“The Voice:” New Testament (Review)

10 April 2010

Christopher J Wiles

writer | speaker | servant

The following is a review of The Voice, a new translation of the New Testament recently published from Thomas Nelson Publishers, who were kind enough to provide me a free, complimentary copy for review.

The Voice serves its intended purpose in presenting the New Testament in a highly readable, poetic format. It features the creative work and scholarship from a variety of individuals, including such names as Darrell L. Bock, Chris Seay and Brian McLaren. The names alone suggest a curious mix of scholarship and creativity.

Which has attracted criticism by those who fear the authors valued style over accuracy, citing such examples of using the word “voice” in place of “word” in John 1, and the addition of the phrase “curiously stronger” in Jesus’ wilderness temptation. I myself was hoping for a stronger translation of Philippians 3:8 than “yesterday’s garbage.”

But these examples do not significantly affect the meaning of the text. The commentary notes are light, but orthodox. Those uncomfortable with emerging church theology can rest easy that the book in their hands reflects the intent of the original author.

So my conclusion is two-fold:

  1. This translation has its place. It is a refreshing, highly readable translation , perfect for spiritual beginners. I plan on keeping my copy on the shelf only long enough to give away.
  2. Readers must know its place. For the purposes of study, this translation must be supplemented by others in order that the full meaning of the text might be made clear.

I’ll be very interested in seeing this approach with Old Testament narrative. To be fair, I’m not certain whether The Voice is in any way superior to Eugene Peterson’s popular Message, but it remains a strong contender in the market for “user-friendly” translations.

10 April 2010

Christopher J Wiles

writer | speaker | servant

Chris is a writer and speaker. He currently serves as teaching pastor at Tri-State Fellowship and as a research writer for Docent Research Group.

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