The Voice – History
The Voice is a dynamic equivalence English translation of the Old and New Testaments. It was produced by the Ecclesia Bible Society and released in 2012 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
The Voice – Translation Method
The Voice was produced through an unusual translation process—along with Bible and language scholars, many artists, writers, and musicians helped determine the final text. The Voice attempts to translate the poetry, humor, and beauty of the Bible’s passages to produce an effect similar to what one would experience reading in the original languages. In presenting the text as a literary-style story, the publishers have chosen a “screenplay style” format. Instead of saying, “And Jesus said unto them,” the text uses a script-like presentation to indicate who is talking. Breakout sections in another color are used for descriptions of events and other narration.
The Voice – Pros and Cons
As a dynamic equivalence translation, the focus of The Voice is to communicate the overall meaning of each passage rather than the specific meaning of each word. Because Greek and especially Hebrew are so different from English, this system creates more readable translations. Other dynamic-equivalent translations include the CEV, NLT, and GNB. However, The Voice takes dynamic equivalence a step further with its use of Christian artists in translating less quantifiable elements such as humor and poetry.
For instance, consider this familiar passage from Psalm 23: “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake” (KJV). The Voice puts it like this: “He provides me rest in rich, green fields beside streams of refreshing water. He soothes my fears; He makes me whole again, steering me off worn, hard paths to roads where truth and righteousness echo His name.”
As with every translation, The Voice makes editorial choices that differentiate itself from other translations. For instance, when referring to the triune God, “Eternal One” is used. The publishers explain that this is the closest they could come to translating the tetragrammaton, YHWH, the covenant name God revealed to Israel. Similarly, when translating the Greek Christos, instead of using the familiar transliteration, Christ, The Voice chose to put its actual meaning, “Anointed One.”
As with any dynamic equivalence translation, The Voice is not designed for a literal, word-by-word study, but it may be useful for dramatic readings or getting a feel for the overall message of God’s Word.
The Voice – Sample Verses:
John 1:1, 14, “Before time itself was measured, the Voice was speaking. The Voice was and is God. . . . The Voice took on flesh and became human and chose to live alongside us. We have seen Him, enveloped in undeniable splendor—the one true Son of the Father—evidenced in the perfect balance of grace and truth.”
John 3:16, “For God expressed His love for the world in this way: He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not face everlasting destruction, but will have everlasting life.”
John 8:58, “Jesus: I tell you the truth; I AM before Abraham was born.”
Ephesians 2:8–9, “For it’s by God’s grace that you have been saved. You receive it through faith. It was not our plan or our effort. It is God’s gift, pure and simple. You didn’t earn it, not one of us did, so don’t go around bragging that you must have done something amazing.”
Titus 2:13, “Watch for His return; expect the blessed hope we all will share when our great God and Savior, Jesus the Anointed, appears again.”