Viewers are praising a TikTok account that retells Bible stories using trendy Gen Z vernacular. Some claim that watching the videos has helped them better grasp the Bible, while others claim that they have helped them pick up some Gen Z terminology. However, a theological expert was more dubious about the relevance and durability of the translations.
Gen Z Bible Stories has amassed over 166,000 followers and 1 million likes over 13 postings since publishing its debut video on August 19.
The account’s most viral video, titled “Annunciation,” retells the story of the conception of Jesus Christ. It was posted on August 22 and has been viewed over 3.6 million times.
In the video, the TikToker referred to Mary as a “pick-me girl for God,” and said that she had “passed God’s vibe check,” and had been chosen to become “the mother of the main character.”
The creator went on to use other slang terms, such as “body count,” which refers to the number of sexual partners someone’s had, to continue to tell the story.
They also used the phrase “cuffing season,” a term popularized by SZA’s song “Big Boy” that refers to the time of year when single people are actively searching for short-term romantic partners to spend the colder months with.
In another video, titled “John’s Glow Up,” the TikToker tells the story of how John, one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus, “entered his prophet era” and told people how to “pass God’s vibe check.”
The videos have been broadly well received. Several viewers wrote that they thought they were hilarious, and one referred to the account as a “masterpiece.”
Many viewers also commented that they were not religious, but that they would read the Bible if the stories were told like this, or that these retellings had helped them to understand it better.
Several viewers also wrote that the videos are helping them to learn Gen Z slang, and one wrote that they felt like they were “learning a new language.”
But it’s not clear that the account will necessarily convert viewers to Christianity in the long term.
Dr. Brent Strawn, a professor of Old Testament at Duke University in North Carolina, told Insider that these videos are examples of the “ongoing work of Bible translation.”
He said that the Bible translations get revised frequently as language is updated and that in some ways, updating the Bible using Gen Z terms is an “extreme” reflection of that.
While Strawn said that these translations might make some of the material more accessible to people, he also questioned whether this account has gone “too far,” and suggested that the language risks “cheapening” it.
“Some of the slang terms might be things that you would use for dating situations,” he said. “Is that really the same thing as the notion of the annunciation of the virgin birth to Mary?”
He also questioned the longevity of the videos, given that slang can so quickly become outdated. “Even in a few months, or certainly a year from now, some of these slang terms will have been forgotten and new ones will replace them so that the translation is almost instantly out of date,” he said.
The rise of social media has meant that popular Gen Z slang terms are ever-changing and that they can become outdated as quickly as they were popularized. Terms that were popular less than a decade ago, such as “YOLO,” “canceled,” and “snowflake,” have already been labeled as embarrassing.
The creator of Gen Z Bible Stories did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.