Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Street Bible and The Word on the Street: My First Reaction

While at my son’s Boy Scout Troop meeting, at a church I scanned their tables of used books for sale. I saw this, which I’d never heard of before, and bought it. It is “The Street Bible” by Rob Lacey, an actor from the United Kingdom. Published in 2003, the back cover explains “using MTV-style dialogue, Lacey lends fresh perspective” and uses “the language of the modern urban reader”. My interest was piqued to say the least.

After doing some online research today, I see that “The Street Bible” has been republished under the title “The Word on the Street”. As I assumed I confirmed after checking Amazon’s customer reviews, when I found that paraphrasing and retelling the Bible in more modern language has upset a number of Christians who think it is not pure enough. If you want to read some of the debate just scan through the customer reviews on Amazon for “The Word on the Street” (click the link below to take you to the page).

I also was surprised to find a Wikipedia entry on “The Word on the Street” which quotes author Lacey as stating this is performance art not a literal translation and that it not meant to replace The Bible.
Also a live performance with music was created and performed by Lacey and an audio recording was published under the title “The Essential Street Bible”.

Also Rob Lacey authored “The Liberator” which paraphrases the gospel of Matthew, Mark and Luke.

I am unclear if “The Word on the Street” is a full reprint of “The Street Bible” or why “The Liberator” is a separate book from “The Word on the Street”. I know that “The Street Bible” contains both the Old Testament and the New Testament.

If you are looking for non-Amazon sources of “The Word on the Street”, “The Essential Word on the Street” and “The Liberator” they are all published by Zondervan and are still in print and available from and they also have titles available for Internet download for a lower fee than the hard copies. It appears that “The Street Bible” is out of print, my copy was published by Zondervan also.

Anyhow, here is one example that I picked by flipping through the pages and picking a page and verse at random, and wow is it a good example:

Galatians 5: 19-21

“If your dark side’s in charge, this is you: you’re a twisted filthy old letch, with only sex on the brain. You waste hours on the latest craze to have seduced you, sometimes just worthless, sometimes full-on demonic. You’re hateful, argumentative, jealous, angry. You’re a drunk, a pervert, all ‘me, me, me’. You’re an ultracompetitive back-stabber, a stirrer, a divide-and-conquer control freak who dies inside every time someone else makes it. Enough? I told you before, people like this aren’t part of God’s set-up!”

Galatians 5: 22-26

“But if God’s spirit is in charge, then this is you: you’re loving, alive, vibrant, sparkling. You’re calm; you walk into a room and friction walks out. You can handle delays, you’re not pushy. You’re generous with money, with time, with people. You’re good and solid, always ready to help. You don’t double-cross people, you don’t use your fists in anger; you don’t lose your rag—you’re in control. You’re never in trouble with the police. That’s you! You’ve connected with the Liberator Jesus and you’ve murdered your dark side with its ‘must-have’ attitude. Now that we’re living with God’s spirit, let’s get our heartbeat in rhythm with his. Let’s not get cocky, competitive or jealous.”

Now this is an easy Bible to read!

Another Bible that has been translated into modern language but not street language is “The Message” by Eugene Paterson. You can read a bit about “The Message” at the Bible Gateway site, here. From that page, after scrolling down, you can read the entire text of the book online for free. Here is a link to the Galatians verses from “The Message” that I quoted above from “The Street Bible” for a bit of a look at how the two are different.

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Colisa said...

Hi, thanks for blogging about "The Word on the Streets".

I had the book and lent it to a young man over a year ago, needless to say I do not have it back yet.
I am in need of a passage from that book and I can't find it locally ... Ephesians 6:10-20
the Armor of God.
Could you help me with this, Please?

I don't think it is so bad if it's used as a way to catch a youngen's attention... My DD and I read passages aloud while on a Greyhound bus trip... :) We ended up leading several people to the Lord, and handing out some small new testaments with some coaching on how to read the KJV... :)
Had lots of fun.

Thank you for the blogging.


christinemm said...

Hi Colisa,
Here it is. Perhaps this will inspire someone else to read this book!

You asked for Ephesians 6:10-24

Before I sign off, your Boss is strong, so channel that strength. If you still want to be standing wehn teh Devil's emptied both barrels at you, then you get your battle kit on. Know your enemy. I'ts not people you're fighting; it's the dark spiritual forces that run the evil systems from their hellish HQ. So you'll need your battle kit to keep you on your feet. Face the onslaught with your Truth Belt fully stocked, with your Bullet-proof Vest of Right Lifestyle fixed on tight, with your Boots being ready to stomp on injustice and escort peace in. Activate your Personal Protective Force Feield, so youll stay totally convinced of what you're fighting for even when teh evil one's scudding you with missiles. And your headgear's essential, so get your Helmet on, with its breathing apparatus to protect ou from chemical warfare, and its radio contact with HQ -- absolutely crucial. But this isn't just about defense; it's about hitting the enemy whtere it hurts. What else but the very best weapon, as used by God's Spirit himself: Words. Not just any words; we're on Info Overload already. No, God's words, fromt eh Sacred Instruction Manual. And keep communication lines with God open 24/7; have his Spirit on the conference-call facility permanently. And keep sharp. No point in having all this equipment and being dopey or drugged up. Keep on at God for the rest of the crew's benefit.


I could also do with you sending some up for me. Ask God to trigger just the right words and, when I hear them coming out of my mouth, to help me not to bottle up and clam up. I may be locked up, but I'm still God's rep."
-The Street Bible by Rob Lacey

Colisa said...

God Bless, Thank you,

John said...

Hi if you get a chance could you give me John 3:27-30 from Word on the Street Bible. I plan on buying a copy over Christmas.
Some one in Bible Study had one and it got handed off and never made it back.

Thanks Rita