Maybe you’ve heard of “The Aussie Bible (well, bits of it anyway!)” by Kel Richards (journalist and author). It’s an Uber-slang retelling of parts of the Gospels. Here’s an excerpt called ‘Escape’, retelling Matthew 2:13-15 —

“Then Joe had a dream, in which he saw God’s angel saying:

‘Hop up! Take the baby and his Mum and make tracks for Egypt quick smart! Stay there until I give you the nod, because Herod is going bananas over this.’

Even though it was the middle of the night, Joe bundled them up and set off for Egypt in two ticks. They stayed there until Herod was safely dead, fulfilling the old prediction: ‘I called my Son out of Egypt.’”

You might think that’s pretty ‘tame’, and it is compared to some of the parts of ‘The Aussie Bible’! Some of it, I think, is very ‘over-the-top’: that virtually no one actually talks like that any more, and you might say that some of the wording is unhelpful or even irreverent.

BUT! It is certainly not dull or uninteresting to read; it makes an impact, you remember parts of it. And I suspect that’s one reason why Kel Richards wrote it: to make God’s word ’fresh again’. And if you know any very ’ocker’ Aussies who speak using lots of old Aussie slang, they might love it! And, more importantly, they would come to know much more of the Gospels (Matthew-John) and the gospel (the message). I read out successive parts of it at the beginning of my weekly Bible study and even we benefit from it.

Bible translation is a difficult job, but we have numerous excellent translations. Personally, I prefer the most literal, word-for-word translation (such as the New American Standard) but it’s very wooden English at times. The ultimate aim of a translation is for us to ‘get the message’: i.e. know what God’s word is saying (what the words are), then what those words mean (translate it), and finally and most importantly, what those words means for you and me (apply it).

At times, a variety of Bible translations help us to get that, even the least ‘literal’ ones, such as ‘The Aussie Bible’!

Cameron