Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Voice New Testament

The Voice was produced by Thomas Nelson together with Ecclesia Bible Society. The work is a collaboration among scholars, pastor, writers, musicians, poets, and other artists. Their goal is to help Christians experience the joy and wonder of God's revelation.
The Voice tries to retain the different writing styles particular to the various authors of the original text. As is common now, the word order in the original may be altered for readability in English. The idea is to reveal the beauty of the Scripture and allow for clear and quick understanding of the text.
The Voice is described as a “contextual equivalent” translation. The translators realize that context is the most important factor in determining the meaning of a word or passage. The Voice is a hybrid of the word-for-word and thought-for-thought translations, at times one and and some times, the other. They have tried not to use trendy language.
Regarding gender, when a text is clear in addressing a gender, that gender is retained. When the context indicates both genders were to be included (such as addressing the recipients of the letter to a church), the English is rendered that way.
Another aspect of the translation that is unique is the rendering of Christos as “God's Anointed” or something similar. They recognize that “Christ” is not a second name for Jesus but merely a transliteration of the original word. Using the meaning of “anointed” in some way more accurately reflects the meaning of the original.
Chris Seay's (president of Ecclesia Bible Society) vision is to provide a work that would capture the thought and emotion of today's people. Rather than just retelling words, there is an emphasis on meaning and experience. The desire is to help readers step into the story of Scripture.
The New Testament edition contains a variety of reading plans to help the reader grasp the story. There are also introductions to each of the individual books.
One aspect of The Voice I really like is the use of italics indicating words added to give meaning to contemporary readers that would have been understood by the original readers. These are words that are not in the Greek text but help bring out the nuance of the language.
There is material added on nearly every page that is set off by color or a line, dividing it from the Bible text. This helpful material might include cultural, historical theological, or devotional thoughts.
Passages of dialogue are written in a screenplay format. The name of the speaker is given and the dialogue is indented. Quotation marks are not used. Where needed, stage directions are given. This aspect of the work makes it very useful for dramatic reading.

Reading The Voice is a unique experience. If you have read Shakespeare out loud with friends, you will have had a similar experience. One really gets a sense of the drama while reading. I even found that a verse may be placed elsewhere to facilitate the flow of the story. (For example, Matt. 2:15 placed after verse 18.) What a clever idea! The added comments are very helpful and are clearly designated as not part of the original Biblical text.
There is more italicized (added) text than I anticipated. It really helps to establish the flow of the narrative, however. Since it is so clearly distinguished as added, I think it is great.
The screenplay technique of The Voice works best in the gospels and Revelation, where there is actual dialogue. Reading the epistles is also interesting because of the added (italicized) words. Here is an example, Ephesians 1:3. “Blessed be God, the Father of our Lord Jesus the Anointed One, who grants us every spiritual blessing in these heavenly realms where we live in the Anointed – not because of anything we have done, but because of what He has done for us.” Compare that to the translation you currently use.

I like to read a new translation from time to time as that helps me gain a fresh appreciation for the Word. I think The Voice has a unique style and I plan to return to it again and again for new insight.

Thomas Nelson product information.

Go to for a verse of the day, to download an Old Testament book, compare translations, videos (informative and worshipful), and much more.

I received an egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.  The opinions expressed are y own.

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