* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we prefer to celebrate the birth of Jesus by looking at unfamiliar versions of the world's most familiar Bible verse. Note: The Big Jewel is taking New Year's Week off. See you in 2016!

Lesser-Known Translations Of John 3:16

By: Taylor Lee

The Bible is easily the most translated work in the history of mankind. Versions of the Holy Book are available in 531 languages and, according to historian William J. Chamberlain, the estimated number of variants in the English language alone is nearly 900. However, despite this breadth of English translations, only a handful enjoy enduring popularity. Most are completely unknown to the general public, an unfortunate reality given their unique and often surprising takes on the Word of God. The list below serves to highlight just a few of them. Please note that in each excerpt the same verse has been used (John 3:16) to allow for comparison.

For a supposed deity may have given his only begotten son, who may or may not have been a man named Jesus, who could have possibly been divine, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. Or they might just perish and then nothing happens. It’s really anybody’s guess. — United Agnostic Version (UAV)

For God so “loved” the world, or whatever, that he gave his only begotten “Son,” that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have, like, “eternal life.” — The Sarcastic Air Quotes Bible (SAQB)

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall change color depending on the sleep stage of the kayak factory. — International Avant-Garde Translation (IAGT)

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, who descended from Heaven and proceeded to completely dominate the game of basketball. — The King James Bible (KJB)

For God so loved the world that he gave all these ungrateful morons you: an infallible, endlessly gifted, unfailingly perfect miracle of a human being. Feel the power course through your veins. — The Standard Megalomaniac Version (SMV)

For God gave his only Son, a.k.a. the Divine Guy, the greatest of them all, the Boy Who Made Everyone the Great Fish Dinner. — The Weird Twitter Bible (WTB)

For God so loved the world that he gave us the Supreme Leader, whose birth was foretold by a beautiful double rainbow! Who lifts tanks over his head and throws them across the world at the American Dogs! Who dunks on Comrade Dennis Rodman but still lets him win because he is a kind man! All hail the Great Sun of the Nation! All hail the Peerless Ruler! — Gugga Gong-In Seong-Gyeong (“The State-Sanctioned Bible”)

For God gave

His only begotten, never downtrodden, forgiving-often Son!


Jehovah, he’s the one!

Whoever believes in him will die

But then they’ll find that life’s not done! Yee-haw! — The Rodgers and Hammerstein Translation (RHT)

God was like, “Hey, world. I love you guys. Can I interest you in my Son? He’s, like, my only begotten.” And everybody was like, “Dude, yes!” And so Big J cruised on down here, probably jamming some cool rock songs along the way, right? He’s so chill! So he did his thing, and now, if you follow what he said and stuff, you get to go to Heaven, which sounds dope as heck to me, you guys. — The Youth Pastor Translation (YPT)

Hodor. — The George R.R. Martin Edition (GRRME)

God’s in the basement, wonderin’ where the rake went.

I’m on the pavement, thinkin’ bout the son he sent. — The Bob Dylan Translation (BDT)

Do you really think a man came down from heaven and performed miracles? I mean actual, laws-of-physics-defying miracles? Come on, Candice, you’re smarter than that. — The Condescending Atheist Version (CAV)

For God so loved the world that he gave his onlrrrgghh–

Oh, no.

For God so loved the world that he gaarrgghh–

Please, no! Not now!

For God so loved the WORRAAHHRRGH! Everyone g-get out fast! RAAAHHHGH! This place is n-no longer safe! GRAAARRHH! For the love of God, run to your h-homes and lock your ROOOAAAAHHH! ARRRGGGHHHH! GRROOAARRGGHH! — The Revised Werewolf Translation (RWT)




* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we support the efforts of all good people everywhere to communicate compassionately with their fellow citizens in the hope of avoiding a bloodbath. Yes, this even includes the owner of the barbershop upstairs.

Emails To The Owner Of The Barbershop Upstairs

By: Jimmy Chang

To: aCutAbove@yahoo.com

Dear Upstairs Neighbor,

Welcome to the Orange Grove shopping plaza! The businesses here have a long and storied history that stretches back to the 50s when my father, Frank Gabler, Sr., first opened Gabler’s Sweets and Treats for business. And though we’ve been through a lot since that time, I’m proud to say that “S ‘n’ T” has very much become a local institution, and the first stop for anyone with a sweet tooth in the tri-county area.

We’re definitely glad to have you join the Orange Grove community. I know I don’t have a lot of hair these days, but I could definitely use a trim!


— Frank Gabler, Jr.

* * * * * * *

To: aCutAbove@yahoo.com

Dear Upstairs Neighbor,

Hello again! This is Frank Gabler, Jr., owner of Gabler’s Sweets and Treats downstairs. I hate to be a bother right when you’ve just settled in, but as I was opening the store this morning, I found a pound of hair on my countertop. I know it was a pound of hair because it landed on one of the scales. It appears to have come through a trapdoor in the ceiling, the existence of which I have only just now noticed. (Silly, right? I’ve worked here for over forty years, and when was the last time I really looked at the ceiling?)

I am a candy man born and raised, and admittedly know very little about the barbershop business, but I suspect that disposing of hair in this manner violates some health code (I am very stringent when it comes to following health codes and consider myself an expert on them).

Would it be possible for you to sweep your hair into a bag or a bin, instead of through a hole in your floor?

Thanks again,

— Frank Gabler, Jr.

* * * * * * *

To: aCutAbove@yahoo.com

To the owner of A Cut Above,

Last evening, while I was selling a bag of assorted jelly beans, a blanket of hair covered both myself and my customer, Timmy Dunn, a straight-A student in sixth grade whom I have come to know very well. My ceiling fan was running at the time, which evenly distributed the hair throughout the store. Where the hair didn’t touch exposed candy, it found its way into the drawers and scoops. My taffy is beyond saving.

Please do not sweep hair into the floor again.

— Frank Gabler, Jr.

* * * * * * *

To: aCutAbove@yahoo.com

I ran upstairs to your shop today. The lights were on, and I knocked on the door for a minute before I discovered it was open. However, there was no one at the counter or in the chairs.

I looked around for the trapdoor, but I couldn’t find anything resembling a hatch in the floor. I was in your barbershop for 20 minutes before I went downstairs again.

I’m calling the management.

* * * * * * *

To: aCutAbove@yahoo.com

Arthur, the plaza manager, says he’s never seen anyone go upstairs for a haircut. Come to think of it, I’ve never seen anyone come downstairs either. Where is all this hair coming from? And these short, orange hairs — they don’t look human. What are you doing up there?

I can’t tell if my fudge is compromised, but I can’t afford to throw it away.

* * * * * * *

To: aCutAbove@yahoo.com

Some of this hair is very wet. WHY IS IT SO WET???

* * * * * * *

To: aCutAbove@yahoo.com

Have I done something to deserve this? Have I done something to upset you? I called Arthur again, but he sounded strained. Irritated even, like he didn’t believe me. But I see the hair wafting down, thick as locusts. I hear its soft patter as it settles on every inch of my store. God, how old have I become?

The hair’s piling up too fast for me to clean up. Customers can see it before they walk in; all the lollipops in the display window have a five o’clock shadow. It looks like I’m selling assorted rodents. I saw Timmy outside a few days ago, for the last time I’m sure. I could see the disgust in his eyes before he turned away.

* * * * * * *

To: aCutAbove@yahoo.com

When I go home, there’s hair in my pockets. There’s hair in my shoes. My wife doesn’t care about any of that hair, though. All she notices is the one long, red hair stuck to my collar.

* * * * * * *

To: aCutAbove@yahoo.com

The hair’s just a slow, steady waterfall oozing out of the ceiling now. I ran upstairs and pounded on your door until my fist was raw, but no one answered, of course. So now I’ve closed early, pulled down the blinds. Now I’m just watching the hair pool into a barrel I’ve put underneath. These strands must be hundreds of feet long. They remind me of licorice. Of caramel.

It’s so silky.

* * * * * * *

To: aCutAbove@yahoo.com

the hair is waist-deep and i’ve had time to reflect on my life

* * * * * * *

To: aCutAbove@yahoo.com

I understand now. My father opened this store years ago, but he was a conservative man, never straying far from the conventions of the day. But this hair — it’s a call to action, to change the world of confections. A gift, to incorporate into my sweets. I’ll weave it into taffy, spin it with cotton candy. I’ll bind it with chocolate, streaked with blonde and brunette. Thank you. Thank you.

This hair was meant for the world to enjoy.

* * * * * * *

To: all@orangegrove.net

Dear Orange Grove tenants,

Unfortunately, we’ve made the decision to evict Gabler’s Sweets and Treats from the plaza, effective immediately. Sweets and Treats has been an important part of our community for nearly 60 years, but the store’s recent — and flagrant — health code violations have forced us to take this course of action. Furthermore, Mr. Gabler has been instructed not to return to the plaza, so please call the police if you see him on the premises, whether he is covered in hair or not.

Please welcome Donna Witzak, whose daycare center will be moving into the space at the end of the month.

— Orange Grove Management


* Welcome to The Big Jewel, a highbrow outlet if ever there was one, and there was. How the hell did Kathryn Higgins get in here?


By: Kathryn Higgins

I think I’ll go to Starbucks and read Dante’s Inferno again (I did read it before…didn’t I?). Wait, it can’t be Starbucks, because I can’t tolerate a paper coffee cup. I’ll head to Cognoscenti Coffee, even though it’s really far away, because the name sounds smart. I’ll insist on Esmeralda coffee from Panama, made hot, but not boiled, and poured into the perfect coffee glass. And the Inferno — I can’t read it on my Kindle, because for all anyone knows, I’ll be reading Fifty Shades of Grey. I’ll have to find a hard copy somewhere. Maybe the library. I’ll hold the book aloft, occasionally looking over the top to examine the other coffee connoisseurs. And I’ll assign each one of them to a circle of hell. That woman over there reading Fifty Shades of Grey, for example…probably a pervert. She belongs in the second circle, buffeted about by her lust. And that fat fuck over there — he’ll go in the gluttony circle. And the guy with the BMW key ring? Down there in the greed circle, lugging his moneybags around.

I’ll have some people over to talk about my accomplishments, and of course I’ll have to mention my latest foray into literature, and explain how the Inferno is an epic poem, not a novel. (I’ve actually encountered people who think Dante is a biblical writer, like Matthew or Mark, and who think the Inferno is nonfiction — and that’s pretty funny because they think both the Bible and the Inferno are real — so I’ll be sure to correct them on that.) And then I’ll throw in some real history: Herodotus and Thucydides — The History of the Peloponnesian War. I’ll relate that to the film (not movie) 300, since that story comes from Herodotus. “The Battle of Thermopylae” — love to say that over and over (I’ll have to explain that it’s iambic tetrameter). And then I’ll segue to Barbara Tuchman, perhaps Stillwell and the American Experience in China, and maybe throw in some David McCullough, since he’s won some Pulitzers I think.

When people seem tired of hearing how much I know about historical stuff, I’ll be a sport and turn on South Park. But I’ll make sure it’s episode 156 — in which a beleaguered louse finds a new homeland. I’ll point out, over and over, that just as the louse is rescued, by a fly, the nineteenth century choral masterpiece “Pie Jesu” from Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem in D minor, Op. 48 plays dramatically. Perhaps the South Park people meant that to be funny, or ironic, but regardless it gives me the opportunity to talk about 19th-century choral music and how they used choirboys (rather than women) to get that high piping tone. I’ll explain, to anyone who will listen, that they no longer neuter boys so they can keep singing that way as adults. I’ll then gratuitously bring up the 17th-century choral masterpiece Miserere mei, Deus by Gregorio Allegri, and I’ll insist that the South Park people should have used that, because it has even higher notes than the Fauré. And all that’ll give me a chance to drop the fact that the teenaged Mozart was the first one to write down the Miserere (from memory) because the Vatican forbade copies, being the stingy bastards they are.

Next I’ll have to go to the Opera, because that’s very highbrow, I’m told. I’ll buy a swank dress and make sure I get a good seat, which I deserve, being the sort of discriminating and voluble person I am. I’ll bring my headphones in case the opera becomes insufferable. I’m not really into that vibrato stuff. And all the heavy makeup and the tedious length of some of those things. But I’ll make it fun by having a burrito and some beer beforehand. When I’m not stumbling over other operagoers to get to the bathroom (in my gown?), I’ll be ripping a fart in my seat (no need to be sneaky — opera’s loud, I hear) and observing those around me for reactions. That’s empirical research, by the way.

Being an art aficionado, I’ll have to attend the Whitney Biennial. The art there is so experimental! So freeing! But wait, what’s that over there? It’s a pile of yarn — reaching to the ceiling. And, in that little room in the corner, there are some abortions on sticks. A soundtrack of lamenting women. Such a provocative statement! And I’ll be sure to check out the Cindy Sherman works, because she’s so super-famous — yep, that’s a big old vagina over there.

For my next diversion, I’ll expose my friends to experimental theatre. I’ll throw in some references to Tadeusz Cantor, the Polish dramatist, and prove my knowledge of his work by mentioning The Dead Class, performed in 1975, in which his obsession with circles is overshadowed by the shocking image of a childbirth machine, and dead characters walking around. Plus some mannequins. Cool! People will think I’m really artsy. Then perhaps I will organize an impromptu improv theatre event in my apartment. Each participant will be permitted five gestures. Examples: writhing, keening, crawling, barking, and hailing a cab. When I call “Action,” the actors will engage in their five gestures, while riffing on other actors’ gestures. It will represent a primitive sort of communication. I’m hoping that the initially meaningless gestures will ultimately illuminate something deeply human about us — more human than, say, brushing your teeth or commuting to work. As the finale, I’m hoping we will all end up lumped together, moaning and writhing on the floor. Then, later, when they write about my brilliant experimental theatre piece in The New York Times, I’ll make sure that they don’t spell it “theater.” Because that’s so déclassé, and I’m a very classé sort of person.



* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where we enjoy nothing more than a doomed 12th-century romance updated for modern times. Say hello to the strange, twisted mind of Mark K. Metzger.

Another Tuesday Night With Abélard & Héloïse

By: Mark K. Metzger

“Dearest Héloïse, cherished glory of my life, I have returned to this blessed domicile where God has anointed us to dwell!”

“Dearest Abélard, most precious jewel of my diadem, alas that the gloam long since has begun to cast its spectering shadow upon this earth. Mayhap it was in error that you vowed you would return ere this dark hour.”

“Dearest Héloïse, sweet nightingale of my spirit, there dare be naught that keeps this piteous soul from the side of his beloved in timely fashion, save the toil that daily cleaves me from your sublime presence.”

“Dearest Abélard, lofty parapet of my castle keep, would it not that he who governs your labor required such protracted exertions from my beloved each day that you travail!”

“Dearest Héloïse, noblest flower of all Christendom, that selfsame governor of whom you speak has verily opined that the accounts payable will not tender themselves.”

“Dearest Abélard, glowing sun of my firmament, might it not be that you have tarried to share of ardent spirits? Again.”

“Dearest Héloïse, cooing pigeon of my dovecote, pray vanquish such conceits as you may harbor in so distasteful a regard! Prithee let not such sordid utterances befoul your lips! Dearest Héloïse, treasure beyond counting, what repast have you readied in fond anticipation of my return?”

“Dearest Abélard, rapture of my bliss, it was my delight lately to secure a quantity of bâtonnets de poisson from Madame Paul.”

“Dearest Héloïse, archangel of my mortal heaven, my heart would leap like a hart at the very whisper of such a banquet had not we partaken of such fare lo these last several eventides. Would that the blessed Lord had bestowed upon us viands of such variety as would bring glory to His name.”

“Dearest Abélard, pincushion of my seamstery, had I but time enough to fashion such a panoply of earthly sustenance as would suit your pleasure! The privation you evince wounds me to the quick of my being.  Let us even so commence forthwith the evening’s refreshment.”

“Dearest Héloïse, nonpareil in female form, vouchsafe unto me yon ketchup. I am passing vexed that the hours of this day did not admit of your transit to the market square, where such an abundance of God’s plenty presents itself.”

“Dearest Abélard, baronet of my fief, I was engaged in absolving this hallowed abode of the sins of its squalor as I tenderly contemplated the arrival of my dear mater this Sabbath’s eve.”

“Dearest Héloïse, winsomest of God’s creations, it falls yet freshly upon these unready ears that such a tarriance would betide us.”

“Dearest Abélard, sounding brass to my tinkling cymbal, the sainted matriarch did convey such intention by her epistle this fortnight past. Perchance you failed to hearken to my communication of this advice, as the archery tourney was in that instant at play.”

“Dearest Héloïse, comeliest doe in the forest of my heart, my soul leaps like a frog in the slough that the materfamilias will bless us with her presence. Albeit she blessed us with such a sojourn this Whitsuntide last and, ere that, Maundy Thursday. Dearest Héloïse, most luscious grape of the vintner’s harvest, does it not befit us that we make merry forthwith, in prescience of her advent? Mayhap such gaiety might countenance our corporeal beings conjoined in the ultimate embrace?”

“Dearest Abélard, ferret of my bosom, would it not that my brow were yet again afflicted with noisome pain! I lament I must repair to the bedchamber for solace.”

“Dearest Héloïse, thistle of my heath, I shall repair thither anon. I yet seek news of this day’s jousts. Good night, Weezie.”

“Good night, Lardo. And prithee fail not to remove the detritus of our quotidian existence!  Recycling is on the morrow ”