Book Review: “The Voice” New Testament

the Voice_large “The Voice” is a scriptural project of the Ecclesia Bible Society. Led by renowned emergent church planter Chris Seay, “Pastor/Lead Elder” at Ecclesia, a “holistic, missional, Christian, community.” The community is very artsy and creative, and so is the “The Voice,” which included the input of artists and musicians.

Billed as a “scripture project to rediscover the story of the Bible”, “The Voice” takes great liberties with the Scriptural text, which did not completely surprise me, especially when one discovers the contributing editors include Brian McLaren and Phyllis Tickle. You might say this is the ‘red-headed step-child’ of The Message.

The book is written like a screenplay, with background information in outlined boxes throughout.

This is not a translation. It does not accurately render the text within the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek documents to the English language. It is, as described in the About section, a “retelling of the Scriptures: The Voice, not of words, but of meaning and experience.” All this , of course, designed to meet the needs of the postmodern culture. In working toward that goal, the editors have written so much into the text that a new believer might find it difficult to distinguish the Words of God from the editors.

The emergent background of it’s editors and contributors, should raise a red flag for anyone familiar with emergent thinking, and that is a primary reason why I believe this to be a dangerous product, particularly in the hands of a new believer.

A few passages should suffice to give you a taste of what to expect:

“The people looked at each other, amazed, because this strange teacher acted as one authorized by God, and what He taught affected them in ways their own scribes’ teaching could not.” (Mark 1:22, The Voice)

Before time itself was measured, the Voice was speaking. The Voice was and is God. This celestial Voice remained ever present with the Creator” (John 1:1,2 The Voice) [emphasis mine, ed].

Time was not measured because it did not exist. Time, like space and matter, were created.

“Though the Voice utters only truth, His own people, who have heard the Voice before, rebuff this inner calling and refuse to listen.” (John 1:11, The Voice) [emphasis mine, ed.]

Rebuff this inner calling?

The Voice that had been an enigma in the heavens chose to become human and live surrounded by His creations…..Through this man we all receive gifts of grace beyond our imagination. He is the Voice of God.  You see, Moses gave us rules to live by, but Jesus, the Liberating King, offered the gifts of grace and truth which make life worth living.  God, unseen until now, is revealed in the Voice, God’s only Son, straight from the Father’s heart. – John 1:14-18, The Voice)

“Do not be mislead. A lot of people stand to inherit nothing of God’s coming kingdom, including those whose lives are defined by sexual immorality, idolatry, adultery, sexual deviancy, theft, greed, drunkenness, slander, and swindling.” (I Corinthians 6:9,10, The Voice)

If one desires to seriously study God’s Word, I would point you to another Bible, for example, the NASB or ESV. Those Bibles are translations and not “retellings” with super-imposed “meanings” of emergent thinking. The way many texts are rendered in “The Voice” can lead to confusion and misunderstandings if not heretical thinking.

If you would like, you can download a free copy of the “Voice” version of the Gospel of John here.

Not recommended

This book was provided for review, without cost, from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program.

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