In less than a month, That Singlish Bible has racked up close to 16,000 followers on Instagram and upwards of a thousand likes on most of its posts, which expresses Bible verses in Singlish and with Singaporean references.

In less than a month, That Singlish Bible has racked up close to 16,000 followers on Instagram and upwards of a thousand likes on most of its posts, which expresses Bible verses in Singlish and with Singaporean references.

“You see the downstairs the uWWUUU bird, everyday bo zo kang also God give them eat so full. You not bird you even more no need scared.”

If you are on Instagram, you probably would have seen this post – a Singlish interpretation of Matthew 6:26 – being shared or re-posted over the past few weeks.

It is just one of two dozen posts by That Singlish Bible, an Instagram account that has taken the social media platform by storm since it made its debut on October 7.

Decked out in a simple monochrome design, the page has attracted many for its funny and relatable Singlish translations of the Bible.

In less than a month, the page has racked up more than 16,000 followers and upwards of a thousand likes on most of its posts, which expresses Bible verses in Singlish and with Singaporean references.

With a bio reading Expressing the Bible in our most favourite language and a profile picture saying Jesus Lah, That Singlish Bible has tickled thousands as they read this unconventional but relatable translation.

The hands behind the page

After reaching out to the founders of the viral Instagram page, Salt&Light learnt that they are a dating couple in their 20s, who were surprised by the traction the page has gained over the past three weeks.

“If you were to recount to your friend a Bible story in person, wouldn’t you likely use Singlish as well?”

Declining to reveal their identities, Jeremy and Diana (not their real names) shared that That Singlish Bible (separate from the Singlish Bible Wiki) had started out as a fun personal project, after Jeremy’s friends pointed out that he has a knack for explaining the Bible in relatable ways.

“For example, during cell group we were talking about the book of Nehemiah and how the exiles had rebuilt the wall in a short time. I just commented that even without today’s technology and with their own bare hands, they built it faster than the seven years it would take to get a BTO flat today,” said Jeremy. (*built-to-order HDB flat)

“My friends found that funny and said that I could tell Bible stories in ways that other people can understand, like so humorous and so real at the same time,” he added.

For more than two years he toyed with the idea of translating verses into Singlish. He finally got down to doing it this October, with Diana coming on board shortly after to help him. 

“I thought he was suited to do this. He actually speaks the way he writes the post,” she said with a laugh.

Blasphemous or not?

Neither of them expected the IG account to blow up the way it did. 

“Now that there are so many followers, it’s a responsibility!” exclaimed Diana.

Jeremy added: “We realise that we can put the Word in people’s hearts. So we have to do it well.”

Acknowledging that the Bible is sacred, the duo takes the extra effort to make sure that each verse they put out, despite being tongue in cheek, is as true to its original meaning as possible.

“The prayers that have changed my life have been Singlish prayers.”

Before they start translating, they take time to pray and read three different versions – the New King James Version, the New International Version and the New Living Translation – so that they can fully grasp what the verse is saying. 

If one has a suggestion on how to convert it to Singlish, the other checks to make sure the original meaning is captured.

“We’ll try to read the translated verse as closely as possible to make sure that it doesn’t deviate too much from the original. Before we post, I will read every word carefully to make sure that nothing is lost,” said Diana.

They clearly declare on their Instagram page that their “New Singlish Translation” is not an official Bible translation.

Nevertheless, they have received a handful of messages accusing them of being blasphemous or making a joke out of the Bible. It was a thought that Diana had as well when Jeremy first told her about his idea.

What she eventually realised is what she would like to tell their detractors: “Don’t confuse language with mockery. At the end of the day, Singlish is just a language. A language is just a matter of human communication. In and of itself, Singlish is not a joke or disrespectful. If you were to recount to your friend a Bible story in person, wouldn’t you likely use some elements of Singlish as well?”

Highlighting the value of communicating with people in their heart language, Jeremy added: “The prayers that have changed my life have been Singlish prayers.”

Relating to God’s Word 

Despite some pushback, Jeremy and Diana have been heartened to hear testimonies of how their content has pointed both believers and non-believers to the Bible.

“We’ve gotten messages from people saying how they haven’t touched the Bible in years but started again because of our page. There were also people who don’t believe in God asking us where they can find the original verse and Bible,” said Jeremy.

“It’s our way of making it more accessible to people. The Bible is for everybody and there’s a message for everybody.”

Diana added that others have shared how the posts have helped them to understand a familiar verse in a new and refreshing way, as well as given them ideas on how to share the Gospel in ways that are relatable to their grandparents. 

“When you present God’s Word to people in a way that is so close to their hearts, it resonates,” said Jeremy. “At the heart of it is accessibility. It’s our way of making it more accessible to people. The Bible is for everybody and there’s a message for everybody.”

He has also been personally encouraged as he reads the influx of testimonies. Having been told before that he is not eloquent, Jeremy had been discouraged that he was not good enough to share his love for the Bible.

However, he is now convinced that God can use him anyway.

For now, he and Diana will continue putting out posts when they can, in the hope that they will draw more people to Christ.

Said Jeremy: “We just hope that people will love reading the Bible as much as we do after this.”


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About the author

Gracia Lee

Gracia is a journalism graduate who thoroughly enjoys people and words. Thankfully, she gets a satisfying dose of both as a writer at Salt&Light. When she's not working, you will probably find her admiring nature or playing Monopoly Deal with her little brother.

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