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Apr 29

The Voice New Testament – A Review

Posted on Sunday, April 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

If you’ve been a reader of for a while you know that I use a variety of biblical translations.  I have my preferences, but I really do enjoy reading a variety of different translations.

Different translations use different styles of translating the original languages into English.

The NASB, ESV and others use a more literal word for word translation.
The NRSV, NIV, and others have a more phrase for phrase translation.
The NCV, NLT and others are increasingly thought for thought translations.
The Message and The Voice are both paraphrases; their translators are retelling and explaining the text while seeking to clarify the meaning of the text. 1

Thomas Nelson’s web site promotes The Voice™ Bible translation as “a faithful dynamic translation of the Scriptures done as a collage of compelling narratives, poetry, song, truth, and wisdom…The Voice uniquely represents collaboration among scholars, pastors, writers, musicians, poets, and other artists, giving great attention to the beauty of the narrative. The heart of The Voice is retelling the story of the Bible in a form as fluid as modern literary works yet remaining painstakingly true to the original manuscripts.” 2

I was excited when I first read The Voice Bible translation.
It is unique in it’s translation of the text.
It is unique in it’s layout of the text.
It is unique in the manner in which it offers additional help to readers of the text.

Features include:

The Voice New Testament includes introductions for each biblical book.  Each introduction is one to two pages that summarizes the content of the book, identifying the author, the context, and insights about the literary language.

Three features immediately set The Voice apart.

1.  “In-text commentary notes include cultural, historical, theological, and devotional thoughts” are printed in a different and larger font that is easy to distinguish them from the Bible text.

2.  The Voice New Testament contains a unique screenplay “format, ideal for public readings and group studies.”

From John 18:

Jesus: Whom are you looking for?
Judas’s Entourage: 5Jesus the Nazarene.
Jesus: I am the One.

Judas, the betrayer, stood with the military force. 6As Jesus spoke “I am the One,” the forces fell back on the ground. 7Jesus asked them a second time:
Jesus: Whom are you searching for?
Judas’s Entourage: Jesus the Nazarene.
Jesus: 8I have already said that I am the One. If you are looking for Me, then let these men go free.

The third feature has prompted the most concern and even criticism.  “Italicized information added to help contemporary readers understand what the original readers would have known intuitively.”

While the translators made many informed choices I agreed with, the translators have added words and phrases, and sometimes entire sentences, that they suggest “the original readers would have known intuitively.” I do not agree with all of their choices and explanations of the meaning of the text.

I recommend, and have purchased several copies of The Voice New Testament knowing full well the inherent limitations of a paraphrase.


Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 […] “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

1 – The Message seems to have a more Calvinist perspective while The Voice seems to lean toward a more Arminianism perspective.

2 – You can read The Voice here.

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