“The Gist” – A brand new bible translation

Just read a guardian article http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/aug/22/bible-twitter-makeover that put on me on to some great bible twitterers. @biblesummary, @FakeBible and @janariess (Twible).

Biblesummary is summarising the bible one tweet per chapter per day. So far it has got to Gen 15 (a little ahead of where I am in my bible blog http://marcusbible.blogspot.com/).

Gen15: The Lord promised Abram an heir and many descendants. Abram believed. He was told that they would be enslaved but would then return.

Gen14: The kings went to war and took Lot captive. Abram rescued Lot. Melchizedek blessed Abram and Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

Gen13: Abram journeyed with his nephew Lot. Their servants argued, so Lot went to Sodom, Abram to Canaan. The LORD promised Abram the land.

Gen12: God told Abram, “Go. I will make you a great nation. You will be a blessing.” In Egypt Abram lied about Sarai and Pharaoh was cursed.

Gen11: They began building a great tower for themselves, but the Lord confused their language. Shem’s line included Abram who married Sarai.

Gen10: Japheth’s line lived in the coastlands; Ham’s included Nimrod and the Canaanites; Shem’s lived in the East. These formed the nations.

Gen9: God blessed Noah and set the rainbow as a sign that he would never flood the earth again. Noah got drunk and cursed Ham’s son Canaan.

Gen8: The flood abated. Noah sent out a raven and two doves. When the earth was dry God called them all out of the ark. Noah built an altar.

Gen7: Noah and his family went into the ark with two of each creature. It rained for forty days and forty nights and the earth was covered.

Gen6: Humankind corrupted the earth with evil. God decided to destroy them. He told Noah to build an ark to be saved from the flood.

Gen5: Adam’s line was: Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Mahalalel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech and Noah. Noah’s sons were Shem, Ham and Japheth.

Gen4: Eve’s sons made offerings to God. Only Abel’s was acceptable, so Cain killed him. Abel’s blood cried out and God sent Cain away.

Gen3: The serpent deceived the woman; she and Adam ate from the tree. The earth became cursed, and God sent Adam and Eve out of the garden.

Gen2: God formed a man and gave him the garden in Eden, except for the tree of knowledge. Adam was alone so God made a woman as his partner.

Gen1: God created the heavens, the earth and everything that lives. He made humankind in his image, and gave them charge over the earth.

FakeBible are doing each verse as a tweet in an informal twitter style:

Ex10:29 “Okay, you won’t ever s-see me again,” said Moses. And it was true, except for in a lifetime of Pharaoh’s nightmares.

Ex10:28 “GET OUT OF MY SIGHT! IF YOU SEE ME AGAIN I’LL FLIPPIN’ KILL YOU!” It was a strange threat to make after the plague of darkness.

Ex10:27 Pharaoh: “FFS! DO YOU THINK I’M AN IDIOT? YOU DON’T WANT THREE DAYS, YOU WANT TO GO AND NEVER COME BACK!” What a hard-hearted bigot.

Ex10:25-26 Moses: “We all have to make sac-sacrifices! I.e., sacrifice our cattle. To G-God. B-better take ALL the cattle, just in c-case.”

Ex10:24 Pharaoh summoned Moses. “Go. Take your women and children. But leave your cattle as collateral. Fair? Fair. Good talk.”

Twible paraphrased the whole of the Book of Leviticus in one tweet: “Don’t eat this. Don’t screw that. Don’t touch this. Don’t DO that. Thus saith the Lord.”. Actually it usually does a couple of tweets per chapter and a couple of tweets per day.

1 Kgs 22: Great Jehoshaphat! Kings of S & N join forces to fight Syrians. 1 Kgs ends on happy note of unity & peace. Won’t last.

1 Kgs 22: Great Jehoshaphat! Kings of S & N join forces to fight Syrians. 1 Kgs

1 Kgs 21: Queen Jezebel uses eminent domain to seize Naboth’s vineyard; has the guy stoned. (Don’t worry. She’ll soon be Pupperoni.)

1 Kgs 21: Queen Jezebel uses eminent domain to seize Naboth’s vineyard; has the guy stoned. (Don’t worry. She’ll soon be Pupperoni.)

1 Kgs 20: Gleeful Syrians threaten to take Israel’s gold, wives, & kids. Like a country music song! Isr trounces em . . . this time.

1 Kgs 19: Elij crashes from theo high; now in deep funk sans Celexa. Wants to die, but G won’t hear of it. Bakes him a cake instead.

1 Kgs 19: Elij crashes from theo high; now in deep funk sans Celexa. Wants to die, but G won’t hear of it. Bakes him a cake instead.

1 Kgs 18: Theology throwdown; Elij dares 850 pagan prophets to duel. Elij: “Ha! Is that all you’ve got? LMAO @ your girly-man gods.”

If you didn’t like “the message” then you’ll not get along with these “versions” but I think they are a great resource. I view the bible as inspired at all levels, from an individual word to “the gist”. If that wasn’t the case then at what point does a translation stop being a helpful bible? The English versions we have are already a long way from reading the original manuscripts in their original language. Missing the gist can be as bad as missing the detail. Those that emphasis the importance of each word would be quick no doubt to emphasis context and context is just another word for the gist. So we have had “the message”, now its time for a new groundbreaking  bible version called “The Gist”. I’m actually quite serious. The book would contain several versions of the bible at different levels of detail. In recognition that a summary necessarily needs to be done from a particular perspective with certain presuppositions and aims in mind (just like any bible translation) each level would be done in a number of “takes”. Anyone want to be the new Eugene Peterson?

Twittering on

Well, today I went to the doctors to see what’s wrong with my back. Something in my spine seems to have moved out of place. Then had a great chat with an Elder from Canterbury church about small groups. Went to a school governors meeting and tried to understand our budget. Did a lot of running around with one of our children who has just learnt to ride her bike but I’m not sure if she can stop ok yet. Felt like a presidential body guard running alongside the presidential car. Found a much better place to invest my savings than the bank – a local church! Took kids swimming. Watched the first part of the miracle maker with them (great film, felt quite emotional at times at how great Jesus is). Had a delicious tea cooked by my gorgeous wife. And now, have just revisited my twitter account and resolved to use it a bit more. I’ve tried to write the first part of this blog entry in a twitter style (short ‘tweets’) to get the hang of it. I feel under pressure to twitter a book recommendation or pass on some great quote so I’ve not said much on twitter yet. My mind is blank at the moment though. Think I will just have to say what I’m up to. I think that’s supposed to be part of the charm of twitter. You get to hear about the little unimportant details of someone’s life.

I joined about nine months ago but never twittered anything. A few people tried to follow me but I was embarrassed at how I had not twittered anything so have not accepted anyone yet. Oh, except the person who encouraged me to try it out (thanks Ed). The thing that prompted me to give it another go was hearing about the massive effect social networking sites are having on the election campaign. I suddenly realised that things like twitter were not “time wasters” but increasingly important and powerful means of communication. A lot of New Frontiers churches even twitter to let people know what’s going on. Does King’s in Norwich? I don’t even know. Anyway my twitter name is @dmarcust. See you in cyberspace.