Book review: The Voice Bible

The Voice is a new translation of the bible published by Thomas Nelson. I received this book free as part of the Booksneeze programme at Thomas Nelson.  I was not required to give a favourable review.

 It has a number of features that are intended to enhance the user’s understanding.

To evaluate The Voice I simply used it as my default Bible over the past couple of weeks – as opposed to analysing ‘test passages’.  I hoped that this would give me a better overall impression of the approach, and I’m not suitably equipped to comment on matters of translation.  So what follows are my views on some of the key features (that I have discovered so far).

Presenting dialogue in the format of a dramatic script

I like this feature.  It clarifies the flow of conversations, and while some verses may have been re-ordered to fit this approach, I think that this is a valuable addition.

New titles for God and Christ

In the Old Testament, the name of YHWH is presented as ‘the Eternal One’; Christ is translated as ‘the anointed One’.  This certainly made me stop and think, which is a good thing.  I think there is a danger that we have become overly familiar with these titles, and miss their significance.

Explanatory notes to clarify the context

In many ways this is similar to other ‘study’ Bibles, and is helpful.  They do not provide the depth of information that a commentary would – but, I don’t suppose that they are meant to.

Insertion of supplementary words to clarify meaning or context

Additional words are indicated in italics to amplify passages.  There is an honesty/openness about this approach that I appreciate.  At times the insight gained is useful; at times I found it unnecessary and intrusive.  On one occasion – which I’ll expand on – it was both of these in the same passage!

In Luke 18 – the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector – there is an addition in verse 12:

I fast not once but twice a week.

The addition of ‘not once but’ gets the point across that the Pharisee is exceeding what is required.  I consider this to be helpful.

However, in verse 10:

Imagine two men walking up a road, going to the temple to pray.

This addition adds little to my understanding, and in my view is an unnecessary distraction.

At this stage I’m ambivalent about this development.

Conclusion

So, what’s my overall assessment?  The Voice will not become my ‘go to’ translation (ESV will remain in that place).  However, The Voice will be a useful addition, which I am sure will help me to look at Bible passages in a new, fresh and a times challenging way.

4 stars: Very good.  I will willingly recommend this to people that I think will be interested in it.

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