The Guardian’s John Crace does much better, with a version of his regular “digested read” feature, which provides a tongue-in-cheek digest of a recent book, followed by “the digested, digested” (a one sentence summary for the very busy reader).
Crace’s summary of the Bible’s message reads as follows:
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 God continued to have a lot of problems. Abraham was OK, but Jacob cheated on his brother and Joseph was such a prima donna that his brothers sold him into slavery. Moses tried to lay down the law but it took an almighty strop for anyone to notice. Joshua killed a lot of people; so did Gideon; in fact most of the judges and kings were lying psychopaths. Understandably the Jewish people needed to relax, so they sang psalms to the tune of Kumbaya.
Back in the action and it was still looking grim. A few grumpy prophets apart, it was bloodletting on a grand scale all the way. Things improved when an angel got Mary pregnant in 1BC. Joseph was very understanding about this and nine months later Jesus was born. Various shepherds and wise men paid their respects before Jesus was whisked out of town to escape Herod. He spent the next 30 years chilling out before beginning his ministry when John the Baptist was arrested. Jesus tried to avoid publicity but it was hard to keep a low profile when he was pulling off stunts like raising the dead. So it wasn’t long before he collected some disciples, and from these he chose his main crew, the apostles.
Much of Jesus’s teaching was captured when he spoke about the meaning of humility during the Sermon on the Mount. Apart from forgiving sins, he also said that anyone who divorces and remarries commits adultery. These views made him extremely unpopular, but calling himself the Messiah was the last straw. When he rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday he knew his days were numbered. On the Thursday night he was betrayed by Judas and taken before Pontius Pilate, who offered the Jews a chance to reprieve him. They refused and he was crucified and buried.
He rose from the dead on Easter Sunday. Jesus reassured his followers he was for real and over the next 40 days he made a number of other appearances before going up to heaven.
Digested, digested: Then I saw his face … Now I’m a Believer.