Thursday, March 21, 2013

Book: The Story of the Voice

Back some 3 years ago, I did a review of The Voice: New Testament. I liked the style of the translation, but had some reservations about the decisions that were made. Since then, there have been some updates and revisions—and not that I think they listened to me, personally, but at least one of my criticisms is now invalid in light of the updates. That would be the one of how John the Baptist was titled.

Some of my other questions and critiques receive a great response in today’s book, The Story of the Voice. This little book provides the background on the creation of this very different Bible translation.

First, there is the background story of the major movers in forming the Ecclesia Bible Society. It’s not major biographies, just a few vignettes highlighting the key individuals involved. This section is enlightening as to motivations, which is helpful. The question is rightly asked “Why another English Bible when there are whole languages without one?” and this portion helps answer that. Admittedly, I still don’t know what a “typical Baptist preacher” is, but I do know that Chris Seay isn’t one from reading his background.

Second in The Story of the Voice comes a deeper look at the choices made in the translation. There is the predictable criticism of existing Bible translations and the methods used to accomplish them. The inaccessibility of literal translations is lamented, the weakness of dynamic equivalence translations in not going far enough to capture thought is expressed, and the need for adding artistic efforts is stated.

In addressing these issues, explanations are given for why The Voice eschewed traditional transliterations such as “Christ” or “apostle.” The logic makes sense and shows that the intent of the translation group was not to de-Christ the Bible but to make the meaning plain to all who would read it. I see that what was accomplished was a moving of the problem: instead of needing to teach in community what “Christ” means, users of The Voice will need to teach what “Anointed One” means.

That’s not all bad, though, and the reasoning is sound. Further understanding of the whys and wherefores of making The Voice helps me as a skeptic of the original outcome better support the idea. I would still not encourage The Voice as one’s primary Bible—and still prefer the more literal NASB, but my dislike for The Voice has changed based on the explanations in The Story of the Voice.

This book helps make the case for why The Voice translation was made. The story is told well. Some will still have too many arguments with the methods used, and that is a discussion worth having. By releasing this little book, I think we see the driving forces behind The Voice showing they are willing to participate in the conversation.

Free book provided by Thomas Nelson’s Booksneeze program in exchange for the review.

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