About GTV

What is GTV?

God to Verse is a project I conceived of just after graduating from college, where I decided to translate the Torah - Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy — into verse, line by line.

Why in God’s name would you do that?

The idea just came to me one day, and I knew it was something I had to do.

Did God tell you to write this?

Well, that’s an interesting question. I certainly didn’t hear any thunderous voice from the sky, or anything like that. I just had the idea randomly one day.

But there’s an old story about a religious man caught in a flood. The flood waters were slowly rising, and the man stood on the porch of his house. A man in a row boat paddled by and told the religious man, “Get in, the waters are rising!”  But the religious man said, “No thank you, God will save me.”  The flood waters kept rising and the man had to go to the second floor of his house. A man in a motor boat drove by and told the religious man, “Get in, the flood is getting worse!”  But the religious man said, “No thank you, I have faith that God will save me.”

The waters rose and soon the religious man was forced to stand on the peak of his own roof to avoid drowning. A helicopter flew by, and the pilot yelled down, “We’re here to rescue you! Hurry!” But the man told the pilot, “No thank you, God will rescue me.” The pilot flew away, the waters rose, and the man drowned. The man was sent to heaven, and upon arriving, got to meet God. He asked God, “Why did you let me drown? I had perfect faith that you would rescue me.” And God said, “What more did you want? I sent you two boats and a helicopter!”

What version of the Torah did you work from?

I worked from four versions: The JPS (Jewish Publication Society) Tanakh, The New Oxford Annotated Bible, The Five Books of Moses (by Everett Fox), and the King James Bible.

Who are you, anyway?

My name is Seth Brown, and I’m a writer. I was born in Rhode Island, and now live in a small town in Massachusetts, where I have a humor column in the local paper. I’ve always been interested in poetry, and enjoy translating things into verse. I’ve versified everything from the labors of Hercules and a short dialogue of Plato’s, to more modern things like presidential debates.

So you’re just some poet. Can any religious experts vouch for this God to Verse thing?

Bishop John Shelby Spong, the author of Liberating the Gospels, calls it “refreshing, thrilling, and pregnant with insight”.

Rachel Barenblat, the blogger behind the Velveteen Rabbi, says it is “attentive to… the wordplay, humor, and poetry of the original Hebrew”

Really, you should just take a look for yourself and see if you like the combination of a faithful line-by-line translation with a more fun and accessible format.

Okay, I like it. How can I see more?

Conveniently, my translations of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy are now all printed up in one large book, and I’ve even added shorter rhyming summaries of each chapter. You can buy it here:


If you're ever going to read the old testament, I promise you this is the most fun and carefully researched way.

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