The Voice New Testament from Ecclesia Bible Society
This is perhaps the most awkward book review I have done, to date. Perhaps that is fitting since The Voice New Testament is perhaps the most awkward Bible I have read, to date. I will admit that sounded more negative than I intended. Don’t stop now; I’ll explain.
This Bible is a project of the Ecclesia Bible Society. It is led by Chris Seay, pastor of Ecclesia Church in Houston, Texas. Ecclesia Church is very arts oriented and that is reflected in this Bible.
This is an all-new version of the New Testament. Is it a translation? Is it a paraphrase? Neither? Both? (Can you tell I am equivocating a little?) If there has ever been a hybrid of a translation and paraphrase, this is it. What does that mean? I’m glad you asked. It is a translation of the biblical text. There was a team of scholars with real Ph.D.’s and everything. There is also a lot of added explanatory material. And unlike a study bible where the added material is footnoted or referenced at the bottom or side of the page, this material is interwoven into the text. The added explanatory material is in italics, which makes it easy to distinguish from the translated text. This has the benefit of making your reading less disjointed by stopping and going to the bottom of the page repeatedly. The danger is that man’s words could be seen as equal with God’s. There are also a huge number of sidebar notes to further explain or clarify the text. These sidebar notes were not written by the scholars but by a group of Christian artists, authors, singers, and songwriters. This is the arts community that Ecclesia supports.
Is it a good New Testament? Do I like it? Overall, I would have to say yes. And this surprised me. Some of the writers/artists are definitely part of the “emerging church” camp, which is another discussion, entirely. This Bible is definitely not appropriate for real study or to teach from. I do think it would be a great Bible to read for private devotions. The notes are well written and easy to read. This is one of the most understandable Bibles I have read in a while. With certain reservations, I would recommend The Voice New Testament.
Have you read The Voice New Testament? What do you think about it? Is there a need for this Bible version? Is it helpful, or does it only dilute the Scripture?