Mar 8, 2010

The Voice Review

I've recently been reading a new retelling of the New Testament called The Voice by Thomas Nelson Publishers. If any of you are looking for a fresh voice in which to read the Word, I would recommend this work, though with caution. That caution comes in reading it as a translation when I think it should be read more as a commentary.

I've been riveted to the page by the creative format, modern language, informative commentary and sheer entertainment of the work. The Voice is written in a screenplay format, which puts you right in the middle of the action. Instead of reading:

"Jesus straightened up and asked her, 'Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?' 'No one, sir,' she said. 'Then neither do I condemn you,' Jesus declared. 'Go now and leave your life of sin.'" You're able to jump into the scene:

Jesus: Dear woman, where is everyone? Are we alone? Did no one step forward to condemn you?
Woman Caught in Adultery: Lord, no one has condemned me.
Jesus: Well, I do not condemn you either; all I ask is that you go and from now on avoid the sins that plague you.

Though I was hesitant about using a "Bible" that was clearly a modernized version of the classic language, it really has made me want to read scripture more, shining light on details that I have missed on previous readings of the New Testament. It has done for me what The Message has done for many others--inspired me to dive in and learn more.

HOWEVER, I would recommend using this version as supplementary material only. Though it was put together by a "team of scholars partner[ing] with. . .writers to blend the mood and voice of the original author with an accurate rendering of the words of the text in English", it is still so modernized that I found myself reaching for my NIV to make sure it was accurate. So far, it has been (I've read 2 books). But to me, with all the explanatory material (much like the Amplified Bible), this version seems more like a commentary to be used in tandem with a Bible of a more classic translation. And not being a biblical scholar but just a girl who wants to read the Bible, I'm wondering if there could be inaccuracies or inappropriate language liberties taken that I'm missing. I'm keeping a skeptical eye out, but still loving it.

So, if you're finding your Bible reading flat or lifeless, maybe you should pick this up for that breath of new life you've been looking for. Just keep your "real" Bible close by and let me know what you think. I'm still rolling this one around in my brain.

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**Note: a review copy was given to me by the publishers with no requirement other than to post an honest review.

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