On the Bookshelf: The Voice

Let’s put aside that reviewing the Bible is a little awkward. Obviously, the point isn’t the Bible itself, but the presentation of the Bible offered by The Voice New Testament.

And frankly, that presentation is a mixed bag … at least in the electronic version I used (iBooks). I’m curious about the print version. I wonder if some of the issues I had with this version would be resolved in print.

Oh, and I had issues.

But first, The Voice is a dynamic translation of the Scriptures representing (as the Amazon product page describes) a collaboration among scholars, pastors, writers, musicians, poets, and other artists. It includes inline commentary and italicized additions to the text.

And that’s where I had a problem. The italics, which are meant to expand and explain to modern readers what the original readers would have known, were simply distracting and sometimes unnecessary. The inline commentary, though clearly set apart from the Scripture text, often broke my train of thought as I was reading a passage.

Another major difference in format is that the dialog is handled in a screenplay format. Thought it was odd at first, I eventually came to appreciate its simplicity in presenting conversations.

The translation itself achieved its goal of attaining the fluidity of modern literature. I appreciated that the authors took the time in the preface to explain the thought behind translation choices. Otherwise, it would have been far more jarring to find familiar passages with unfamiliar words. Think, for example of John 1:1:

ESV
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

The Voice
Before time itself was measured, the Voice was speaking. The Voice was and is God.

Overall, The Voice is a lovely translation, if you don’t mind the inline commentary and italicized explanatory notes in the text.

Thanks to Thomas Nelson for providing me with an iBooks copy of this book through their Booksneeze program. Click on the button on the sidebar for more information.

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