Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Book Review: The Voice

The Voice: New Testament, is a paraphrased New Testament (in the same line as The Message) which brings clarity and insight to God's word by providing devotional commentary and a dialogue layout.

***While reviewing this Bible I learned the difference between a translated Bible (ex. NIV) and a paraphrased Bible (The Voice.) A "translation" translates the words of the original text, where as a "paraphrase" translates the ideas from the original text.

The Voice was put together by a team of Biblical scholars and contributing writers. They developed a New Testament which would provide ease of reading and understanding throughout the pages. This was accomplished through the use of devotional commentary, setup in a screenplay format, and providing additional clarity to the passages.

It is these reasons why I've enjoyed reading this New Testament. One of my favorite aspects of it is the use of the "screenplay format" (and no, we are not "panning across the desert, as 13 men enter stage right.") It simply means that when there is dialogue the speakers are noted. Here is an example from John 9:15-66:

The Pharisees began questioning him, looking for some explanation for ho he could now see.
Formerly Blind Man: He smeared mud on my eyes, and I washed; now I see.
Some Pharisees: God can't possibly be behind this man because He is breaking the rules of the Sabbath.
Other Pharisees: How can such a lawbreaking scoundrel do something like this?
The Pharisees were at odds with one another about Jesus and could not agree whether His power came from God or the devil.

Let's face it, it is easy to loose your concentration while reading the Bible, and you soon realize you don't know who is talking to whom. What once was a jumble of dialogue becomes clear with the screenplay format as it allows you to easily follow along with who is speaking.

Each book of the New Testament is given an introduction, providing background information on the book itself, the writer, and society at that time. Throughout the chapters Outline Boxes are found, again providing additional information. You will find fewer footnotes in this book as much of the information once relegated to footnotes have been added to the passages, highlighted by italic type so the reader understands that it is not part of the original translation, but an enhancement for better understanding.

While reviewing the book I passed it on to a friend to read (a seminary graduate who has probably read every translation available, as well as the original text; and who instructed me on the difference between a translation and a paraphrased Bible) and said she found the passages, she had read, understandable and still true to the original passages.

I would recommend this book for those looking for another "translation" to enhance your Bible study, or looking for an easy to read version, especially if you are reading to your children.

***Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com 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.

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