Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Voice

I was very excited when I heard about The Voice.  A Bible that is aiming to catch the narrative and meaning of the Bible in a fresh expression is something to get excited about.  The thing that needs to be mentioned right away is that this is more of a paraphrase than a literal translation.  I think that people who enjoyed Peterson’s The Message will also really enjoy The Voice.  If you didn’t like the liberties that Peterson took you will hate this version.  One of the things that I really liked was the way that they formatted this Bible to feel like a screenplay.  It helps break up the different voices of the Bible and to find the feel for what is going on.  This is especially true when you look at 1 Corinthians 6 where the conversation between Paul and those in Corinth comes across to really capture what is happening.
The Text boxes in the Bible I had no use for.  I found they added very little insight or help.  On the other hand in this Bible there are many italicized portions where the translators have added text to try and more fully capture the original meaning of the text, or give us some insight that would have been obvious to the original audience.

When I read Colossians I was a little disappointed with The Voice.  I felt that some of that some of the italicized portions were adding more of the translators own views than Paul’s.  I also thought that language of an NLT or The Message would be easier to read and understand.

However, I then read Galatians and 1 Corinthians and there I really fell in love with The Voice.
Recently there has been debate within Scholarship about how to translate “dia pisteos Isou Cristou” in Galatians 2:16.  The question here being, are we made righteous by faith in Jesus or by the faith of Jesus.  For various reasons I find the later position more compelling and I was excited to see that the translators of The Voice agreed with me. I think that they also did a great job of getting the feel of Galatians.

I have also just finished reading Richard Hays’ commentary on 1 Corinthians and I found that for the most part The Voice really echoed Hays’ commentary.  I think that they did a good job of capturing Paul’s meaning in this book.  They really captured the sense of community and moved away from an individualistic reading of Corinthians.

For the most part I really enjoyed The Voice.  I was occasionally disappointed because I felt that the translators stuck with a more traditional interpretation on some passages (Like 1 Cor 11) but was pleased with the way they pushed on other passages.  If you read The Voice beside a literal translation of the Bible you may wonder if you are even reading the same book.  Some of the additions do add a lot to what we traditionally have read.  The best advice I can give is to read The Voice alongside a good commentary.  This will help you decide for yourself how the translators have done.  All in all The Voice is a good devotional book, something to give you some fresh insights into the scriptures, but not a book I would ever take into one of my seminary classes.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their 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 comment:

Kurt Willems said...

The Voice is great. I recently got the whole thing for free via an iphone app!