Book Review: The Voice – NEW TESTAMENT

The Voice – NEW TESTAMENT BIBLE
THE LIBERATING KING AND HIS CHURCH

The Voice represents a Bible translation of the New Testament that’s more like a story – a narrative written, edited and illustrated by a group of scholars, pastors, writers, musicians, poets and other artists instead of scholars in an academic setting. The translation was written for such a time as this – our modern culture. The authors painstakingly recreated stories with details that today’s audience can relate to without diminishing context. The Voice is based on the earliest manuscripts from the Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic languages. I especially appreciate how this translation appropriately names Jesus our Liberating King.

The foreword tells us that the team was keenly aware that they were guardians of “sacred text” who were charged with translating the text with a mixture of scholarly expertise as well as literary skill.  To help readers understand how this translation follows the flow of traditional translations, the following language devices were used:

Italic type: notes words that are not directly part of a dynamic translation of the original language. But those words contain information that gives the reader context that they need to understand what was implied to the original audience without using footnotes or a study guide. However, when footnotes are needed they quoted referenced material. 
Outline boxes: expands on the theme.
Screenplay format: used to avoid use of repetitive words and to identify dialog. The speaker is identified and the dialog is indented.

“Churchy” jargon such as baptism, repentance and salvation are translated into words everyone can relate to. Word order and parts of speech also work for today’s reader. I believe the narrative, screenplay style contributed to my understanding and enjoyment. The screenplay format enabled me to get an idea of the attitude of the speaker or the person being spoken to through the use of stage direction.  An example follows:

Mark 6:37 - (the scene where Jesus fed 5,000 people)
Disciples: (looking at Him): What? It would cost a fortune* to buy bread for these people!
Jesus: 38 Does anyone have any bread? Go and see.
Disciples: (returning from the crowd): There are five pieces of flatbread and two fish, if that makes any difference.

Footnote: *Literally, 200 denarii, Roman coins

In another example, I really like the use of the word dearly in John 11:5 - Jesus dearly loved Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. This made the relationship real between Jesus and his friends. It’s a radically different translation, which anyone can pick up, read and understand. It’s humorous, authentic and I believe it captures real people and a real Jesus. I also believe it’s especially good for new believers, those who’ve never read through the Bible and even open-minded, veteran Bible readers.

My college student thoroughly enjoyed the translation and we read several chapters together. We occasionally attend the church of Pastor Chris Seay who is the visionary behind this translation. His sermons bring to life this Bible translation.

I often come back to this Bible to get context when I’m doing in-depth study or to get a fresh perspective. I’ve found it an invaluable resource. After having this Bible for more than six months, the back paper cover tore. I’ll probably invest in the leather bound version.

NOTE: 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.

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