November 5, 2012

The Voice

Every time you see a new translation of the Bible, you can be sure someone had a strong purpose before putting so many Bible scholars to so much work! That surely happened with The Voice.

When Chris Seay, the president of the Ecclesia Bible Society, came up with the idea a couple of decades ago, he wanted a translation that would help us to feel we were there, experiencing biblical events and interacting with each Bible person. But how?

Since I’m a Bible-loving Christian poet and writer who had similar thoughts and goals, my solution eventually came in a workable way for me: the blog, Bible People in prose and poetry, then and now.

As most poets can tell you, reading a poem is less about whether you “get it” than whether you feel, sense, connect with, or somehow experience a particular poem. The same can be said for a movie script or screenplay, and so The Voice helps readers to identify with Bible characters and stories through another literary means: drama!

Format: Like the script for a contemporary play, The Voice identifies the speaker or narrator in the left-hand column of the page then provides “stage directions,” either through the words of scripture or an aside added to the original text. When the latter occurs, a change in the font type or color identifies the addition with borderlines to mark the inserts.

Type: An easy-to-read Bible needs an easy-to-read font, which this edition certainly has. Even the tiny type used to identify place names on the maps in the back of the book can be read without straining the myopic eyes we frequent readers often seem to have.

Study Aids: Besides the colorful maps and typical topical index, the study aids will be especially useful to new Christians or those who want to learn, know, or keep track of the important dates in the church calendar. For ease in note-keeping, lined pages have been included at the back of the book.

Unique Features: Throughout this fresh and innovative edition, the contextual notes show the intent of the biblical writers or motivations of the speakers and where they or surrounding cultural influences were coming from. Ironically, though, this dynamic equivalent of the Word of God has been criticized for none of the above but for the literal rendering of “Christ,” “God,” “apostles,” and “angels.”

For example, the Greek word “Christos” traditionally renamed as the English “Christ” literally means “the Anointed One” – a phrase that has reportedly upset many Christians at first (perhaps as it did when modern translators corrected the English rendering of the Hebrew original YHWH from “Jehovah” to “Yahweh,” which means "I AM Who I AM" - now, then, and always. Therefore, The Voice literally translated YHWH as the "Eternal" or the "Eternal One." Similarly, the word "emissary" for Christ would be clearer than the word "apostle" and "messenger" more precise than "angel."

Special Recommendation: As a worthy emissary for Christ and angelic voice meant to give us a clear message from God, The Voice will surely make a blessed Christmas gift for children, teens, young adults, adults, church friends, Bible study groups, and your whole family to read aloud together. Click on the title to find the cover you want to order The Voice Biblein time for Christmas.

Even if you're now unsure about the usage of the word “Christmas,” consider ordering The Voice as a special gift to give on the special feast day of The Anointed One, aka the Christ Mass. And maybe we could even use this literal rendering as a means of separating Christ-lovers from Santa-shoppers by following The Voice into an annual celebration of "The Day of the Anointed."

© 2012, Mary Harwell Sayler, all rights reserved, but pass it on!

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