The first 40 days of 2010 are now over. To start of this new year I challenged myself to read through the entire Bible and I proud to say, that today, after lunch, I completed the task set before me. I
I have tried to read through the Bible each year since I was a freshman in college. As a Bible major we were expected to read through of it during the year and the habit has stuck. Honestly, I have to say that I have not always read every verse, but the goal and the attempt has always been there.
This year I had a couple of new twists to help me reach my goal. First, I started with the Chronological reading plan provide BlueLetter at YouVersion. YouVersion provides several different reading plans that can be customized to meet your needs. On the site there are also several translations of the Bible and audio Bibles for those who want to listen in the office (this was especially helpful on days when I feel behind and need to catch up quickly during my lunch break).
Each year I also try to use a new translation, or at least one that I haven't read in awhile. In general I use the ESV for daily use. For the Old Testament readings I continued to use the ESV but when I got to the New Testament I switched to The Voice.
The Voice is a brand new translation released by Thomas Nelson that features biblical scholarship and contemporary artists/writers/speakers. I definitely enjoyed reading the scriptures in a new voice. The wording of text flows quite smoothly, making long reading session easy. The only difficulty I saw was that the devotional thoughts are sprinkled throughout in a haphazard way, breaking off the text of scripture in ways that made finding your place harder than it should have to be.
The text also features some lines that are in italics, which indicates that the phrasing is not original to the text, but has rather been added by the contributing writers. In some cases this done as as meanings of clarification or to help the reader understand some pertinent background information. For example, in 2 Corinthians 5:1 the writers add the following introduction to Paul's discussion about the earthly body being a tent:
"Let me try to explain what I'm talking about in a way that makes the most sense to me as a tentmaker."
Now, certainly this does not change the meaning of the text. However, Paul, guided by the Holy Spirit, felt no need to include such a remark in the text. Other additions are more worrisome to me. In John 1:8-11 there are several references to "The Voice" although there is no reference to this in the manuscripts used to translate the text. The decision to make such an addition is only made more curious by the make that the team chose to call their new translation "The Voice."
I also found it interesting that through the work "baptism" is translated as "ceremonial washing" with a footnote explaining that it literally means "immersion." Personally, I would have preferred the actually translate the word and put immersion in the text. The use of the phrase "ceremonial washing" seems to downplay its important role in the work of salvation, at least as I read it.
I am sure that there are many other strengths and weaknesses of this translations (as there are of any translation). I will leave it work brighter men and and women than I to discuss the exact nature of the words that were chosen. I enjoyed reading this translation. As I said, I regularly read from various translations in order to get to fuller picture of what God is communicating. It will remain a helpful tool in library, that I will likely come back to again and again. However, this will not become my everyday Bible. An everyday Bible should be one that is a trusted translation. For me that means one that can be understood and one that tries to convene, as closely as possible the original meaning of the NT manuscripts.
A copy of the Voice was provided by Thomas Nelson for review.