For nearly four years, religion scholar Jana Riess tweeted the entire Bible: a chapter a day, 1,189 chapters, from Genesis to Revelation. Her interpretive question in approaching the text was “What would The Onion say about this passage?” The irreverent distillation of Scripture gained thousands of followers and retweets, and was featured in USA Today and The Guardian, among other media. It’s now available in book form: The Twible: All the Chapters of the Bible in 140 Characters or Less . . . Now with 68% More Humor!
Riess understands that busy people with stuff to do want the Bible, only funnier and shorter. With tongue firmly in cheek, she delivers:
- Leviticus 20: More people and animals you can’t have sex with. Death penalty for you and the cow. Though why it’s the cow’s fault we really can’t say.
- Corinthians 13: Love is patient and kind. It does not get annoyed or impatient that this chapter is read at Every. Single. Wedding. Love bears all.
- Revelation 12: A sparkly woman gives birth to baby Jesus with a killer dragon as midwife. This could really spice up the nativity crèche at Christmas.
In addition to the tweets for each of chapter and more than 50 original cartoons, The Twible print edition includes informative sidebars that answer pressing questions such as “WTF is Revelation?” and handy lists such as:
- Top Five Incestuous Relationships in Genesis;
- Ten Biblical Names that Shouldn’t Be Used Again Anytime Soon;
- Five Deuteronomic Laws We Really Hope You’re Not Observing.
Riess also summarizes every book of the Bible in seven words or less and provides a glossary to help readers keep track of who’s who.
Reading the entire Bible as a unit—the mix of stories, letters, histories, and poetry, spanning several millennia—is mind-blowing, Riess says, and the experience deepened her appreciation of scripture. “What struck me most is how human and flawed the biblical characters are. In church we tend to quote Paul’s gentle odes to love (1 Corinthians 13), but we ignore the rougher edges, like when he wishes aloud that his opponents would be castrated (Gal. 5:12). Knowing that those rough edges are there increases my admiration and sense of connection with Paul and other biblical figures. They were ordinary people, more like us than not, who did extraordinary things for God.”
The Twible is available in paperback and Kindle from Amazon.com.
Jana Riess blogs for Religion News Service and is the author of many books, including Flunking Sainthood: A Year of Breaking the Sabbath, Forgetting to Pray, and Still Loving My Neighbor, named by Publishers Weekly as one of the top ten religion books of 2011. She has a Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. from Columbia University. She wonders if maybe The Twible is the book that will guarantee her room reservation in hell. Just in case, she is donating 25% of the proceeds after expenses to five charities that provide humanitarian aid and disaster relief around the world.