Customer Review

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Flawed but Useful, May 1, 2012
This review is from: The Voice Bible: Step Into the Story of Scripture (Hardcover)
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This reviewer has a very basic understanding of the Greek of the New Testament, and no experience or knowledge of Hebrew whatsoever, so take my comments with that grain of salt. Also, I am rather open-minded with Bible translations to a larger extent than many of my Evangelical contemporaries. I love the NIV, even the 2010 version, and the NLT is a favorite as well, along with (especially) the amazing NET (New English Translation). So I'm not a stick-in-the-mud when it comes to new translations. Indeed, virtually all the Bible translations I use were completed or revised in the past 10 years. I do, however, dislike "The Message" because it's more of a commentary than a translation of Scripture (and has far too much "vulgar vernacular" which will be incredibly dated in a few short years no doubt), and from what I read and heard about "The Voice" I figured this would be similar.

Well, yes and no.

There are some translation principles in "The Voice" that are laudable (even if they might cause controversy). I applaud the use of "The Anointed One" for "Messiah" or "Christ" in the New Testament, as so many modern readers merely think of "Christ" as one of Jesus' name and don't understand the significance and scandal of the use of the term. I like the use of "The Eternal One" for the Divine Name in the Old Testament, as it identifies a thought and feeling about God every time you read those words.

There is an awful lot of "added" words and commentary in the text. Words that the translators admit is not in the original language but is useful to give the reader context. These are clearly italicized and so I think are effective for the reader. There are a lot of study notes right in the text, clearly marked in one way or another, that again, are very helpful for the reader, especially the reader unfamiliar with certain details of the text (for instance, what "myrrh" is in Matthew 2). Actually reading the text devotionally gets a little difficult from time to time with so many of these "interruptions", and the person who wants a simple Bible to read and pray devotionally might want to look elsewhere.

Don't think, however, that because this is the newest translation it is the easiest to read. I find the NIV and NLT both easier to sit and read... but for those who are less familiar with the text, this might be an easier version to UNDERSTAND, with all of it's in-text helps as I mentioned above. One convention they've employed, setting dialogue up as a "drama script" to more easily follow who is saying what, is actually really uncomfortable to me to read. I prefer it the way literally every other Bible translation has done it.

There are some GREAT Bible study helps, like reading plans and liturgical calendars, that are also included that are really wonderful to see. The book introductions are good, too.

A few translation principles annoy me. A great example of that is in Micah 6:8, where the word "mercy" is not used. "Kindness" is substituted, and I feel like that's just not the same word. There are some other things there that are minor annoyances, that's just one small example. Some may be concerned with the continuation of the now normal procedure of translating "brothers" into "brothers and sisters" to reflect the changing way we view language. Also, "he" is no longer really ever a "gender-free" personal pronoun in the English language. Deal with it. I finally changed my own mind about this some years ago.

For reading the Bible and getting a great idea of what is in there, I think this is an excellent new tool. If you have little or no background in the Bible, you will especially appreciate the added helps within the text (and if you are educated in the Bible, there will still be some great stuff here for you). For those looking for more "literal accuracy" and who have some background in the Bible, I'd recommend the NET Bible instead. For public reading of Scripture in a liturgical context I think this is a very poor choice. For personal reading and study, alongside other "more conventional" translations, I think it's a great addition to the pantheon of Bible tools.

Update (08/12/12): After using this Bible exclusively for a few weeks for personal reading, I pretty quickly ceased using this as my main Bible and returned to the NET (New English Translation). I don't recommend The Voice any less, but do feel like all the "help" you get from this volume can get in the way of really understanding and "enjoying" the reading of Scripture.
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