about poachers becoming gamekeepers!

  • ch in dallas

    What’s next? The Mona Lisa as a Smiley Face with Hair? I’m a Catholic, but the KJV is beautiful English. What happens to the 23rd Psalm? My cup runneth over becomes I spilled my pint? Poetry lifts the spirit beyond mere words giving you “info.”

  • Yoda

    Ye’d have been the very people to claim the Latin bible was fine the way it was.

    Personally, I don’t read any of them.

  • anne dunne

    Do the Jedi not have a Bible?


    Touchè Henry.

    If I don’t stop it I’m sure to go blind.

  • Yoda

    Of bibles I have no need. Too cute and green am I. Mmm. Yes.

  • Whatabout

    When can we expect the film of the book? Is Mel Gibson interested?

  • Alan McDonald

    No, it will be Austin Pendleton in the movie version. See his work as The Fifteen Minute Hamlet.

  • maca

    The only bible worth reading is the one by Spike Milligan. Some quotes:

    And the Lord called Moses unto the mountain, and Moses trmbled because the walk to the top of the mountain shaggeth him out. He was with the Lord forty days and forty nights, he ate not bread and drank not water, and he loseth weight and, lo, his trousers falleth down. The Lord liked not what he saw. “Tis a small thing, but mine own,” said Moses

    Jacob goeth and chose a wife: one of the daughters of Heth.
    “Which one will you have?” said Heth
    And Jacob said, “The one with the big tits”

    Classic stuff.

  • born-again


    Would that be in the Prodestant Bible or the Fenian one (Douay-Rheims)? :>)

  • ganching

    …then begat begot a bigot…

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    Can we now expect the ‘new improved koran without the nasty bits about women and infidels’ and the ‘pamphlet of mormon’?