In an effort to bring the gospel to a younger audience, a TikTok star boasting over 1 million followers has taken to translating scripture into the parlance of Generation Z.
The influencer’s short videos ingeniously narrate stories from the gospels while adopting the trendy language often utilized by teenagers online.
One notable translation includes Matthew 5:9-12, traditionally rendered as, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”
“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.”
“Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”
In the TikTok rendition, it reads: “W to those who turn opps into bros, for they will be called CEOs of peace.”
“W to those who catch hands for being valid, for they will not be left on read by God.”
“W to you when the opps be cappin’ hard and do you so dirty bc you’re my fam. Trust you have crushed it and have the eternal W, for so they did the true bros before you.”
The response has been a blend of applause and criticism. Viewers’ comments on the videos echo overwhelming praise, with numerous individuals expressing their newfound interest in reading the Bible. However, detractors have accused the creator of blasphemy, asserting that the translations deviate from the sanctity of the scripture.
In an interview with the New York Post, the anonymous TikToker addressed these concerns, revealing, “The main question I get asked is from Christians, who wonder if it’s blasphemous. I wondered that too before I made the second video. I always try not to be disrespectful to the text or to stray from any accuracy.”
Robin Peake, a representative from Wycliffe, a prominent Bible translating organization responsible for over 75% of current Biblical translations, welcomed the fresh approach to spreading the gospel. Peake noted, “It’s great to see people engaging with God’s word. Any new translation that can reach a new audience has to be applauded and has to be a good thing. The number of people engaging with these videos is very exciting to see; we really want young people to be engaged with God’s word.”
Despite the innovative language used, Peake emphasized that accuracy must not be compromised. “A Bible translation needs to be something that is accurate. It needs to be clear, it needs to be natural. If we’re not being faithful to the original languages, to what God has said and written down, then it’s very easy for us to misunderstand what God is saying to us. So accuracy becomes really important.”
Peake also pointed out that while the TikTok translations incorporate contemporary language, they are in line with a tradition of adapting scripture to suit different audiences. “For as long as I can remember, we’ve been trying to communicate God’s word in relevant ways. We have children’s Bibles that are communicating in the language of four year olds and five year olds. We have dramatizations in church that are telling familiar stories in new ways. So I think we want to differentiate between [what is] a faithful and accurate translation of the Bible and [what is] communicating God’s Word in relevant ways.”