In the beginning was the Voice

There is yet another Bible translation.  It’s called The Voice.  The publisher is Thomas Nelson, who also publishes its polar opposite, the King James version.  Here is a story about The Voice from USA Today

The name Jesus Christ doesn’t appear in The Voice, a new translation of the Bible.

The Voice translation is aimed at people who haven’t read the Bible much before and aren’t familiar with church jargon.

Nor do words such as angel or apostle. Instead, angel is rendered as messenger and apostle as emissary. Jesus Christ is Jesus the Anointed One or the liberating king.

That’s a more accurate translation for modern American readers, says David Capes, lead scholar for The Voice, a complete edition released this month by publishing company Thomas Nelson. Capes says that many people, even those who’ve gone to church for years, don’t realize that the word “Christ” is a title.

“They think that Jesus is his first name and Christ is his last name,” says Capes, who teaches the New Testament at Houston Baptist University in Texas.

Seven years in the making, The Voice is the latest entry into the crowded field of English Bible translations.

Unlike the updated New International Version and the Common English Bible — both released last year — much of The Voice is formatted like a screenplay or novel. Translators cut out the “he said” and “they said” and focused on dialogue.

So in Matthew 15, when Jesus walks on the water, scaring his followers, their reaction is immediate:

Disciple: “It’s a ghost!”

Another Disciple: “A ghost? What will we do?”

Jesus: “Be still. It is I; you have nothing to fear.”

“I hope we get people to see the Bible — not as an ancient text that’s worn out — but as a story that they participate in and find their lives in,” Capes says.

The title for The Voice came from the New Testament book of John and from the Greek word logos. It’s usually translated as “word” in verses such as John 1:1, which reads: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,” in the New International Version, one of the most popular English translations.

In The Voice, that passage reads: “Before time itself was measured, the Voice was speaking. The Voice was and is God.” Frank Couch, the executive editor and publisher of The Voice, says that translation better captures what logos means.

via New Bible translation focuses on dialogue, giving the Word a ‘Voice’ – USATODAY.com.

Does it really?  Not in the Greek that I learned.

I don’t think this translation is deliberately unorthodox, but the desire to avoid or recast theological language–thus eliminating concepts such as God’s “Word” and even “Christ”–suggest a brand of Christianity that recognizes no history, no continuity with the past, no Church as a corporate entity that transcends an individual’s personal piety.  And yet I’m pretty sure some of the people involved in this project aren’t that way.  Go to the  website, compare translations, and try to arrive at a fair assessment.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Michael B.

    “The name Jesus Christ doesn’t appear in The Voice, a new translation of the Bible.”

    In fairness to the Jews, what part of the Old Testament would need to be changed? The most quoted passage by Christians is from Isaiah, and nowhere in that passage is the word “messiah” used, let alone Jesus.

  • Michael B.

    “The name Jesus Christ doesn’t appear in The Voice, a new translation of the Bible.”

    In fairness to the Jews, what part of the Old Testament would need to be changed? The most quoted passage by Christians is from Isaiah, and nowhere in that passage is the word “messiah” used, let alone Jesus.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Our culture is screwed. No, this does not translate better what the Bible teaches in the first chapter of John. And our Church “jargon” well much of it comes from the Bible. If people aren’t familiar with it there is a way of getting familiar with it. It’s called going to church, and reading the Bible. The two go hand in hand.
    Also, Michael B. Messiah doesn’t appear in the Old Testament. You are right. Of course many have known this for a long time. It does not mean that the “Messiah” was not expected. The Old Testament ends four hundred years before the New Testament begins. It ends basically with the end of the exile. After that you have the aprocypha, and the beginning of the Talmud etc. There was a lot of theological discussion going on, during which time the term Messiah came in as an all encompassing term used to describe those other New Testament terms interchangeable with Messiah, like “the son of David” or “the one who comes in the Name of the Lord.” The term messiah then is somewhat akin to the term trinity, or Triune God, you don’t find these terms in the New Testament, but that doesn’t mean the doctrines for which these terms are shorthand are not taught there. historical evidence even outside of the gospels, which are themselves historical evidence par excellance, show that whether or not the Old Testament uses the term Messiah, the Jews were expecting one.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Our culture is screwed. No, this does not translate better what the Bible teaches in the first chapter of John. And our Church “jargon” well much of it comes from the Bible. If people aren’t familiar with it there is a way of getting familiar with it. It’s called going to church, and reading the Bible. The two go hand in hand.
    Also, Michael B. Messiah doesn’t appear in the Old Testament. You are right. Of course many have known this for a long time. It does not mean that the “Messiah” was not expected. The Old Testament ends four hundred years before the New Testament begins. It ends basically with the end of the exile. After that you have the aprocypha, and the beginning of the Talmud etc. There was a lot of theological discussion going on, during which time the term Messiah came in as an all encompassing term used to describe those other New Testament terms interchangeable with Messiah, like “the son of David” or “the one who comes in the Name of the Lord.” The term messiah then is somewhat akin to the term trinity, or Triune God, you don’t find these terms in the New Testament, but that doesn’t mean the doctrines for which these terms are shorthand are not taught there. historical evidence even outside of the gospels, which are themselves historical evidence par excellance, show that whether or not the Old Testament uses the term Messiah, the Jews were expecting one.

  • Bob

    Wasn’t Luther the one who said, “The church is a mouth house, not a pen house”? I also recall Luther talking about God’s ‘voice’ in the Garden.

    I’m not saying there aren’t theological issues here, from what little I’ve read. But is it maybe a good thing if it keeps us from treating the Bible like it’s a paper pope? I think this translation is intriguing.

  • Bob

    Wasn’t Luther the one who said, “The church is a mouth house, not a pen house”? I also recall Luther talking about God’s ‘voice’ in the Garden.

    I’m not saying there aren’t theological issues here, from what little I’ve read. But is it maybe a good thing if it keeps us from treating the Bible like it’s a paper pope? I think this translation is intriguing.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    If the name of Jesus doesn’t appear in this book…then it is ‘the voice’ of the Devil.

    __

    I do agree with Bob that the Bible ought not be a paper pope.

    But, for believers, the Bible is all about the person of Christ Jesus and what He has done, is doing, and will yet do for us.

    If people are offended by that name…so be it.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    If the name of Jesus doesn’t appear in this book…then it is ‘the voice’ of the Devil.

    __

    I do agree with Bob that the Bible ought not be a paper pope.

    But, for believers, the Bible is all about the person of Christ Jesus and what He has done, is doing, and will yet do for us.

    If people are offended by that name…so be it.

  • Joanne

    I’ve often tried to clarify Bible discussions by translating the words that have not been translated. By long tradition it has become customary not to translate from the Greek certain terms and words. Why? I haven’t looked at this translation and it seems to be way more than just a matter of finally completing the translation.

    Jesus – Joshua – Savior
    Christ – Anointed One
    Jesus Christ – Anointed Savior
    angels – messengers
    magi – astrologers
    apostles – those sent out
    martyr – witness
    bishop – episkopos – overseer
    presbyters – priests – elders
    deacons – waiters (on tables)
    sacraments – mysteries (still Greek, but has been borrowed whole by English)

    There are enough specifically religious words in the Bible that we have to teach and learn. It should be a no brainer to simply translate the Greek terms into English where we haven’t yet done it. I know that translation of the bible is very, very complex, but I maintain that we have not translated enough of the terms and that was like always translating Jacobean English into modern English, it just got in the way of a quick and easy understanding.

  • Joanne

    I’ve often tried to clarify Bible discussions by translating the words that have not been translated. By long tradition it has become customary not to translate from the Greek certain terms and words. Why? I haven’t looked at this translation and it seems to be way more than just a matter of finally completing the translation.

    Jesus – Joshua – Savior
    Christ – Anointed One
    Jesus Christ – Anointed Savior
    angels – messengers
    magi – astrologers
    apostles – those sent out
    martyr – witness
    bishop – episkopos – overseer
    presbyters – priests – elders
    deacons – waiters (on tables)
    sacraments – mysteries (still Greek, but has been borrowed whole by English)

    There are enough specifically religious words in the Bible that we have to teach and learn. It should be a no brainer to simply translate the Greek terms into English where we haven’t yet done it. I know that translation of the bible is very, very complex, but I maintain that we have not translated enough of the terms and that was like always translating Jacobean English into modern English, it just got in the way of a quick and easy understanding.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Full disclosure: I’ve had relatives who attended Houston Baptist, and members of my extended family know David Capes, though that only came to light once you posted this article.

    That said, without necessarily defending this particular translation, I continue to be baffled by many Christians’ negative reactions to translations that try to speak to non-Christians or Christians unlike themselves.

    This article is something of a hatchet job. Consider:

    The name Jesus Christ doesn’t appear in The Voice, a new translation of the Bible.

    In the interest of crafting an eye-catching lede, they have apparently distorted the truth. Note how Steve (@4), and doubtless many other readers, interpret this opening sentence to mean that this translation doesn’t contain Jesus’ name in it.

    But that’s false. The basis of that highly misleading statement is that the transliterated Greek word “Christ” isn’t found in this translation (as the article notes). Which, frankly, makes sense to me. I’d be willing to bet that most Christians don’t know what “Christ” means, either. Translating it as “Jesus the Anointed One” at least teaches people that much (although it then prompts the question of what it means to be anointed, but that’s language for you).

    And it also seems fine to me that the translation avoids other transliterated Greek terms like “angel”. Again, ask the average person what an angel is, and you’ll likely get a ridiculous description about a woman with flowing hair, wings, and probably playing a harp. But, again, “angel” means “messenger”, so why not translate it that way?

    I’m not saying that every translation should do this. But nor do I see a case for the argument that no translation should do this, either. The point of a translation is to make foreign text clear to people. It’s not difficult to argue, based on modern American understanding of simple biblical concepts, that for many, many people, the foreign text has not been made clear to them. Ultimately, this is a problem of faith, but let’s not stubbornly stick to whatever translation we’re used to and thereby deny other people a better understanding.

    Which, again, isn’t to say I endorse this entire project. My comments are limited strictly to the examples I gave.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Full disclosure: I’ve had relatives who attended Houston Baptist, and members of my extended family know David Capes, though that only came to light once you posted this article.

    That said, without necessarily defending this particular translation, I continue to be baffled by many Christians’ negative reactions to translations that try to speak to non-Christians or Christians unlike themselves.

    This article is something of a hatchet job. Consider:

    The name Jesus Christ doesn’t appear in The Voice, a new translation of the Bible.

    In the interest of crafting an eye-catching lede, they have apparently distorted the truth. Note how Steve (@4), and doubtless many other readers, interpret this opening sentence to mean that this translation doesn’t contain Jesus’ name in it.

    But that’s false. The basis of that highly misleading statement is that the transliterated Greek word “Christ” isn’t found in this translation (as the article notes). Which, frankly, makes sense to me. I’d be willing to bet that most Christians don’t know what “Christ” means, either. Translating it as “Jesus the Anointed One” at least teaches people that much (although it then prompts the question of what it means to be anointed, but that’s language for you).

    And it also seems fine to me that the translation avoids other transliterated Greek terms like “angel”. Again, ask the average person what an angel is, and you’ll likely get a ridiculous description about a woman with flowing hair, wings, and probably playing a harp. But, again, “angel” means “messenger”, so why not translate it that way?

    I’m not saying that every translation should do this. But nor do I see a case for the argument that no translation should do this, either. The point of a translation is to make foreign text clear to people. It’s not difficult to argue, based on modern American understanding of simple biblical concepts, that for many, many people, the foreign text has not been made clear to them. Ultimately, this is a problem of faith, but let’s not stubbornly stick to whatever translation we’re used to and thereby deny other people a better understanding.

    Which, again, isn’t to say I endorse this entire project. My comments are limited strictly to the examples I gave.

  • formerly just steve

    I thought the beginning was American Idol. The Voice is just a gimmicky knockoff.

  • formerly just steve

    I thought the beginning was American Idol. The Voice is just a gimmicky knockoff.

  • Joanne

    A fer instance:

    If it is obvious to all that deacons are those who deal with serving food at tables (Steven giving food to widows), then we could understand the role of the deacon practically by instinct.

    Then we know to involve tables and food (works of mercy) in the role of the deacon/deconesses.

    Lay deacon/nesses will be those in the church busy with collecting, preparing, and dispersing food (clothing, visits to prisons to bring food and clothing). They set up the parish hall for the big church suppers and make all the arrangements for the food and distribution. They make sure that the shut-ins and the sick are brought plates of food from the church suppers. The widows and orphans of the congregation will be fed, clothed, and housed by the efforts of the lay deacons.

    Clerical Deacons will be those in the church who serve at the table of the altar and have all prepared for the distribution of the Lord’s body and blood. They would be like the wedding director for the whole church service, all the church services. An acolyte doesn’t show up, where’s the Altar Deacon? He sets the table of the Lord with precious clothes, he handles the leftover elements in a respectful and God pleasing way. He trains and supervises the acolytes and all the boys who serve at the altar. During the service, he is the Pastor’s right hand.

    The Deacons serve at table, they get food to people.

  • Joanne

    A fer instance:

    If it is obvious to all that deacons are those who deal with serving food at tables (Steven giving food to widows), then we could understand the role of the deacon practically by instinct.

    Then we know to involve tables and food (works of mercy) in the role of the deacon/deconesses.

    Lay deacon/nesses will be those in the church busy with collecting, preparing, and dispersing food (clothing, visits to prisons to bring food and clothing). They set up the parish hall for the big church suppers and make all the arrangements for the food and distribution. They make sure that the shut-ins and the sick are brought plates of food from the church suppers. The widows and orphans of the congregation will be fed, clothed, and housed by the efforts of the lay deacons.

    Clerical Deacons will be those in the church who serve at the table of the altar and have all prepared for the distribution of the Lord’s body and blood. They would be like the wedding director for the whole church service, all the church services. An acolyte doesn’t show up, where’s the Altar Deacon? He sets the table of the Lord with precious clothes, he handles the leftover elements in a respectful and God pleasing way. He trains and supervises the acolytes and all the boys who serve at the altar. During the service, he is the Pastor’s right hand.

    The Deacons serve at table, they get food to people.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    The well is kinda poisoned for me with statements like, “They think that Jesus is his first name and Christ is his last name,” says Capes, who teaches the New Testament at Houston Baptist University in Texas.

    Yeah…I’ve never met anyone who thinks that. As for the translation of logos, I’m no Greek scholar, but I did take six college/graduate level courses in Koine, and there is no evidence anywhere that it means voice. In fact, I was so curious I just opened up my Logos library and skimmed a dozen books on the subject. I didn’t come across a single reference to logos as voice. Not sure what is going on here.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    The well is kinda poisoned for me with statements like, “They think that Jesus is his first name and Christ is his last name,” says Capes, who teaches the New Testament at Houston Baptist University in Texas.

    Yeah…I’ve never met anyone who thinks that. As for the translation of logos, I’m no Greek scholar, but I did take six college/graduate level courses in Koine, and there is no evidence anywhere that it means voice. In fact, I was so curious I just opened up my Logos library and skimmed a dozen books on the subject. I didn’t come across a single reference to logos as voice. Not sure what is going on here.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Isn’t the name “The Voice” copyrighted? When I first saw this I thought it was a spinoff of the reality tv show.777777777

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Isn’t the name “The Voice” copyrighted? When I first saw this I thought it was a spinoff of the reality tv show.777777777

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    oops. Sorry MMO mouse pushed up against keyboard as I was pushing submit.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    oops. Sorry MMO mouse pushed up against keyboard as I was pushing submit.

  • Tom Hering

    In the website video titled Who is The Voice for?, David Morgan of Bryan College explains how this translation is intended for two kinds of readers.

    [1.] … someone who doesn’t have a lot of context and background in Christian faith …

    Okay, good.

    [2.] … the individuals who maybe have grown up in a church tradition that for them was very vapid of theological and emotional worthiness and quality …

    What the heck does that mean??

  • Tom Hering

    In the website video titled Who is The Voice for?, David Morgan of Bryan College explains how this translation is intended for two kinds of readers.

    [1.] … someone who doesn’t have a lot of context and background in Christian faith …

    Okay, good.

    [2.] … the individuals who maybe have grown up in a church tradition that for them was very vapid of theological and emotional worthiness and quality …

    What the heck does that mean??

  • Joanne

    I’m still thinking about the deacon/waiter thing.
    Would we say that our current deaconesses are waitresses (the greatest in the Kingdom are those who do service)?
    Would we have an Administrative Waitress as our professional deaconess? A Chief Waiter as our head of the lay deacons in our congregation? Would the synod develop certification programs for lay Waiters who want to serve, but parttime, and not professionally as the Ad Waitresses do? Would you only have a chief waiter if you didn’t have a professional Ad Waitress at your congregation?

    Would we use our vicars as Clerical Waiters and give them seminary credits for a year of learning praxis and then getting it right? And/Or would we develop a BA level degree at the Concordias for Clerical Waiters? Or both?

    Waiter/Waitress are not terms of leadership or power; they are terms of service, and just using the Greek word for waiter indicates that we want a title that sounds grander, like when an eye doctor wants to be called an ophthalmologist. Means the same thing, but it’s got the foreign pizzaz going for it. But among you it shall not be so. You will be servants.

  • Joanne

    I’m still thinking about the deacon/waiter thing.
    Would we say that our current deaconesses are waitresses (the greatest in the Kingdom are those who do service)?
    Would we have an Administrative Waitress as our professional deaconess? A Chief Waiter as our head of the lay deacons in our congregation? Would the synod develop certification programs for lay Waiters who want to serve, but parttime, and not professionally as the Ad Waitresses do? Would you only have a chief waiter if you didn’t have a professional Ad Waitress at your congregation?

    Would we use our vicars as Clerical Waiters and give them seminary credits for a year of learning praxis and then getting it right? And/Or would we develop a BA level degree at the Concordias for Clerical Waiters? Or both?

    Waiter/Waitress are not terms of leadership or power; they are terms of service, and just using the Greek word for waiter indicates that we want a title that sounds grander, like when an eye doctor wants to be called an ophthalmologist. Means the same thing, but it’s got the foreign pizzaz going for it. But among you it shall not be so. You will be servants.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    tODD,
    It’s not that I fault people for trying to make the Bible readable, I just thin the ESV has done that while maintaining some integrity. Perhaps I’m not the one to be talking to in all that though. I find that things I understand are not always understood by others. But then I have always thought that was part of reading the Bible, that perhaps God’s word being what it is ought to challenge a person a bit. And then there is the fact that many such efforts have been done before, and when they are done dumbing it down you have something easy to read but you are left wondering if it is still God’s word. The more free a person feels to change wording, and use wording more understandable for his target audience the more you have a tendency toward translator bias, which is already bad enough with English translations, the more God’s word is altered to the point where it no longer says what God wanted it to say but what the translator wanted it to say. That is more or less why I am weary of this.
    There are better ways of bridging the problem these types of translations try to address.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    tODD,
    It’s not that I fault people for trying to make the Bible readable, I just thin the ESV has done that while maintaining some integrity. Perhaps I’m not the one to be talking to in all that though. I find that things I understand are not always understood by others. But then I have always thought that was part of reading the Bible, that perhaps God’s word being what it is ought to challenge a person a bit. And then there is the fact that many such efforts have been done before, and when they are done dumbing it down you have something easy to read but you are left wondering if it is still God’s word. The more free a person feels to change wording, and use wording more understandable for his target audience the more you have a tendency toward translator bias, which is already bad enough with English translations, the more God’s word is altered to the point where it no longer says what God wanted it to say but what the translator wanted it to say. That is more or less why I am weary of this.
    There are better ways of bridging the problem these types of translations try to address.

  • Grace

    It should be noted, Brian McLaren is one of the head leaders of the Emergent Church. That may answer many questions regarding the Voice.

    A distortion of God’s Word
    Emergent church leaders such a Brian McLaren and Chris Seay in conjunction with a pack of poets, songwriters and storytellers have just released a new “translation” of the Bible that they claim is a “fresh expression of the timeless narrative known as the Bible”.

    The name of this fresh “translation” is The Voice and it claims to be a dynamic translation of the Bible.

    Unfortunately, not since the release of the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ New World Translation of the Greek Scriptures in 1950 has there been a bible published that so ” in order to support a peculiar and aberrant theological agenda.

    Chris Rosebrough, Review of The Voice New Testament

    http://www.apologeticsindex.org/767-the-voice-distortion-of-gods-word

  • Grace

    It should be noted, Brian McLaren is one of the head leaders of the Emergent Church. That may answer many questions regarding the Voice.

    A distortion of God’s Word
    Emergent church leaders such a Brian McLaren and Chris Seay in conjunction with a pack of poets, songwriters and storytellers have just released a new “translation” of the Bible that they claim is a “fresh expression of the timeless narrative known as the Bible”.

    The name of this fresh “translation” is The Voice and it claims to be a dynamic translation of the Bible.

    Unfortunately, not since the release of the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ New World Translation of the Greek Scriptures in 1950 has there been a bible published that so ” in order to support a peculiar and aberrant theological agenda.

    Chris Rosebrough, Review of The Voice New Testament

    http://www.apologeticsindex.org/767-the-voice-distortion-of-gods-word

  • Gary

    Interesting. Without having seen one, my anticipation is reading the actual translation will disappoint. I have been repeatedly let down by lame “relevant” translations, so now I’m conditioned to expect more of the same. Nevertheless, based on what has been described:

    On the minus side: “Voice” is not a a good way to translate Logos at all. “Word” works for me, not just because that’s the traditional way it’s normally been rendered, but because it conveys _one_ accurate aspect of it’s meaning. I read some years back a very persuasive essay (that I can’t cite now, sorry) on why it would be better rendered “Reason,” but that would probably lead to a thread of it’s own. Also on the minus side, “waiter” is horrid. I can’t express how much it would irritate me and (I think) mislead a new Christian.

    On the plus side: Instead of Jesus Christ, Jesus “the Anointed One” is very good. I would happily endorse this translation. Also, I approve of translating “angelos” as “messenger.”

    Tom (@ 12) asks what the heck it means (point 2). It means, in essence, catering to Believers who are disenchanted with Christian Orthodoxy. Or so it seems to me.

  • Gary

    Interesting. Without having seen one, my anticipation is reading the actual translation will disappoint. I have been repeatedly let down by lame “relevant” translations, so now I’m conditioned to expect more of the same. Nevertheless, based on what has been described:

    On the minus side: “Voice” is not a a good way to translate Logos at all. “Word” works for me, not just because that’s the traditional way it’s normally been rendered, but because it conveys _one_ accurate aspect of it’s meaning. I read some years back a very persuasive essay (that I can’t cite now, sorry) on why it would be better rendered “Reason,” but that would probably lead to a thread of it’s own. Also on the minus side, “waiter” is horrid. I can’t express how much it would irritate me and (I think) mislead a new Christian.

    On the plus side: Instead of Jesus Christ, Jesus “the Anointed One” is very good. I would happily endorse this translation. Also, I approve of translating “angelos” as “messenger.”

    Tom (@ 12) asks what the heck it means (point 2). It means, in essence, catering to Believers who are disenchanted with Christian Orthodoxy. Or so it seems to me.

  • trotk

    Gary alludes to this, but let me say it directly. Some words can be translated, because the translation means the same as the full original meaning and usage (like episkopos or presbyter, which our English words overseer and elder nicely represent).
    Some words shouldn’t be translated, because we don’t have a word that fully catches all of the meaning and usage. Sometimes this isn’t that big of an issue, because the word isn’t that important (like magi, which is far more than astrologer, but not that important of a word in the Bible). Sometimes this is moderately important, because the word is more important (like diakonos or angelos, which waiter and messenger don’t even come close to fully representing when you consider both literal meaning and usage in the NT).
    And sometimes this is really important, because the word matters so much (like logos, which I believe should be transliterated rather than translated, because it is word, reason, account, voice, command, etc – all wrapped together). I would rather drive someone to a Biblical dictionary or pastor than cheapen the depth and meaning of an important word in the Bible.

  • trotk

    Gary alludes to this, but let me say it directly. Some words can be translated, because the translation means the same as the full original meaning and usage (like episkopos or presbyter, which our English words overseer and elder nicely represent).
    Some words shouldn’t be translated, because we don’t have a word that fully catches all of the meaning and usage. Sometimes this isn’t that big of an issue, because the word isn’t that important (like magi, which is far more than astrologer, but not that important of a word in the Bible). Sometimes this is moderately important, because the word is more important (like diakonos or angelos, which waiter and messenger don’t even come close to fully representing when you consider both literal meaning and usage in the NT).
    And sometimes this is really important, because the word matters so much (like logos, which I believe should be transliterated rather than translated, because it is word, reason, account, voice, command, etc – all wrapped together). I would rather drive someone to a Biblical dictionary or pastor than cheapen the depth and meaning of an important word in the Bible.

  • Bob

    I like this.

    It will be trashed in about 2 days or less in the fundagelical and other right-wing Christian community.

  • Bob

    I like this.

    It will be trashed in about 2 days or less in the fundagelical and other right-wing Christian community.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    There are a lot of translations and paraphrases out there. I would be more welcoming of new paraphrases if I didn’t have to worry that someone would use it as their only Bible. I think many people don’t have much of an idea of what assumptions they should make when they pick up a translation as to what the original said. Are quotation marks a good idea? How about other punctuation marks? A new paraphrase can bring up some good questions. I just hope people don’t start arguing doctrine from a paraphrase like this. “The Bible says right here that…” I’ve run into enough trouble with the NIV that way.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    There are a lot of translations and paraphrases out there. I would be more welcoming of new paraphrases if I didn’t have to worry that someone would use it as their only Bible. I think many people don’t have much of an idea of what assumptions they should make when they pick up a translation as to what the original said. Are quotation marks a good idea? How about other punctuation marks? A new paraphrase can bring up some good questions. I just hope people don’t start arguing doctrine from a paraphrase like this. “The Bible says right here that…” I’ve run into enough trouble with the NIV that way.

  • formerly just steve

    Bob, #18, is that why you like it?

  • formerly just steve

    Bob, #18, is that why you like it?

  • Joanne

    Still running with the waiter idea. Have you noticed that in churches that have deacons that they don’t do anything like waiting on tables and feeding people. The word “deacon” is meaningless in English, so you can make the office anything you want it to be.
    I’d say there’s been a whopping bunch of mission creep on the deacon thing. And that’s my argument for calling the office by it’s English name, Waiter or Waitress so that every time one uses your title, it reminds you of what your mission is. I’m supposed to be waiting on and feeding people, am I doing that? Church waiters do the works of mercy.
    So perhaps we might say Mercy Waiter, or Mercy Waitress. The clerical deacon could be termed as Altar Waiter (he who waits upon the altar). We do need people to know that our work is divine and a basic function of the church. I may have some mission creep, I may be partially a Mercy Waiter and the president of the congregation, I may have a Phd, but my title tells you what I should be doing, just what St. Steven and the seven did for widows and orphans. Then if you should become the object of a stoning, repeat from memory, St. Stephen’s witness.
    I think that Stephen’s witness speech should be learned by heart by every waiter/deacon and become the anthem of their office. I know how long it is. Our mercy martyrs walking together to feed me when I was poor, to clothe me when I was naked, and to visit me when I was in prison (nursing homes would fit that bill in my mind).
    If someone should still mistake a Mercy Waiter for someone of authority, wash their feet and set them straight. “I am a servant of the church, are you hungry?”

  • Joanne

    Still running with the waiter idea. Have you noticed that in churches that have deacons that they don’t do anything like waiting on tables and feeding people. The word “deacon” is meaningless in English, so you can make the office anything you want it to be.
    I’d say there’s been a whopping bunch of mission creep on the deacon thing. And that’s my argument for calling the office by it’s English name, Waiter or Waitress so that every time one uses your title, it reminds you of what your mission is. I’m supposed to be waiting on and feeding people, am I doing that? Church waiters do the works of mercy.
    So perhaps we might say Mercy Waiter, or Mercy Waitress. The clerical deacon could be termed as Altar Waiter (he who waits upon the altar). We do need people to know that our work is divine and a basic function of the church. I may have some mission creep, I may be partially a Mercy Waiter and the president of the congregation, I may have a Phd, but my title tells you what I should be doing, just what St. Steven and the seven did for widows and orphans. Then if you should become the object of a stoning, repeat from memory, St. Stephen’s witness.
    I think that Stephen’s witness speech should be learned by heart by every waiter/deacon and become the anthem of their office. I know how long it is. Our mercy martyrs walking together to feed me when I was poor, to clothe me when I was naked, and to visit me when I was in prison (nursing homes would fit that bill in my mind).
    If someone should still mistake a Mercy Waiter for someone of authority, wash their feet and set them straight. “I am a servant of the church, are you hungry?”

  • Grace

    Joanne @ 21

    Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.
    1 Timothy 3:12

    Deacons – Strong’s Greek
    diakonos – dee-ak’-on-os

    an attendant, i.e. (genitive case) a waiter (at table or in other menial duties); specially, a Christian teacher and pastor (technically, a deacon or deaconess):–deacon, minister, servant.

    Joanne, I hope this proves helpful to you.

  • Grace

    Joanne @ 21

    Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.
    1 Timothy 3:12

    Deacons – Strong’s Greek
    diakonos – dee-ak’-on-os

    an attendant, i.e. (genitive case) a waiter (at table or in other menial duties); specially, a Christian teacher and pastor (technically, a deacon or deaconess):–deacon, minister, servant.

    Joanne, I hope this proves helpful to you.

  • Joanne

    Thank you Grace. I need the help.

  • Joanne

    Thank you Grace. I need the help.

  • Grace

    Joanne,

    I found the definition in Greek interesting, I had never looked it up before. I’m glad you brought it to our attention.

  • Grace

    Joanne,

    I found the definition in Greek interesting, I had never looked it up before. I’m glad you brought it to our attention.

  • Joanne

    When you speak of someone’s voice, you talk about the sound of their speaking, singing, chanting, humming, etc. La la la la la , he has a very deep voice. You talk about the quality of the sound of the voice apart from any meaning about what is being said, sung, or chanted.
    I don’t think that St. John is talking about the sound or quality of God’s voice. I think he is saying that Jesus is the spoken-word message of God, that means things. He’s the person of God that talks and communicates with us and always has been, even from the Garden of Eden. He’s the person of God who walked in the Garden and spoke with Adam and Eve. I don’t think John is telling us anything about his voice, not whether it’s a small quiet word, or a deep bass word, or a warm avuncular voice. No, nothing about the voice, but John’s focus is on the message the Word of God gives to us, and in particular, this Word of God in the Gospel of St. John.

  • Joanne

    When you speak of someone’s voice, you talk about the sound of their speaking, singing, chanting, humming, etc. La la la la la , he has a very deep voice. You talk about the quality of the sound of the voice apart from any meaning about what is being said, sung, or chanted.
    I don’t think that St. John is talking about the sound or quality of God’s voice. I think he is saying that Jesus is the spoken-word message of God, that means things. He’s the person of God that talks and communicates with us and always has been, even from the Garden of Eden. He’s the person of God who walked in the Garden and spoke with Adam and Eve. I don’t think John is telling us anything about his voice, not whether it’s a small quiet word, or a deep bass word, or a warm avuncular voice. No, nothing about the voice, but John’s focus is on the message the Word of God gives to us, and in particular, this Word of God in the Gospel of St. John.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Well, the more I look into this, the more it seems that the two specific translations I praised (@6) — “Jesus the Anointed One” and “messenger” — are perhaps the best features of this new Bible.

    The article that Grace (indirectly) linked to (@15: Grace approving of Lutheran critiques! Can you imagine! I’m sure she didn’t know), among others, convinced me that this translation has real issues. That was pretty quick. The Voice seems to be sort of a hybrid Bible/commentary, unfortunately, and, even more unfortunately, it interleaves its commentary with the Biblical text — and doesn’t even always alert you to when it’s done that! Oof.

    Bror said (@14):

    But then I have always thought that was part of reading the Bible, that perhaps God’s word being what it is ought to challenge a person a bit.

    Careful there. Now, I appreciate that, as a pastor, you truly delight in reading God’s Word and always finding new and deep insights in it. It is a challenge you enjoy tackling. But let’s not forget that the Bible is God coming to us, not us struggling to get to God. I know you know that. But you can see how that thought, extended out, could become problematic. There is no purification in overcoming obfuscation, as it were.

    Trotk said (@17):

    I would rather drive someone to a Biblical dictionary or pastor than cheapen the depth and meaning of an important word in the Bible.

    Yeah, but we’re not voting on how all Bibles should read for all people, are we? I mean, why not take this attitude to its logical extension and simply give people Bibles written and Greek and Hebrew? That’s certainly the best way to retain the “depth and meaning”, right? And then we could drive them to a Biblical dictionary to work out what it all means. Except that people don’t speak Greek or Hebrew, so they wouldn’t get much of anything, because it would sound like gibberish to them, and only those very few who really wanted to dive into the text would get anything out of it, while the rest would simply move on.

    My point being: maybe some translations should try to emphasize basic comprehension, while others could strive more for depth and beauty? I mean, I’m not still reading children’s Bibles anymore (except to my children). People move on as they grow up.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Well, the more I look into this, the more it seems that the two specific translations I praised (@6) — “Jesus the Anointed One” and “messenger” — are perhaps the best features of this new Bible.

    The article that Grace (indirectly) linked to (@15: Grace approving of Lutheran critiques! Can you imagine! I’m sure she didn’t know), among others, convinced me that this translation has real issues. That was pretty quick. The Voice seems to be sort of a hybrid Bible/commentary, unfortunately, and, even more unfortunately, it interleaves its commentary with the Biblical text — and doesn’t even always alert you to when it’s done that! Oof.

    Bror said (@14):

    But then I have always thought that was part of reading the Bible, that perhaps God’s word being what it is ought to challenge a person a bit.

    Careful there. Now, I appreciate that, as a pastor, you truly delight in reading God’s Word and always finding new and deep insights in it. It is a challenge you enjoy tackling. But let’s not forget that the Bible is God coming to us, not us struggling to get to God. I know you know that. But you can see how that thought, extended out, could become problematic. There is no purification in overcoming obfuscation, as it were.

    Trotk said (@17):

    I would rather drive someone to a Biblical dictionary or pastor than cheapen the depth and meaning of an important word in the Bible.

    Yeah, but we’re not voting on how all Bibles should read for all people, are we? I mean, why not take this attitude to its logical extension and simply give people Bibles written and Greek and Hebrew? That’s certainly the best way to retain the “depth and meaning”, right? And then we could drive them to a Biblical dictionary to work out what it all means. Except that people don’t speak Greek or Hebrew, so they wouldn’t get much of anything, because it would sound like gibberish to them, and only those very few who really wanted to dive into the text would get anything out of it, while the rest would simply move on.

    My point being: maybe some translations should try to emphasize basic comprehension, while others could strive more for depth and beauty? I mean, I’m not still reading children’s Bibles anymore (except to my children). People move on as they grow up.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Joanne (@25), we’re getting out in the weeds now, but no, people also talk about writers having a “voice”.

    Merriam-Webster’s third definition for “voice” is “an instrument or medium of expression”.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Joanne (@25), we’re getting out in the weeds now, but no, people also talk about writers having a “voice”.

    Merriam-Webster’s third definition for “voice” is “an instrument or medium of expression”.

  • Grace

    Poor tODD,

    I don’t disagree with all Lutheran’s, however I can see why you would be confused.

    It’s a hoot :)) to see you give your un-insightful critiques of those who post here.

  • Grace

    Poor tODD,

    I don’t disagree with all Lutheran’s, however I can see why you would be confused.

    It’s a hoot :)) to see you give your un-insightful critiques of those who post here.

  • Grace

    Bror @ 14

    I’m sorry for not stating earlier, how much I agree with your post. I know we don’t agree too often, but on this YES.

    I have witnessed young children, most ABLE to understand the Word of God, eager to learn.

    There is no reason to “dumb down” the Bible, and use excuses as those who have been involved with The Voice. The fact that those who are involved, are the very leaders of the Emergent Church, doesn’t surprise me, or most other Believers.

  • Grace

    Bror @ 14

    I’m sorry for not stating earlier, how much I agree with your post. I know we don’t agree too often, but on this YES.

    I have witnessed young children, most ABLE to understand the Word of God, eager to learn.

    There is no reason to “dumb down” the Bible, and use excuses as those who have been involved with The Voice. The fact that those who are involved, are the very leaders of the Emergent Church, doesn’t surprise me, or most other Believers.

  • Susan

    If anyone is interested, Issues Etc. had a program yesterday that covers the concerns and problems with The Voice. It pointed out that it is a paraphrase not a translation and addressed the influences that would give a Baptist view of the sacraments and emergent gnosticism.

    http://issuesetc.org/2012/04/17/4-the-new-bible-paraphrase-the-voice-dr-andrew-steinmann-4172012

  • Susan

    If anyone is interested, Issues Etc. had a program yesterday that covers the concerns and problems with The Voice. It pointed out that it is a paraphrase not a translation and addressed the influences that would give a Baptist view of the sacraments and emergent gnosticism.

    http://issuesetc.org/2012/04/17/4-the-new-bible-paraphrase-the-voice-dr-andrew-steinmann-4172012

  • Pingback: Oh come on! Yet another new translation!?

  • Pingback: Oh come on! Yet another new translation!?

  • helen

    Apparently talking about “the Voice”:
    According to Capes, they hoped to come up with something similar to what the King James Version captured, which was translated by William Tyndale. But Tyndale had a far more noble cause,

    “I had perceived by experience, how that it was impossible to establish the lay people in any truth, except the scripture were plainly laid before their eyes in their mother tongue, that they might see the process, order, and meaning of the text.”

    Umm… Tyndale was a source for KJV, but are they saying Tyndale translated KJV?

  • helen

    Apparently talking about “the Voice”:
    According to Capes, they hoped to come up with something similar to what the King James Version captured, which was translated by William Tyndale. But Tyndale had a far more noble cause,

    “I had perceived by experience, how that it was impossible to establish the lay people in any truth, except the scripture were plainly laid before their eyes in their mother tongue, that they might see the process, order, and meaning of the text.”

    Umm… Tyndale was a source for KJV, but are they saying Tyndale translated KJV?

  • Tom Moeller

    I was not Christian. I existed in indifferentism.
    It was not the Bible that brought me to church.
    It was not someone quoting the Bible that influenced me.

    The Holy Spirit worked His saving grace in me by seeing the truth by a Christian life under persecution giving glory to God.

    I now read the Bible for the Word of God as best translated from the original languages. This informs and strengthens my faith.

    A Bible that has the culture and not the sinner as its audience is no Bible. It is just a book.

  • Tom Moeller

    I was not Christian. I existed in indifferentism.
    It was not the Bible that brought me to church.
    It was not someone quoting the Bible that influenced me.

    The Holy Spirit worked His saving grace in me by seeing the truth by a Christian life under persecution giving glory to God.

    I now read the Bible for the Word of God as best translated from the original languages. This informs and strengthens my faith.

    A Bible that has the culture and not the sinner as its audience is no Bible. It is just a book.

  • D’Arcy

    The way they treat the translation of Logos is telling. Logos means the Word, and a huge treasury of patristic writing is dedicated to the meaning of Christ as Logos.

    Using Voice impoverishes the text, while adding nothing. The Voice is just as obscure as The Word, and the changes appears to have been made merely for the sake of making a change – as opposed to lending any light to the issue.

  • D’Arcy

    The way they treat the translation of Logos is telling. Logos means the Word, and a huge treasury of patristic writing is dedicated to the meaning of Christ as Logos.

    Using Voice impoverishes the text, while adding nothing. The Voice is just as obscure as The Word, and the changes appears to have been made merely for the sake of making a change – as opposed to lending any light to the issue.


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