The Voice New Testament

Not since The Message has a translation of the Bible flowed so freely in the English language. Since translators focused on that attribute, I would say they succeeded in reaching their goal. Another thing that the editors got right was the level and tone of extra information. Rather than scholarly footnotes, The Voice New Testament contains breaks in the columns of scripture with clarifying information written in a conversational tone. (The Preface is helpful in understanding the layout and unique formatting.) Not so successful was the softbound version that I received for review. The font size is so small that reading it in public, which is one of the purposes for this translation, would be stressful. I’m also a little wary of reading passages in public that use the screenplay format to convey who is speaking.

Extra features in The Voice are especially well done. The book contains several reading plans for readers willing to make different levels of commitment. The introduction to the New Testament is a wonderful section that focuses on our covenant-keeping God. The book also has a small topical guide to the notes at the back that will be useful.

I think this translation may prove valuable in introducing Christians to scriptures written in less formal English. The conversational style, however, will probably find some resistance in those Christians who grew up reading one of the more formal translations. (Remember, when the Bible was translated from Latin to ordinary European languages, some of the translators were burned at the stake…)