Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Book Review: The Voice New Testament

  The Voice is a different sort of translation, one with a particular purpose in mind. The vision behind the Voice wasn't simply to start from the Greek and end up in English, but to create “a fresh expression of the timeless narrative known as the Bible,” as quoted from the book's preface “about the Voice project”. The resulting text was geared more towards a re-telling of scripture, with a more “vocal” sense of expression, like following a narrative rather than studying a text book.

  The authors sought to achieve their goal by even utilizing the layout. The text is written as a screenplay with the speaker being designated at the start of each passage. This feature is helpful in that it makes it clear who is speaking, but the text does require deviation from the original manuscripts for this to be accommodated. The commentary is sometimes woven into the story as italicized wording integrated into the text itself. These comments can sometimes be helpful in keeping the flow of the narrative or giving a fuller expression of the passage, but again these are additions based on the authors' interpretation and not part of God's Word. The concern with this being the potential for confusion between scripture and commentary. All other commentary is contained in boxes between passages. Some of which give helpful background information that shed light on certain passages a new bible reader may find confusing, but the majority of the comments are more devotional in nature, posing questions or leading the reader to reflect upon issues or situations.

  I went into this with some serious reservations, some of which I mentioned above. I was quite surprised when I found myself liking the Voice as much as I now do. There are still issues of concern but these can be alleviated if this version of the New Testament is used as is intended. The Voice works well as an introduction to the Bible. To someone who has never read the scriptures for themselves the Voice provides an easy read and a nice overview, exposing the reader to the people, places, and events of the New Testament. The Voice should not be your only Bible and I certainly hope no one ever preaches from it. There are just too many liberties taken to accommodate the purposes driving this edition. The commentaries are not meant to be doctrinal statements and should not be taken as such. All in all if your looking for a New Testament to sit down and read cover to cover enjoying the story or you want to invite a friend to experience the scriptures for the first time, then the Voice will meet the need.

  I'd like to thank Thomas Nelson Publishers for providing me with a free copy of the Voice as part of their “BookSneeze.com” blogger book review program.
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