The Spoken Word Bible is a poeticized interpretation of scripture. Each chapter here intends to restate the words and sense of the bible in a rhymed format. To do this, I first read in parallel the following translations: New American Bible, Revised Edition (NABRE), English Standard Version (ESV), and the New International Version (NIV). Next, I arrive at as close a wording to the originals I can while rearranging and rhyming the phrases given. Finally, at times, for clarity and style, I will add words and phrases I find fitting for the sense of the passage. This is why I refer to this project as a poetic interpretation and not a poetic translation. I am not a biblical scholar. The Spoken Word Bible is not the Word of God. And while I encourage you to read and enjoy my work here, I will always suggest that you go to your bible first for accurate teaching and theological questions.
What then, is the purpose of the Spoken Word Bible? Why write it? Why read it? For me, the motivation for writing these poems comes from a desire to engage with the Word of God in a new and aesthetic way. Writing these chapters provides me an opportunity to meditate on scripture in a creative manner. I am able to read and embody the text with my own voice, and thereby, hopefully, more fully understand the voice and spirit of the original authors. The project has also been a fun and easy way for me to memorize and recall phrases inspired by scripture. It’s my hope that the readers of this project will find a similar motivation to engage with the bible, and fall more deeply in love with the Word of God.
The Spoken Word Bible began as a one time project. For a best man speech at my brother’s wedding, I repurposed 1 Corinthians 13 into a rhymed rap-poem. From there, I realized that poeticizing parts of scripture became a way for me to personally experience parts of the bible in a unique form. I could meditate on the scriptures by reading and rewording the sense of the text. With the encouragement of family and friends, I felt a call to undertake a much larger project. With your support I intend to continue to produce biblical poetry for as much of the bible as possible.
About the Author
Liam Cruz Kelly was born and raised Catholic in Santa Clarita, California. He received a BA in English and Classical Civilization at UCLA. He is currently pursuing a PhD in English Literature at Boston University, with a concentration in Medieval and Renaissance studies.