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Weekend Reading (or Listening): The Red Letters Project

September 21, 2012

This is a different kind of review for me. I have no musical ability. I play no instruments. No one, including myself, wants to hear me sing. Today, I am offering a review of a musical project.

The Red Letters Project: The Book of Matthew (official site: trlp.net) is a fascinating concept. It is an audio Bible. It is also a musical project. Distributed by Tyndale House Publishers, The Red Letters Project: The Book of Matthew is a 3 CD set that puts Jesus’ words in the Gospel of Matthew to a rock soundtrack. That’s right, a rock soundtrack.

First, let me say, anything we do to get people to read, listen to, and learn God’s word is a good thing. I appreciate the effort of the producers, as well as their motive and the risk they have taken with this project. I hope God blesses them.

There are some problems with this album. They have chosen to use the New Living Translation. It is a good translation. It is the one I teach and preach from most of the time. It is great for reading; it is less than great for singing.

Of course, most any translation would not really be good for singing the words of Jesus. Jesus’ words were primarily teaching or conversations. How well would your teaching or conversations fit to music?

Something else that could have been done better is the choice of artists, composers, etc. I do not mean to say it isn’t done well. It is fine, I guess. But it has no star-power, at least from the Christian music industry, to help it be a success. This collection was released in 2009. I am guessing it hasn’t sold well.

Another problem is the genre and length. I think rock music was a fine enough choice, but this is a 3 CD set that goes on for about 3 hours. At some point, it all starts to sound a lot alike. It may not have worked well to try to mix different genres of music in the same project, but 3 hours of this did not really work for me either.

P.S.: I wish I was creative enough to come up with this review.

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