A Brief Review of
The Voice Bible Translation.
The Ekklesia Bible Society:Chris Seay, President.
Reviewed by Chris Smith
For the first 1500 years of the Christian era, the Bible was primarily known as an oral document, read aloud, committed to memory and shared and discussed orally. Now, after roughly 500 years of print culture, we know and experience the biblical text in very different ways, some of which are beneficial and others less so. With the prevalence of print Bibles, we often lose the sense that the biblical story is a drama in which we are engaged, as the people of God. The new bible translation, The Voice, seeks to recover some of the benefits of the oral tradition that have been lost as print culture triumphed in the West over oral culture. The Voice reads like an annotated script for a play, clearly identifying who is speaking and parenthetically describing the action that unfolds in between chunks of dialogue. It stirs the imagination and gives the reader (or the hearer) the sense that this story is a real and powerful drama that is unfolding on the stage of history. Some parts of the biblical text really come to life in this new format; others, such as Paul’s letters, are not particularly distinct from other translations. I believe that The Voice Bible would work really well with children or in other segments of the population where literacy poses a significant challenge.
In some of the introductory material, the editors (led by Chris Seay) note that “Too often, the passion, grit, humor and beauty have been lost in the translation process” and that “The Voice will call you to step into the whole story of God with your whole heart, soul and mind.” My engagements with this new translation so far confirm that these are not slick marketing ploys, but really capture the essence of this exciting new presentation of the scriptural story.
C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com
Reading for the Common Good
From ERB Editor Christopher Smith
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