Review — “The Voice” Bible

A while back I wrote a review about how much I loved the “The Voice” translation of the New Testament, so when Booksneeze offered me a free review copy of the now-completed full “The Voice” Bible, I was incredibly excited.

Since I first got The Voice New Testament, it has become my primary versions of those books. When we’ve been reading the epistles in my Sunday School class, I read out of The Voice. An almost-seamless combination of a word-for-word and a thought-for-thought translation, I have never encountered a Bible that does a better job of making the scriptures readable to a modern audience while still maintaining a feeling of literal authenticity. Making The Voice even more amazing is that it not only does an unparalleled job of making the language contemporary, it does while also doing an unparalleled job of working into the text the historic context in which the scriptures would have originally been read. This Bible is very possibly the closest a lay person can come to what it would have been like to read the canon when it was first closed — in contemporary language and with an understanding of the cultural context.

Since I first started reading The Voice New Testament, I couldn’t wait to read the full version. While The Voice does an excellent job of making the epistles more easily accessible, in my opinion, its greatest strength is in how it presents the narrative portions of scripture. While that means the gospels seem newly fresh, narrative storytelling is a minority of the New Testament. It’s far more prevalent in the Old Testament; and this new complete version of the Bible really demonstrates the advantages of The Voice. As with any new translation, deviations from familiar language may be jarring — “In the beginning, God created everything: the heavens above and the earth below. Here’s what happened:” But that’s not necessarily a bad thing — there’s a great benefit to being stripped of knowing the words and having to start actually hearing them and thinking about them again.

And The Voice is a great place to start doing that.

The Voice at

Another Sunday — Sojourn III

This entry is part of my series on my on-going “church journey” that I’ll be documenting as it takes place. You can read about other visits with the “journey” tag.

The Reconciliation of Jacob and Esau, as in Ge...

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I guess there are a couple of different directions I could go with this post about this past Sunday. I could talk about the lesson that I taught the kids at Sojourn. Or I could talk about the experience of teaching the kids.

The lesson was about forgiveness, and was rooted in the story of Jacob and Esau. It started much later in the story than people often do, not with Esau selling Jacob his birthright for a bowl of stew, or with Jacob tricking Isaac to receive his blessing, but with Jacob deciding to return home after fleeing his brother’s wrath. The story was about Esau’s willingness to forgive Jacob, and encouraged kids to have the same attitude of forgiveness.

But I was more intrigued by the part we didn’t talk about. Esau’s apparently short-sightedness, to sell his birthright, to sell his future fortune for a bowl of stew. The curriculum used the term “birthright and blessing.” And as easy as it is to criticize Esau for that, I wonder how often we do that ourselves; how often we exchange a blessing that God has planned for us down the right for something much less in value but much more immediate.

And how many times do we not even have to sell our blessings? How many times do we not even get the benefit of trading them for something of lesser value, because we are afraid to claim them? Because we don’t trust that what God has planned for us is really worth having, and don’t pursue it? Or because we let fear prevent us from accepting his gifts?

That said, throwing a complete monkey wrench in that thought process is this — When Jacob was returning home, he was afraid that Esau was still mad at him, possibly still murderously so. So he sent peace offerings, animals from his herds, in hopes of winning Esau’s favor and forgiveness. When Jacob finally arrived, however, Esau returned the gifts.

Because he didn’t need them.

Esau was doing just fine. Even having sold his birthright and blessing, he had amassed enough on his own that he had no need for his brother’s gifts. Maybe he didn’t have as much as he would have, or maybe he did. But either way, he had enough. And he got the stew. I would love for someone wiser than I to tell me the message we’re supposed to learn from that.

OK, that’s the content part of it. The presentation part? This Sunday was one of the hardest I’ve had in months. The kids had no interest in paying attention. And I don’t entirely know why. I don’t know what I did differently, or what I should have done differently. I know that there was one kid in particular who was so disruptive that he disrupted it for everybody. But I have no idea what I should have done about it. Sigh.

Next week — I think I’m going to be at Southside Baptist. Barring anything changing between now and Sunday. Which is entirely possible.