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Published on October 8th, 2005 | by Alex and Brett Harris

Jiffy N’ Lou: Installment #104

It’s time once again for America’s favorite comic strip: The Adventures of Jiffy N’ Lou! Brought to you courtesy of the late New Attitude Magazine, Joshua Harris, and The Rebelution. Click on image to enlarge.

[Note: Image may be enlarged a second time by clicking on it again, once it is in its own window.]

Just a comic strip? Absolutely not. This strip, drawn nearly eight years ago, predicts our culture’s tendency to dumb down the Bible and limit its ability to impact our lives. For example, Rev. Martin Hinton, a British churchman, has decided that the Bible is just too intimidating for modern readers. “We have to face the fact,” Hinton argues, “[that] we live in an overwhelmingly secular society and must do all we can to present people with the story and what Christianity is about.”

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.

Len Budd, publisher of the slimmed-down Bible, admits that much has been lost in the reduction, but says it’s worth it. “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.”

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.”

Dr. Albert Mohler does an excellent job addressing the issue when he said: “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.”

Continue to Jiffy N’ Lou: Installment #105

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About the Author

are the co-founders of TheRebelution.com and co-authors of Do Hard Things and Start Here. They have a passion for God and for their generation. Their personal interests include politics, filmmaking, music, and basketball. They are both graduates of Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia.



  • http://niroveka.blogspot.com Veronika W.

    Ok, that’s just sick, in fact, it’s blasphemy. What is “christianity” coming to…or actually, where has it gone?

    I think I’m going to be sick…

  • Nathan Straub

    Your comments on the 100 min. Bible reminded me of the E.B. White essay entitled “Irtnog” http://www.i-love-english.com/NonCGI/Forum1/HTML/000001.html

    It criticizes “condensed books” and literary digests, to the effect that their real purpose is to reassure people that they’re not missing anything, rather than providing them with knowledge.

  • http://galofgraygables.blogspot.com Hannah

    I might start an off-topic debate by saying this, but one cannot be too surprised by the “100 minute Bible” when we already have other condensed or edited versions of the Bible, such as The Message.
    If people are alright with taking out little bits of the Bible, or changing it in small ways (The Message), the “100 min.” is just the next logical step.

  • http://recordari.blogspot.com HannaH

    Concerning condensed books Ray Bradbury writes in the Coda of Fahrenheit 451, “How do you cram 400 short stories by Twain, Irving, Poe, Maupassant and Bierce into one book?
    Simplicity itself. Skin, debone, demarrow, scarify, melt, render down and destroy. Every adjective that counted, every verb that moved, every metaphor that weighed more than a mosquito–out! Every simile that would have made a sub-moron’s mouth twitch–gone! Any aside that explained the two-bit philosophy of a first-rate writer–lost!
    Every story, slenderized, starved, bluepenciled, leeched and bled white, resembled every other story. Twain read like Poe read like Shakespeare read like Dostoevsky read like–in the finale–Edgar Guest. Every word of more than three syllables had been razored. Every image that demanded so much as one instant’s attention–shot dead.
    …The point is obvious. There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running about with lit matches.”

    Let’s not “burn” the Bible.

  • http://www.jamiekiley.com J

    Hmm. I definitely agree with you guys that replacing the Bible with a 100-minute pamphlet is outrageous. On the other hand, I actually think something like this might be a good complement to the Bible. I haven’t read it, and I would obviously have to reserve judgment on this question until I did read it, but it seems like it might be a helpful introduction to assist beginners in getting oriented. (You have to admit, after all, that the Bible can be a difficult book to just launch into if you have no background of biblical training.)

    What do you think?

  • http://www.rebelution.blogspot.com Brett Harris

    Nathan: Thanks for the link. I’ll have to check that out when I get a minute.

    Hannah: Hmmmm . . . I don’t know if I agree with you on the Message translation. It is one thing to translate Biblical language into its modern day equivalent (MESSAGE) and it’s another to abridge the Bible into a Biblical digest. Granted, I don’t know if people should only read the Message translation, but it can be helpful. At least, I’ve found it to be.

    HannaH: Excellent connection! I love that book.

    J: I agree. It is a good complement. But not a replacement. I wouldn’t mind people using alongside their Bible reading. But for people to replace their Bible reading with the 100-Minute-Bible would be shameful.

  • Chad

    Before the Reformation, parish priests across Europe delivered sermons largely based not so much on Scripture but on stories found within Scripture, such as David and Goliath or the changing of water to wine at Cana. There was little reference to matters of doctrine or theology. The priests did this because they thought that it would make things much more “accessible” to the largely uneducated population. Of course, we all know what problems existed in the Church pre-Reformation. So should making things “accessible” really be the goal of our faith?

  • http://galofgraygables.blogspot.com Hannah

    Brett,

    I’m not trying to be over critical about translations of the Bible, but I do believe that when people take the liberty of ommitting and adding to the Bible, that we are in danger of the meaning being lost.
    I used to hold the same opinion as you about the Message, until I began comparing passages of the Message with passages from NIV. The meanings of several verses in the Bible were changed in the Message translation. For example, The Message’s translations of 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 and 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 omit references to homosexuality and adultery as sins, and also provide loopholes through which homosexuals can justify their sin, making the verse less accurate but more politically correct. There is a side by side comparison of certain verses from the Message on this website, if you are interested: http://www.crossroad.to/Bible_studies/Message.html

    The point I tried to make in my original post, is that when we try to change the meaning of the Bible in little ways, that it leads to changing it in bigger, more pronounced ways. Hence, the “100 minute Bible.”

  • http://smarthomeschool.com Alex King

    Hannah,

    I’m of the opinion that anything except for the Greek and Hebrew isn’t going to be perfect – you’ll always loose something in the translation. That’s why you should look up words in them when you can when you’re reading any Bible. Of course, with the Message you can often loose a lot in the translation, as it depends more and more on the translator understanding what the passage says. And since they’re humans, they won’t always get it right. I personally wouldn’t stop reading for that reason alone though, when many of the verses are put in today’s language so wonderfully. But I would never use it for study.

  • http://galofgraygables.blogspot.com Hannah

    Alex,

    I do not really have any problems with the other translations (NIV, NASB, NKJV, KJV), because they were translated from the Greek by several people. The Message was translated by one man, and I do not think it is as accurate because of the political correctness that was inserted into some verses.

    You made a good point regarding the Greek, and it got me to begin looking up the accuracy of the NIV and NASB. Thanks for being thought provoking. :-)

    BTW:
    Here’s another example of the Bible being “toned down.” http://galofgraygables.blogspot.com/2005/09/secular-bible.html

  • Chris

    This sort of thing is a living nightmare for me. Sometimes it makes me want to scream…

    One of my heroes, second to Jesus Christ, is Martin Luther, father of the Reformation. At his time the Word was not considered readable by the common people; only the Catholic higher-ups were allowed to interpret it. This lead to terrible offenses against God and against the suffering poor, such as indulgences. It was said that a contribution of money could decrease a soul’s time in “purgatory.” And since the Bible was read chiefly in Latin (Luther had to make the first German translation), the people were not able to combat the tyrannical teachings of those who called themselves the “church.”

    What is wrong with this picture?! God had to raise up a hero (Luther) to challenge the tyrannical things that the abominable “church” was doing. This changed the course of history as the Word was released for the common people, in its relative fullness and yet in the common tongue.

    Yet I fear that things are returning to a similar state…

    How can this be happening?! We are returning to the way things were before the Reformation…

    Revelation 22:18-19! I figure it’s pretty important if it’s just about the last thing in the entire Bible!

    There is something terribly wrong going on in the “church” today. I lived in exactly the way a good little “church” kid should for thirteen years and I was lost as anyone else. Almost more so, because I was a modern-day Pharisee.

    How can anyone go back to legalism when Jesus died to destroy the Law of sin and death?

    There are so many problems I could never cover all of them in one comment…

    I’m almost overwhelmed…. But recently God told me to stop complaining about this and actually DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. And even before that He showed me that if we simply follow Him unquestioningly, He will do something even more amazing at my school this year than He did last year with the revival. And I really feel like it’s going to be big…

    There is still hope if the TRUE people of God will unite and do whatever He tells them. I really believe that there is at least one major revival left before the end…. And it’s already starting in many places.
    All we can do is pray and get in the Word and follow God’s lead.

  • Stephanie Joy

    “HELP!!!!! I’M A TOE!!!!!!!!!” that is so true. If I cut off everything that causes me to stumble, I would have to cut out the part of my heart that I hate, the part that’s full of sin. I wish I could do that, but I can never be perfect ’til I’m in glory with Him. Good comic strip, though

  • emily

    FUNNY!!! is followinfg what God says to do so terrible? “Help, i’m a toe!” reminds me that God wants to use us an we are like different parts of the church body.

  • John

    The Message is not a translation, but a paraphrase. I believe that Peterson never intended it to be read as a Bible—I don’t even consider it a Bible at all. It verges more on commentary.

  • Kayla S.

    it’s wrong. it’s just another way to give people the easy way out instead of doing something that makes them think and work harder. it’s God’s word. His word should especially not be over looked or condensed. There are plenty of different translations and tips in Bibles now. It’s like taking things out of the Bible and saying oh this isn’t as important so we don’t have to read it. i just hope that if people read the “100 minute Bible”, they would be encouraged to read the whole thing.

  • Sarah Beth

    Emily, it made me think the same thing.

  • someone

    I know that my post is a little late but I just wanted to say something. Though not ever verse of The Message or the NIV or all the other written translations may be wrong they are not God’s perfect Word. Neither are the Greek or Hebrew translations which were written by men who were trying to define the Bible the way they wanted. The only true and perfect Bible is the Authorized, KJV, 1611, Bible. The first Bible ever written and the only true and perfect Bible. The Greek and Hebrew translations are a bunch of baloney. You read God’s Word and compare it with the rest of the Scripture not some Greek or Hebrew translation.
    I am not putting down anyone who reads the other translations but I plead with you to do your research before you decide to buy any old Bible. Sure the new translations may be easier to read but they have also twisted the message around. ALex and Brett I enjoy your website immensely and I think you are doing a great job with it.

  • Emily

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  • kate

    Dear someone,
    I’m sorry if I come across as harsh, but I think you’re wrong on your opinion of the KJV.
    Which was written first, the Hebrew Old Testament or the 1611 English version? The Greek New Testament, or the English? The Greek and Hebrew “translations” are not translations, but originals! The KJV is the actual translation into English! The Greek and Hebrew scriptures were written by sinful men, yes, but they are the inspired word of God! (2 Timothy 3:16, KJV just for you- All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness)
    The point here is that a translation cannot be more accurate than the original. (And unless time travel is possible, the KJV is the translation here.) Please think this one through…
    On a different topic, thanks for the post guys! Very cool, and I’m sorry for seeming so down about this… and being late on replying…

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