The 30-Minute Bible: God's Story for Everyone, By Craig G. Bartholomew and Paige P. Vanosky alt

The 30-Minute Bible

God's Story for Everyone

by Craig G. Bartholomew and Paige P. Vanosky
Illustrated by Martin Erspamer

The 30-Minute Bible
  • Length: 192 pages
  • Dimensions: 0 × 0 in
  • Number of Studies: 30
  • Published: June 22, 2021
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 4785
  • ISBN: 9780830847853

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We know about the Bible. We may know some Bible stories, or maybe we've even read large portions for ourselves. But what it's really all about? How do all the different pieces fit together?

Without a sense of the big story the Bible is telling, we'll miss out on the good news God has for us. In The 30-Minute Bible, experienced Bible teachers Craig Bartholomew and Paige Vanosky present the story of Scripture in thirty short readings, each designed to take about half an hour. Each includes a passage from the Bible and a short chapter explaining how the passage fits into the Bible's wider narrative. Written in straightforward and clear language, the readings are accompanied by Brother Martin Erspamer's lovely illustrations.

Discover the timeless story of the Bible—in thirty minutes a day for thirty days.

"If you want to better understand the Bible—a library of sixty-six books written by dozens of authors over hundreds and hundreds of years—then The 30-Minute Bible by Craig G. Bartholomew and Paige P. Vanosky is the book you need. They clearly and succinctly present the overarching theme contained within the Bible's pages by helping you understand the ebb and flow of the story it tells. You will come away from reading with a greater understanding of and appreciation for this all-time classic."

Michael Buckner Fanning, pastor at The Fellowship of San Antonio, president of MBF Enterprises

"The Bible can be a daunting tome. Its length, complexity, and journey through thousands of years make comprehending it seem like a daunting task for even the most dedicated of readers. The 30-Minute Bible takes the fear out of even opening to the first page. One of the gifts of reading Scripture is discovering how relational God is. The approachable nature of this book reflects God's desire to relate to us through God's Word even today. To be able to spend thirty minutes a day to hear God's eternal voice in our world is nothing short of a gift."

Margaret Grun Kibben, chaplain, US House of Representatives

"It is impossible to live well, to be a self, without knowing the story we inhabit. For followers of Jesus, that story comes from the Bible. Whether you are new to the Bible or looking for a fresh engagement with it, The 30-Minute Bible is a version I highly recommend. Use it and you move from simply knowing verses to seeing the Bible bursting with a story—and an invitation for you to make meaning of your life via that story."

Todd Hunter, Anglican bishop and author of Christianity Beyond Belief

"Bible teacher Paige Vanosky and noted Bible scholar Craig Bartholomew have given us a labor of love born out of their lives committed to teaching, sharing, living out, and wrestling with the Bible. The 30-Minute Bible helpfully takes one of many thematic threads from Genesis to Revelation, from creation to final consummation, and shows how the theme of God as King is woven through the rich tapestry of the holy Scriptures. Their gift to any first-time or veteran student of the Bible is extending God's own invitation to every person of any age, background, and context to walk into the world of the Scriptures, encounter the living God, and engage in a lifelong apprenticeship that begins with a thirty-minute introduction but which lasts into eternal life."

Neal D. Presa, Village Community Presbyterian Church, Rancho Santa Fe, California

"With an engaging style that is still scholarly enough to serve up something worth learning, The 30-Minute Bible presents an overview that does justice to the grand story told by the Bible without getting bogged down in the issues forever debated in academic circles. There is a place for such things, but God's Word is meant for God's people—all of them—and this book aims at the needs of the vast majority of Christ's followers who will never have the time to decipher the nuances in the theological viewpoints of the four Gospel writers. The authors have given us solid biblical knowledge from a broadly ecumenical point of view that teachers from any Christian tradition can use with confidence. This book is for people who very much want to take God seriously and find a pathway to greater understanding of God's Word so that they can better follow Jesus. This book is for those who are convinced that God actually does communicate to real people in the context of their real lives. It will be a worthy resource for teachers and for groups wanting to get a sense of the big picture."

Jack W. Baca, senior pastor of the Village Community Presbyterian Church, Rancho Santa Fe, California

"The 30-Minute Bible has amazingly condensed the long and complex story that is the Bible into this small inviting book, suitable for Christians and non-Christians alike. It provides a clear, cohesive narrative of the journey of God and his people. If you are curious about the Bible, or if you seek answers about life that you have not yet found, then I highly recommend this book."

Josh McDowell, author of Evidence that Demands a Verdict

"Bartholomew's scholarly expertise and Vanosky's expertise teaching the Bible to everyday people from diverse backgrounds pair nicely in this helpful resource that captures the story line of the Bible in six acts (and thirty short chapters), emphasizing God's kingship. Readers who are new to the Bible or are unsure of how it fits together will enjoy this book."

Kevin S. Chen, associate professor of Old Testament, Christian Witness Theological Seminary

"This is an important and meaningful book at this moment in our history. It can be helpful in understanding the big story of Scripture, and I pray it would be useful to many. I would encourage the greater public, particularly those who love the Bible, to read The 30-Minute Bible."

John Perkins, president emeritus of the John and Vera Mae Perkins Foundation and author of One Blood, He Calls Me Friend, and Count It All Joy

"The Bible is an extremely complex book, made up of many books written in a variety of literary genres over a long period of time. It is easy to get lost amid this complexity. And so it is part of our missional and theological task today to provide clear maps that tell the story as lucidly as possible to enable God's people to place different parts of the Bible within its overarching narrative structure. In The 30-Minute Bible Bartholomew and Vanosky provide just such a map. It can help even beginners to not just understand the Bible's story but be shaped by it instead of the false, idolatrous stories of our culture."

Michael W. Goheen, professor of missional theology at Covenant Seminary, St. Louis, and director of theological education at the Missional Training Center, Phoenix

"There can be no more urgent task for the church today than to recover the biblical story. Here in thirty accessible, informative, and satisfying bites, Bartholomew and Vanosky clearly set out the key developments in the biblical story from creation to new creation. This book will enable the reader to see how the Bible fits together, to identify the big themes, and to recognize how Jesus fulfils God's purposes for humankind and for the world. And, crucially, it will also enable readers to find their own place in the unfolding drama of God's great story. As a pastor, this is the book I have been waiting for! I want to put a copy into the hands of every family under my care."

William Olhausen, rector of St. Matthias Church, Dublin, Ireland

"Paige and Craig have written the book that we always knew we needed but could never find. This is an essential tool for discipling God's people to take up our role in God's story!"

Chris Gonzalez, pastor, Missio Dei Tempe, and cofounder of the Surge Network

Read an Excerpt


1. Introduction: How You Can Read and Understand the Bible

Act One: God Establishes His Kingdom: Creation
2. Creation
3. Adam and Eve: Why Are We Here?

Act Two: Rebellion in the Kingdom: The Fall
4. Rebellion in Eden

Act Three: The King Chooses Israel: Salvation Initiated
5. Out of Eden: Rebellion, Judgment, and Mercy
6. God's Solution: Abraham and His Descendants
7. Jacob, Joseph, and His Brothers
8. Out of Egypt
9. Meeting with God
10. God Moves in Next Door
11. The Land
12. No King in Israel
13. A King Like the Other Nations?
14. A King After God's Own Heart?
15. A Wise King?
16. The Northern Kingdom: Israel
17. The Southern Kingdom: Judah
18. Exile and Return
19. An In-Between Time

Act Four: The Coming of the King: Salvation Accomplished
20. A Voice Crying in the Wilderness
21. The One
22. Jesus Begins His Public Life
23. What Jesus Taught
24. What Jesus Did
25. Fatal Confrontation
26. On the Third Day

Act Five: Spreading the News of the King: The Mission of the Church
27. The Church Is Born
28. Jerusalem to Judea to the Ends of the Earth
29. Paul, the Sent One

Act Six: The Return of the King: Redemption Completed
30. The End That Is No End

Further Reading and Resources


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Craig G. Bartholomew

Craig G. Bartholomew is director of the Kirby Laing Centre for Public Theology in Cambridge, UK. He has written and edited numerous books, including Contours of the Kuyperian Tradition, Introducing Biblical Hermeneutics, Beyond the Modern Age (with Bob Goudzwaard), The Drama of Scripture (with Michael Goheen), The Doctrine of Creation (with Bruce Ashford), and a commentary on Ecclesiastes.

Author photo of Paige Vanosky

Paige P. Vanosky is a small group leader and community volunteer. The 30-Minute Bible grew out of her own teaching ministry. She lives in Rancho Santa Fe, California.