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 Zondervan.com 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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