The new Bible translation The Voice, completed this year after seven years of work, is the result of a unique collaboration among scholars, pastors, authors, poets, musicians, and other artists. The 120-member team strove to translate each word of Scripture into a story that is faithful to the original text, easier to understand today, and yet conveys the beauty and timelessness of Scripture. The Voice is published by Thomas Nelson, Inc., the world’s largest Christian publisher.
The team describes its approach as “dynamic translation,” which attempts to capture the singular literary quality of each book of the Bible. This sets The Voice apart from the numerous versions of Scripture available today.
The Voice does not try to shoehorn the magnificent diversity of styles and genres—law, wisdom, poetry, letters, and prophecy, to name a few—found in the Bible into one homogenous whole. “Part of what makes the Bible so significant is that all of these different literary styles are combined in one Scripture,” says Chris Seay, pastor of Ecclesia Church in Houston, and a member of the translation team. “It’s the diversity of the Bible that makes it so beautiful.”
Another innovation is that dialogue is written in screenplay format. Speakers are always identified, with spoken words indented from the rest of the text, so that readers can easily follow the story. The hope of The Voice team is that this will not only help people engage with the biblical narrative, but also encourage them to read it aloud, perhaps with others.
The Voice team combined the complementary strengths of biblical scholars and translators who know the original languages (Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic), with the talents of writers, poets and musicians who are skilled in the English language. Yet The Voice eschews slang or trendy language; rather it seeks to “capture the beauty and brutal honesty of Scripture with timeless and enduring language.”
“The Voice is unlike any other Bible translation available,” says Dr. David Capes, Thomas Nelson research professor at Houston Baptist University and lead scholar on the project.. “Making the Bible more understandable and relevant for today’s Christian while maintaining accuracy from the original Greek and Hebrew biblical texts was the challenge before us. Everyone who worked on the project had the same goal of creating a translation to help share God’s Word.” Chris Seay adds that the entire team felt working on The Voice was “a sacred calling.”
The translation and editorial teams hope The Voice will be a unifying force for the church in a divided age: “Any literary project reflects the age in which it is written. The Voice is created for and by a church in great transition,” the translation team writes in the preface. “Instead of widening the division between culture and theology, it is time to bring the body of Christ together again around the Bible.”
For more information about The Voice and for a free download of the New Testament, please visit www.HearTheVoice.com.
Thomas Nelson, Inc. is the world’s largest Christian publisher. The Company provides multiple formats of Bibles, inspirational books and digital content, with distribution of its products in more than 100 countries. Live Event Management, Inc., a Thomas Nelson company, is the nation’s leading producer of Christian live events. Thomas Nelson is headquartered in Nashville, TN.