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Go Outside

David Capes - June 10, 2016
When was the last time you stood before God or his creation and expressed praise and thanksgiving.  I'm not talking a mild-manner "thanksgiving," but a full-throated, full-bodied, from the sole of your foot to the top of your head praise for the beauty and goodness of God's creation. These may not be everyday moments, but they can be regular moments if we will do what the author of Psalm 8 suggests. Read More

The Ascension

David Capes - May 11, 2016
This past weekend was Ascension Sunday in many churches around the world.  The ascension is one of those episodes in the Gospels and New Testament that people seldom preach or comment on.  I wonder why. Read More

From Eleven to Twelve

David Capes - April 19, 2016
With the death of Judas Iscariot, "the Twelve" were now "the Eleven." The rag-tag band of disciples returned to Jerusalem to await the promise of the Holy Spirit, but they needed to add one more to their number.  Out of all his followers Jesus established "the Twelve," a strategic group to be with him and represent a reconstituted people of God.  In the Old Testament, God's people were comprised of twelve tribes but the exile had scattered them to the four winds.  Read More

Between Easter and Pentecost

David Capes - April 13, 2016
We are in that wonderful time between Easter and Pentecost.  Easter is the beginning of the new creation.  Pentecost is the birthday of the church.  I suppose the 50 days between Easter and Pentecost are our gestational period.  Here is how Luke tells the story: Read More

Proof of the Resurrection

David Capes - March 30, 2016
The earliest record we have of Easter doesn't come from the Gospels.  It comes from the letters of Paul.  Here is what Paul said about resurrection day to the Corinthians. Read More

Am I Supposed to Read That Part? 

David Capes - March 3, 2016

Recently in small group one of our number was reading publically from the book of James.  We’ve been in a series on James for several months.  She was reading aloud from The Voice, then paused, turned to look at me and said, “am I supposed to read this part?”

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The Date of Easter

David Capes - February 26, 2016


Because I'm a professor, people often ask me questions about religion.  One of  the questions I get often, this time of year, is about the date of Easter.  This year (2016) most Christians in North America will celebrate Easter early, March 27th.  Orthodox Christians, who follow a different calendar,  will celebrate Easter over a month later on May 1, 2016.  

But Easter can be earlier than it is this year.  

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David Capes - February 10, 2016
We're in a political season in America.  Democrats and Republicans are fighting for the job of President of the United States.  When you listen to the radio, watch TV, or surf the Internet, you are exposed over and over again to words, language, labels meant to whittle people down to size.  James has something to say about that. Read More

Taming the Tongue

David Capes - January 20, 2016

I love going to Cirque de Soleil events.  The music, the lights, the performance, the ability of these acrobats to control their bodies is amazing.  I often find myself holding my breath as these well-trained athletes twist and contort their bodies into postures as if their bones were made of rubber.

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Advent Conspiracy

David Capes - December 7, 2015

Last Sunday was the second Sunday of Advent.  Advent is the season of the year set aside to prepare our hearts and minds for the beauty and reality of the incarnation. In Jesus God has put on flesh.

A few years ago a number of pastors got together to think through how to make Christmas more meaningful.  They had become dissatisfied with various aspects of the season: the consumerism, the credit card debt, obligatory gift-giving, and the distractions from the true purposes of the holiday.  They came up with an idea called Advent Conspiracy.

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A Key to Happiness

David Capes - November 27, 2015
There are ample studies on happiness that all agree on one thing: a key to happiness is learning to give thanks.  Most people want to be happy, but happiness often alludes them.  One reason is that they seldom reflect on the good things that they do have and often complain about the hard things that come their way.  Over and over psychologists and other social scientists confirm what the Scriptures say: it is good to give thanks. Read More

The Acts of Jesus through the Apostles

David Capes - November 12, 2015

 The names of the biblical books are not original.  Mark didn't call his book "The Gospel of Mark."  Paul didn't call his Roman letter "The Epistle of Paul to the Romans."  The names were added somewhere in the early second century (70-80 years after the books were written) when people began to gather the books together into collections.  "This book is Paul's letter to the Romans," and "this one is Paul's letter to the Philippians."  It's not until you have a collection that you need to name them. 

 The book known as "The Acts of the Apostles" could have a better name.  I propose we rename it "The Acts of Jesus through the Apostles."  Let me tell you why.

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Test or Temptation?

David Capes - November 5, 2015
I'm in a small group at our church, Ecclesia Houston (www.ecclesiahouston.org).  We're working through a book by Ben Stuart, executive director of Breakaway Ministries, a non-denominational weekly Bible study for 10,000 plus college students at Texas A&M University.  The book is a study of the book of James, one of the most neglected books in the New Testament. Read More

At the Corner of

David Capes - October 27, 2015

Last week I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Alan Roxburgh.  He has been a pastor, seminary professor, consultant and thinker.  He has had a number of important books published on “The Missional Church,” though these days he is stepping back from that term because many people want to turn it into yet another church-growth strategy.  He was in town to address a group of church leaders, seminary students and the like at a meeting called ATCO (At the Corner of).  The annual conference is sponsored at the school where I teach, Houston Graduate School of Theology.  As in the past few years it was held at Ecclesia Houston. I hope to have access soon to a podcast of the talks he gave.  When I do, I'll pass them along.  The kind of folks who read THE VOICE will be interested in how he understands what God is up to these days.  

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Reading the Bible

David Capes - October 20, 2015
Since I am a "professional" Christian, people often ask me how they can learn to read Scripture. Read More

The Lost . . . 

David Capes - October 13, 2015

One of the charges leveled against Jesus by opponents was that he was a friend of sinners.  These opponents were the religious types, perhaps hyper-religious, who thought they were OK with God and looked down their noses on most everybody else.  Now by "sinners" these opponents meant big, bad notorious sinners, not the typical Christian response: "I'm a sinner, you're sinner, we're all sinners."  Jesus never denied the charge that he befriended sinners; instead he embraced it.  He said on one occasion, in effect, I came for sinners not for people who think they are in the right (Mark 2:17).  

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Breaking Good

David Capes - October 1, 2015
One of the most watched TV series of the past five years was an AMC production called "Breaking Bad."  Bryan Cranston plays a character named Walter White, a high school teacher who starts cooking meth and turns into a very bad fellow indeed.  Now I have to admit I have never seen an episode, but I've heard from friends how much I have missed.  Jack Wisdom, one of the people who helped us with The Voice translation, has been a big fan of the show.  But now he has turned it around and is talking about "Breaking Good."  He is using that phrase "breaking good" as a way of talking about the notion of repentance.  Jack and Steve Turley have done a series of podcasts which explore this theme.  Check out the first one here  Read More

Letters of Recommendation

David Capes - September 10, 2015

As a professor for the last 25 years I've taught thousands of students.  During that time, it has been common for students to ask me for letters of recommendation.  Whether they are pursuing a particular job or an academic post or attempting to get into grad school somewhere, a standard feature of that process is that for some mentor or professor to write them letters of recommendation.  I've written hundreds for people, I'm sure.  It is part of what you do as a professor. 

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Leaving HBU, Heading to HGST

David Capes - August 28, 2015

After 25 years of teaching in the Department of Theology at HBU, I have made the decision to join the faculty of Houston Graduate School of Theology as their new academic dean.  The decision has been a hard one as you might imagine. 

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Here Comes the Judge

David Capes - August 25, 2015
Today's guest post is offered by Dr. Creig Marlowe, professor of Old Testament at Evangelische Theologische Faculteit in Leuven.  He was one of the scholars who worked on THE VOICE and is a frequent contributor to this blog.

Here Comes the Judge
by Creig Marlowe

A recent post on this site reflected on the question of when, if at all, Christians are to judge the behavior of another person. To be commended in Dr. Capes’ blog, which I assume mirrors his book
Slow to Judge (Thomas Nelson, 2015), and which cannot be repeated enough, is the reminder that this instruction found in Matthew 7 is about church life with fellow believers. Too many Christians continue to rely on gossip and slander rather than lovingly confronting pew mates they feel have hurt them in line with Matt 18:15-20. And again it is probably best to take the 2-3 gathered (v. 20;  cf. the need for 2-3 witnesses) with Jesus’ power and presence are not praying but administering discipline with a view towards restoration not removal. But more to the point, Jesus’ similar words in Luke 6:37-38 are relevant to this discussion and, I am glad to say, are very well rendered in The Voice: Read More

Judge Not . . . Really

David Capes - August 19, 2015
Now that my book SLOW TO JUDGE is out, I'm getting a lot of questions about the time when Jesus said "JUDGE NOT." Read More

The Devil Is Delightful

David Capes - August 11, 2015
Today's guest post comes to us courtesy of Dr. Creig Marlowe, professor of Old Testamant at Evangelische Theologische Faculteit in Leuven, Belgium.  He worked with us on The Voice Bible project and is a frequent blogger on this site.


Now that I have your attention, my purpose is not to promote loyalty to Lucifer. What I do want to expound, however, is a much-needed reminder that encounters with the spiritual Enemy and his entourage are, unexpectedly, delightful rather than disgusting. The traditional depictions of the Devil and demons as irritating impish irregularities have dulled our receptors that alert us to satanic stranger danger. We expect a hellish messenger to be exactly 
that, in form and function. Yet the truth is that, indeed, the Devil does wear Prada. Any agent of doom and darkness, as Paul said in 2 Cor 11:14, “poses as a messenger of heavenly light” (The Voice Bible; 2 Cor 11:14). Despicable he and his minions are cute not contorted, biblical art throughout Church history not withstanding.

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"Parent" Is a Verb

David Capes - August 4, 2015
If you study language long enough, you realize that some nouns are what are called "verbal nouns."  You may think I'm mixing categories—a verb is one thing, a noun is another—but I'm not.  A verb is a word describing some sort of action or a state of being.  A noun designates a person, place, or thing.  Some words are verbs only.  Some words are nouns only.  But there are some that are hybrids: they are verbal nouns, in other words they are nouns which designate or describe some sort of action. Let me give you a few examples. Read More

Lady Wisdom and the Remarkable Woman of Proverbs 31

David Capes - July 29, 2015

Here is a comment and question we received recently from Facebook:

“A friend of mine just introduced me to this version of the Bible. I am thoroughly enjoying reading it and watching the videos you produced. I saw your clip from Proverbs 8 and was blown away. I hoped that your documentary within the words of Proverbs would get two women of Proverbs right and conclude the book in Proverbs 31 with the warning "Don't marry Folly," and the exhortation, "Be married to Wisdom." Instead, even though the entire book of Proverbs personifies Wisdom and Folly as two women that men pursue, you made the final chapter about actual women. When the point - based on the entire book - is to flee from Folly and pursue Wisdom like a bride, and marry her, for she is a most excellent wife. Maybe in the revision?”

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The Faith of Your Friends

David Capes - July 23, 2015
A friend of mine recently announced that he was stepping down as dean of a prominent divinity school in order to battle cancer.  I don't know but I imagine by now he has received hundreds, if not thousands, of emails.  Soon the cards and letters will start pouring in.  There is something about getting a hand-written note from someone. Read More

Slow to Judge

David Capes - July 15, 2015

Last week a book I have been working on for the last two years was published.  I've talked about it before.  It is called SLOW TO JUDGE: Sometimes It's OK to Listen (Thomas Nelson, 2015).  The book draws heavily, though not exclusively, from The Voice Bible.  

The book is about a lot of things, but it is especially about the problem Christians have of being judgmental and being perceived as anti-this and anti-that.  Too often Christians are defined by what they are "against." 

If you are interested in culture and faith, then you will want to track this series.  The first book is already out: How to Pick up a Stripper and Other Acts of Kindness by Todd Stephens.  A second book is out as well: The Reluctant Journey: Fulfilling God's Purpose for You by Richard Leslie Parrott. Read More

What Does It Mean to Love Your Enemies? (Pt 7)

David Capes - July 9, 2015
Over the last month I've posed a vexing question and invited a number of friends to answer it.  It is a question prompted by Jesus' teaching on loving your enemies (Matthew 5:43-48) and praying for those who persecute you.  Today is the final post. It comes from a friend who lives in Europe, Dr. Creig Marlowe.  He teaches at Evangelische Theologische Faculteit in Belgium.  He is an Old Testament specialist and helped us in translating and reviewing many of the books in the Old Testament for The Voice Bible. 

So here again is our question:

What does it mean to love your enemies when your enemies are ISIS and Boko Haram?    Read More

What Does It Mean to Love Your Enemies? (Part 6)

David Capes - July 6, 2015
Over the last month I have invited friends to address a vexing question posed to those of us who take Jesus seriously? 

What Does It Mean to Love Your Enemies When Your Enemies are Boko Haram and ISIS?

The question is based on Jesus' teaching in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:43-48):
\43 You have been taught to love your neighbor and hate your enemy.[a] 44 But I tell you this: love your enemies. Pray for those who torment you and persecute you— 45 in so doing, you become children of your Father in heaven.He, after all, loves each of us—good and evil, kind and cruel. He causes the sun to rise and shine on evil and good alike. He causes the rain to water the fields of the righteous and the fields of the sinner. 46 It is easy to love those who love you—even a tax collector can love those who love him. 47 And it is easy to greet your friends—even outsiders do that! 48 But you are called to something higher: “Be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect.”

Today, a response from Mike Licona. 
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What Does It Mean to Love Your Enemies (part 5)?

David Capes - June 29, 2015
Over the past month I've asked a number of friends to weigh in on a difficult question.

What does it mean to love your enemies when your enemies are ISIS and Boko Haram?

Today's response is from Dr. Peter Davids, a recent convert to Catholicism.  Dr. Davids helped with THE VOICE translation as part of the translation and review team.  He is an internationally acclaimed scholar  of the New Testament,  the author and editor of many books and commentaries.  

Do you agree with  his perspective?  It's kind of radical, but so was Jesus.    Read More

The Tragic Events in Charleston: What Does It Mean to Love Your Enemies? 

David Capes - June 22, 2015
In light of the tragic events in Charleston last week the question we've been considering seems all the more relevant.  A group of faithful Christians gathered in prayer and Bible study at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church last Wednesday evening in Charleston.  They welcomed into their circle a young white man, 21 years old.  They probably thought he was there to find some answers.  But he was there on a mission. Read More

What Does It Mean to Love Your Enemies? (Part 3)

David Capes - June 16, 2015
Over the last few posts I have shared what a few scholars and friends have said to a hard question I was asked recently: 

What does it mean to "love your enemies"--as Jesus taught his followers--when your enemies are ISIS and Boko Haram?  

Today's response is from Ben Witherington.   Read More

What Does It Mean to Love Your Enemies When Your Enemies are ISIS and Boko Haram? (Pt 2)

David Capes - June 14, 2015
Here is a second response I received from a colleague and friend to our question:

What does it mean to "love your enemies" when your enemies are ISIS and Boko Haram?

Dr. Randy Richards, dean of the School of Theology at Palm Beach Atlantic, offers a few thoughts. Read More

What Does It Mean to "Love Your Enemies" When Your Enemies Are ISIS and Boko Haram?

David Capes - June 8, 2015
Last week I posed an extremely difficult question to you and several friends.  The question is this:

What does it mean to "love your enemies" when your enemies are ISIS and Boko Haram? 

From the responses I've received, I can tell that people of faith will disagree on how to answer the question.  No one disagrees however on what Jesus said (Matthew 5:43-45a, The Voice):

You have been taught to love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you this: love your enemies. Pray for those who torment you and persecute you— in so doing, you become children of your Father in heaven.

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What Does It Mean to "Love Your Enemies" When . . .

David Capes - June 3, 2015
Someone asked me a hard question recently so I thought I'd pass it on to you. It is a question worth considering if you take the teachings of Jesus seriously.

  Read More

A Show of Faith

David Capes - May 26, 2015
Some of you may know that for about 13 years now I have co-hosted a weekly radio program in Houston on a secular station, 1070 KNTH The Answer.  It is called "A Show of Faith" and it airs weekly from 7.00 to 9.00 pm (Central).  I co-host along with a priest and a rabbi.  I know . . . I know . . . it sounds like a joke: "A priest, a minister, and a rabbi walked into a radio station . . . "  Read More


David Capes - May 22, 2015
You may already know about this website, but if you don't you will want to know more after you read this! Read More

Scroll to Codex to Digital Books

David Capes - May 12, 2015
Before the birth of the Christian movement, scrolls were the book-form used by most if not all people.  Scrolls, also known as rolls, were pages sewn or glued together end-to-end to create a long roll, sometimes up to 35 feet long.  The Dead Sea Scrolls are probably the best known and most significant collection of ancient scrolls, but rolls continued in use for 500 years after the birth of Jesus, mostly among non-Christian groups.

But what about among Christians? Read More

Chapters and verses (pt. 3)

David Capes - May 5, 2015

In two earlier posts I discussed where the chapters and verses come from in our Bibles and why in some cases The Voice translation deviates from standard practice.  In today's post I want to show you an example of how chapter divisions actually can cause us to miss key moments in the Bible. 

It is not uncommon for people to read their Bibles chapter by chapter, as if the chapters are always the correct way to divide the text.  So today's reading may be Ephesians 1-3 and tomorrow's Ephesians 4-6.  Now if this is your reading, that's not a bad division.  Clearly, if you read carefully through Paul's letter you see that chs 1-3 stand together as a unit and chs 4-6 do the same.  But what if you are reading in Matthew's Gospel and you come to the end of ch. 16; you should not stop reading at the end of ch. 16 or you are going to miss something important.

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Chapters and verses (pt. 2)

David Capes - April 27, 2015

In our last post we noted that chapters and verses were not original to the biblical books.  There were structures in place like acrostics (in Psalms and Lamentations) and there were superscriptions (in Psalms) which clearly indicated breaks but most books of the Bible were written without them.  Chapters and verses were added in the late middle ages to make it easier for people to find a particular passage.  It is much easier to say, "turn to John 3:16" than to say "find the passage where the Scripture talks about God's love for the world leading to everlasting life for all who believe."  

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Chapters and verses

David Capes - April 14, 2015

Two prominent features in modern Bible translations are the chapters and verses.  People often ask me how they got there.  Some think they were there from the beginning but they weren't.  When Paul wrote the book of Romans, he didn't divide it into sixteen chapters.

 One of the things we hoped to do with The Voice project was to help people understand that the Bible is not actually a single book.  It is a veritable library of books, sixty-six in all, written over a period of more than 1000 years.  The current configuration of the Bible didn't just happen.  The order of the books and the collection itself represents a driving theological force which Christians believe was orchestrated by the Holy Spirit.  But what about the chapters and verses?

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Quoting the Scriptures

David Capes - April 7, 2015
A great question came in recently from a person who reads the blog.  Let's call her Melinda.  Here is her question:

First of all, thank you for The Voice translation.  I have been enjoying reading it for my studies this year.Second, thank you for being so accessible through your blog. In doing my reading online, I have easy access to cross-references and am curious.... how come, when I see (for example) a passage of the OT quoted in the NT, is the language not an exact match?  I click on the cross-reference and, way more often than not, I see a very similar verse, but not the exact same wording. I thought perhaps this was something unique to The Voice translation, but I just compared the Joel passage in Acts 2 of NASB to the actual Joel text, and it is also slightly different. Can you please explain? 
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Dieter Zander

David Capes - March 30, 2015
Dieter Zander is a remarkable man, both before and after the debilitating stroke that left him unable to speak, unable to play the piano and sing, and unable to do the work to which he knew God had called.  Now he has a new purpose. Read More

John Remembers

David Capes - March 17, 2015

The first book published as part of The Voice project was The Last Eyewitness: The Final Week (Thomas Nelson/World Publishing 2006).  According to tradition, John the apostle was the last person on the planet to have met and walked with Jesus.  All the rest of the followers of Jesus were long gone.  Some died martyrs' deaths.  Others perhaps lived to the end of their natural lives.  There is much we do not know about what became of some of Jesus' followers.  But John, who had been in the inner circle of Jesus, outlived them all it seems.  And in his old age he passed down to his followers the recollections he had of Jesus.

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Happy or Blessed?

David Capes - March 9, 2015
Today's guest blog comes to us from Dr. Creig Marlowe.  He teaches in Belgium at the Evangelische Theologische Faculteit, Leuven.  Creig was one of the scholars who helped us on THE VOICE translation of the Old Testament.

I recently was looking at Psalm 1. In the first verse some translations say, “Blessed is the man” while others “Happy is the man.” Which is it and why is it only a man?
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Permitted or Not? 

David Capes - March 2, 2015
We had a great comment last time to our "Ash Wednesday" post.  I won't re-post it entirely here but you can read it in the comments to the Ash Wednesday post.  Someone asked a question I've often heard about other Christian practices.  Where in Scripture is the celebration of Ash Wednesday supported? Isn't it wrong to add a practice the Bible doesn't expressly teach? Read More

Ash Wednesday

David Capes - February 16, 2015

Easter is such a profound holy day on the church’s calendar that our spiritual ancestors decided to preface it with a season of preparation marked by prayer, fasting, and spiritual reflection.  So the season of Lent was created to make the transition from more ordinary time to the day of resurrection.


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Jesus: a Clear and Present Danger

David Capes - February 10, 2015
Jesus was a deeply polarizing figure.  People either loved him or they hated him.  They either wanted to follow him to the ends of the earth or do anything in their power to stop him.  Let's do away with the facile notion that Jesus traveled the roads of Galilee urging everyone to love God and love your neighbor.  Oh, he said that but he also said so much more.  You don't crucify a person for declaring that God is love or teaching God wants us to get along.  The center of Jesus' message was the arrival of the Kingdom of God.  In other words, the regime was changing and Jesus would be at its helm.  The people on top, those in charge of what Paul later would call "the present evil age" (Galatians 1:3), would be brought low and those on bottom were about to rise up.  The proud would be humbled.  The humble would be exalted. If you are powerful and in charge and you like it that way, those are fighting words and fight they did.  Read More

Frank Couch

David Capes - January 29, 2015
On December 31, 2014 Frank Couch retired from his position with Thomas Nelson.  Frank was the executive editor for The Voice Bible project.  That tells about 1/10th of the story.  For seven years he ate, drank, and slept the project.  In many ways it seems to me his entire professional career and spiritual life were preparing him to be part of this project.  In The Story of The Voice (Thomas Nelson, 2013) I detailed a few key moments of his own personal story and the contributions Frank and several other key people made to The Voice project (Chris Seay, Greg Garrett, Maleah Bell, Kelly Hall, and Maleah Bell). Read More

The Church Year (#2)

David Capes - January 21, 2015
The church year represents the annual order and rhythm to life.  In the west, we have a secular new year, government holidays, fiscal years, school years.  They impart a certain rhythm to life; but that rhythm carries no meaning beyond itself.  Therefore, the church agrees to function within that secular world finding rhythm in an alternative reality.  Now to be fair, Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant Churches observe different versions of the same calendar.  Read More

Mike Yager

David Capes - January 7, 2015
Mike Yager is an amazing young man.  Though he has many talents, one of his best is his ability to memorize and present Scripture. You might say he is a voice actor. During Advent Mike presented the Scripture during services at Ecclesia Houston, a reading from Isaiah.  I thought you may enjoying hearing him. Here is a link to the audio file: 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/brmbrvi1gxwxj2a/God%20Be%20With%20Us%20%3A%20Come%20Light%20Our%20Hearts.mp3?dl=0  Read More

The Church Year (#1)

David Capes - December 26, 2014
Like a lot of people who grew up in Protestant churches the rhythm of my year was set by public schools.  The year began in September when school came in session.  After weeks of hard slog in math, science, language, reading and recess we had the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.  The year continued when we went back to school for the winter and spring months.  Spring break meant a time of travel for some or a stay-cation for others.  Then we went back to school for the rest of the spring semester.  Somewhere in there was Easter but it moved around a lot.  Then a few more weeks of classes before we came to the summer break.  Blessed relief.  Baseball, biking, sleeping in.  The summer was in full swing and we earned a break. Read More

Xmas: Is it Really Taking Christ out of Christmas? 

David Capes - December 16, 2014
I remember my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Potts, opening a vein when anyone wrote “Xmas” instead of “Christmas.”  She felt there was a war on Christmas--even in those days--and that people who abbreviated the name of the holiday were trying to take Christ out of Christmas.  I suppose that is true for some people, but when you look into the real story of “Xmas” you realize that something else is going on. Read More

The Voice is #2

David Capes - December 10, 2014

A friend just alerted me to a post by Dr. Thom S.  Rainer.  He is the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian resources.  Before he came to that position, he was on faculty at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kentucky.  The title of his post is "Top Ten Bible Translations, 2014." He reports  a list recently released by the Christian Booksellers Association of the best selling Bibles in America as of December 2014. There are two lists.  One based on dollar sales.  The second based on unit sales.  

Here is the list: 

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San Diego

David Capes - December 4, 2014

I returned last week from San Diego after attending the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature and the Institute for Biblical Research.  One of the highlights of meetings like this is the opportunity to reconnect with colleagues and students you don't see on a regular basis.  I've made it a habit to attend these gatherings annually since 1990.  Because of some new duties with the Institute for Biblical Research and my relationship with the Lanier Theological Library, I spent the first two days running between sessions and meetings.

 While in San Diego I had a chance to reconnect with many of the scholars and writers who helped with the Voice translation.  Some I have not seen in two or three years.  It was great to see them again, but I didn't just bump into them.  I  had something up my sleeve . . .

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Barren Among the Fruitful

David Capes - November 17, 2014
Today's guest post is from Amanda Haley, one of scholars who worked with us on The Voice. She has written an important new book entitled Barren Among the Fruitful.  It has to do with her own story and the growing problem of infertility.  Here is an excerpt: 

What do Sarah and Hannah (and Rebekah and Rachel and other no-longer-barren women of the Bible) have in common? God blessed them with children. And that’s great. In most cases it was miraculous! God looked down from heaven, saw their struggles, loved them, and blessed them with children. Sons, in fact. They got the happiest of endings in the time it takes to read less than one chapter of scripture. This is inspiring, right? This is why our loved ones reference them so readily. . . .
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Slow to Judge

David Capes - November 11, 2014

Last week I had the great honor of flying to Nashville to present at the sales conference for Harper Collins Christian Publishing (Zondervan & Thomas Nelson).  I spoke briefly on the topic of a book I have coming out next summer with Thomas Nelson entitled Slow to Judge: Sometimes It's OK to Listen.  The book is about a lot of things, but it is especially about the problem Christians have of being judgmental and being perceived as anti-this and anti-that.  Too often Christians are defined by what they are "against." 

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Is There a Better Word than "Lord"?

David Capes - November 3, 2014

Recently, I gave the Hayward Lectures at Acadia Divinity College in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.  My topic was "Paul's KYRIOS Christology."  Kyrios is a Greek word most often translated "Lord" in English Bible translations.  Paul uses the word about 200 times in his letters to refer to his Lord, Jesus Christ.  On a few occasions he used the word in reference to God, the Father. The word can be used of people as well who possess some sort of recognized, superior status--a king, a master of slave, for example.  

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Michael Bird's Review of The Voice

David Capes - October 29, 2014
Dr. Michael F. Bird is a well known New Testament scholar.  When I met him a few years ago, he was teaching at Highland Theological College in northern Scotland.  Since then he has taken a prestigious post in Australia at Ridley Melbourne College.  Recently, he offered some reflections on The Voice translation.  Here is his review: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/euangelion/2014/10/reflections-on-the-voice-bible/ Read More

Violence, the Last Straw

David Capes - October 20, 2014

Today's guest post is by Dr. Creig Marlowe, an Old Testament specialist teaching in Europe.  He helped us with reviewing and writing parts of The Voice Old Testament.  

The ubiquity of violence is the last straw before the flood.

The famously curious “sons of God” passage in Gen 6:1-4 quotes the Eternal One in verse 3 as deciding,

“My life-giving Spirit will not sustain human beings forever because they are, after all, made of flesh. Therefore, I will put a limit on their lifespan of about 120 years.” (The Voice)

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The Wrath of God

David Capes - October 14, 2014

When you think of "the wrath of God" what comes to mind?  Well, for most people I think it may be fire and brimstone, a lightning bolt from the sky, some horrible calamity that falls from heaven on earth.  In the movie "Ghostbusters" the comic horrors befalling the city are described as "Old-Testament-wrath-of-God-kinda-stuff."  According to this perspective, wrath of God means God's anger poured out on unsuspecting but deserving people.  It is God's powerful right hand sent to crush and punish the wicked. 

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One God, One Lord

David Capes - October 7, 2014
In a few weeks I'll fly to Nova Scotia to give a series of lectures at Acadia Divinity School.  The lecture series is known as the Hayward Lectures.  Some of the best scholars in the world have been invited to give the Hayward Lectures.  I'm not sure why they invited me.  I'm not being modest.  I'm being truthful.  The list of past lecturers is a veritable "Who's Who" in biblical studies: N. T. Wright, James D. G. Dunn, John Stackhouse, John J. Collins, Edith Humphreys, Emmanuel Tov, James Charlesworth,  just to name a few.  So I'm honored to be part of this series. Read More


David Capes - September 29, 2014
Thomas Nelson has a new series of books out called "InScribed." One of our scholar-writers for The Voice project was Amanda Hope Haley.  She earned a masters degree at Harvard. When Chris Seay, head of the project, met her, he invited her to help us.  Amanda is a great writer and has an important story to tell in her new book Barren Among the Fruitful: Navigating Infertility with Hope, Wisdom, and Patience (Thomas Nelson, 2014). Read More

Reasonable Worship

David Capes - September 23, 2014

I have thought a lot about worship.  The reason is that my life and career have spanned what many people called “the worship wars.” Beginning in the last quarter of the 20th century churches struggled with how we come before God in worship.  What clothes do we wear? Where do we gather? When do we gather? With whom do we gather? What songs do we sing?  What instruments are OK? How do we construct our sacred space?  Do we sing from hymnals or screens?  What versions of Scripture do we read?  Those are just a few of the questions that have characterized the struggles among believers in the last 20-30 years.  You can probably think of a few more.  In fact, I’d be interested to know what issues you think were the most important. 

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The Sixth Day of Creation (#4)

David Capes - September 18, 2014
Here is the fourth and final installment of Dr. Creig Marlowe's posts on the sixth day of creation.  Dr. Marlowe teaches Old Testament at Evangelische Theologische Faculteit in Belgium.  He is a frequent contributor to this blog.

The Sixth Day of Creation
by Dr. Creig Marlowe 

This is the final essay on the Sixth Day of creation. What we did not discuss previously was the part of Genesis 2 about the garden home of the first couple, a place called "Eden." Read More

The Sixth Day of Creation (#3)

David Capes - September 9, 2014
Here is the third installment of a series about the Sixth Day of Creation from Dr. Creig Marlowe.  Dr. Marlowe served as a writer-reviewer for The Voice translation.

The Sixth Day of Creation (#3) 
by Dr. Creig Marlowe

The previous two blogs about the Sixth Day of creation described it as first summarized in Genesis 1:1-2:3 and then more specified in Genesis 2:5-25 (with 2:4 as a transitional statement). We saw that the materials and message of each creation account are complementary and not contradictory, given the purpose and structure of each. But a question of consistency remained in regard to how the woman is presented.  Read More

Finding Your Sacred Space: The Lanier Theological Library

David Capes - September 2, 2014
Northwest of downtown Houston lies a little piece of heaven for those, like me, who love books, journals, and quiet place to sit and read.  In 2010 Mark Lanier, one of the country's best trial lawyers and probably the best Bible teacher you will ever hear, built the library and began to fill its exquisitely built shelves with monographs, books, reports, and journals from all around the world.  Mark along with Charles Mickey, the library director, and a great staff have collected to this date more than 80,000 volumes on a wide range of subjects touching on archaeology of the ancient near east, Bible, the Dead Sea Scrolls, theology, and related topics.  Whether you are looking for primary texts or secondary, the Lanier Library is a place to go for a day, a week or a month or more of concentrated study.  Though the library is held privately, it is open to the public not as a lending library but as a research library with superb facilities and exquisite hospitality. Read More

The Sixth Day of Creation (2)

David Capes - August 25, 2014
Dr. Creig Marlowe of Evangelische Theologische Faculteit in Leuven (Belgium) is a frequent contributor to this blog. He was one of scholars who helped us write and review the Old Testament for The Voice Bible.  We continue his series on the sixth day of creation.


The Sixth Day of Creation (2) 
By Dr. Creig Marlowe

Last time we looked at Day Six as expanded in a special way in Genesis 2:4-25. In Genesis 1 the sixth day of creation (1:24-31) relates: (1) the creation of land animals, (2) the creation of and mandate for humans, and (3) the provision of a vegetarian diet. Genesis 2 gives a more detailed treatment of part (2). After a transitional section in 2:4-6 about the unfinished condition of the initial cosmos, the earth and the Eternal One’s careful crafting of and care for the first humans becomes the focus (2:7-25).




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Interview by Nick Peters of Deeper Waters

David Capes - August 20, 2014
Last week I sat down with Nick Peters, a young man who has a passion for Scripture and apologetics. He hosts a popular podcast on his website.  He has interviewed some of the best and brightest people I know. Take a look at his line-up and you'll see some people you know and some you don't, but all are worth listening to. Here is a link to his website: www.deeperwaters.wordpress.com

NIck and I talked at length (2 hours) about The Voice project. This the most comprehensive interview I have done to date regarding the project.  Nick hosts a popular podcast on his website.  He has interviewed some of the best and brightest people I know.   

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The 6th Day of Creation 

David Capes - August 12, 2014

Dr. Creig Marlowe is a frequent contributor to this blog.  He has written four blog posts on the 6th day of creation, the climax of the creation account.  Over the next couple of weeks, we will run these without interruption.  If you have a copy of The Voice handy, you may want to open up to Genesis 1-3 and follow along. 



My last blog looked at the six days of creation in Genesis 1. Genesis 2 has been called “the second creation story.” Because it uses the personal name of God (The Eternal One) unlike the previous chapter (where Elohim is the Creator), some in the past decided each of these chapters had a different author and even conflicting view of the Creation event. But what we find in Genesis 2 actually is a more detailed focus on the sixth day, when God created man and woman. It was a busy day.

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You Can't Go Back

David Capes - August 4, 2014

There is an amazing story in ch. 21 of John's Gospel.  You probably know it.  After Jesus is executed and resurrected, he appears to his disciples on a number of occasions.  This final appearance of the risen Jesus to his disciples takes place on the shores of Galilee, the old stomping grounds of Jesus and his disciples.  Here is the story from The Voice. 

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The Six Days of Creation

David Capes - July 30, 2014
Over the summer, Dr. Creig Marlowe has been writing about the creation accounts in Genesis 1.  Look back over the last few blogs and you can see the progression of his ideas interrupted occasionally by me.  Dr. Marlowe was one of the scholars who helped us with much of the review and translating of THE VOICE Old Testament.  He is a frequent contributor to this blog site.  We are grateful for his many contributions.  Look for more from Professor Marlowe this fall!

The Six Days of Creation
by Dr. Creig Marlowe

The Voice
 version invites its readers to “step into the story of Scripture.” Some Christians get nervous when the Bible or sections of it are called a story, because this term is thought to suggest something unhistorical. But to speak of Genesis 1 as the Creation Story is not to imply the event did not happen as told, but to recognize that the author consciously, artfully, and skillfully, employed literary techniques to make his report “a page turner.” Genesis 1 establishes the reality that “the greatest God” (Elohim) was and is the Creator of the cosmos and everything in it. In some ancient creation myths the gods themselves are created. Read More

They Come in Pairs (no, it's not about Noah's ark)

David Capes - July 21, 2014

I've been inspired recently by posts from Dr. Creig Marlowe and some comments I heard recently by N. T. Wright.  There is some new thinking here for me, but as Ecclesiastes reminds us: "there is nothing new under the sun." 

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Genesis 1 and Poetry

David Capes - July 15, 2014
This is the third installment of a four part series on Genesis 1 by Dr. Creig Marlowe.  Dr. Marlowe is an Old Testament specialist who teaches at Evangelische Theologische Faculteit in Leuven, Belgium. He was one of the scholars who helped us write and review portions of the Old Testament for The Voice Bible.


Genesis 1 and Poetry 
by Dr. Creig Marlowe, ETF 

In my last post on Genesis 1 and Creation we saw that verses 1:1-2a is the complete opening statement; its idea being: “First [in the creation process], God fashioned all: the heavens above and the earth below; but the earth was [still] unformed and unfilled.” 

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It's All about The Story

David Capes - July 7, 2014

The university where I teach, Houston Baptist University, is hosting a consultation this week for the International Orality Network.  I will be attending the consultation and learning all I can regarding this new and important missions emphasis that recognizes that most of the world consists of people who are oral preference learners.  What excites me about the movement is that they focus on sharing the gospel by learning to tell great stories from the Bible in the mother language of the unreached people.  This is exactly what we hoped to do with The Voice Bible.

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Slow to Judge

David Capes - June 17, 2014

I'm working on a new book for Thomas Nelson entitled Slow to Judge: Sometimes It's OK to Listen. Look for it later in 2014 or early in 2015.  It will be part of the new Refraction Series which I'm excited to be a part of.  The tagline for the series is aligning God's people to His purposes.  The Voice translation will figure prominently in these new books though occasionally I'll quote from other translations too.

I'm working on a section now about C. S. Lewis who was probably the foremost apologist and Christian thinker in the 20th century.  I thought I'd share with you an excerpt of the chapter.

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Creatio ex nihilo (Creation from nothing)

David Capes - June 12, 2014
Dr. Creig Marlowe, Old Testament Professor at Evangelische Theologische Faculteit in Leuven, was one of the scholars who helped us with The Voice translation.  He is a frequent contributor to this blog.


In the last blog post on Genesis 1:1 we saw that this verse emphasizes the creation of everything, as a way of introducing the creation story. There is some question, however, which verse begins the first day of the creative week (verse 2 or 3?). Also if absolutely everything was made in 1:1, a question is raised why 1:2 describes the created order as incomplete. This, along with other interpretive issues, is why many believe 1:1 should be read as a dependent clause connected to verse 2. The Voice translation nicely bridges this interpretive debate by ending 1:1 with a period, yet then making a transition to the conditions of 1:2 with "Here's what happened. At first . . . ."

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The Beginning and The Voice of God

David Capes - June 1, 2014

Creig Marlowe is one of the scholars who contributed to The Voice Bible translation.  He often contributes to the blog here.   He is a professor at Evangelische Theologische Faculteit in Leuven.  Look for more from Dr. Marlowe this summer.


The Beginning and the Voice of God

by Dr. Creig Marlowe

     I often remark to my students, somewhat sarcastically, that it’s interesting that we no more than read the first word of the Bible than we encounter a major translational and interpretive debate. “Can’t we even get past the first word before we have a substantial theological struggle,” I sometimes ask God rhetorically.

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Jesus and Mighty Works

David Capes - May 20, 2014
I'm currently in Arlington, TX, attending a conference hosted by B. H. Carroll Theological Institute.  I came to share a bit about The Voice Bible translation and to respond to Dr. Craig Keener's work on the historical Jesus and his recent two volume book on miracles. Read More

Podcast about The Voice

David Capes - May 13, 2014
Last year I was on a podcast with John Mark Reynolds and Holly Ordway. Our topic was The Voice Bible translation.  Take a few minutes and listen in.  It was a great conversation. Read More

Sleep deprived?

David Capes - May 5, 2014

I heard a news story recently that said that most Americans are sleep deprived.  That may come as no shock to you if you walk around tired most of the time or if you take pills to help you get a little better sleep.  Experts tell us we need to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night, but most of us get 4-6 hours of interrupted, light sleep.  The causes are many.  Maybe you're working too much.  Maybe you are worried and upset about a relationship gone awry.  Maybe you're worried about getting caught after something you've done.  Maybe you're worried about your job or maybe you don't have a job and you're worried about the money.  Maybe you get a thought in your head at night or a song and you play it over and over again.  Regardless, you wake up but you are not refreshed and ready to meet the day.  The Scriptures have a great deal to say about rest.

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Personal and Impersonal Names for God  (or “The Divine Name Game”)

David Capes - April 30, 2014

Dr. Creig Marlowe was one of the scholars who helped us with The Voice.  He lives in the Netherlands and teaches for Evangelische Theologische Faculteit in Leuven, Belgium.  He also contributes several times a year to this blog. 

 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Recent blogs have focused on controversy over how best to translate the Divine Name, YHWH, from the Hebrew Bible into English. I have some thoughts, which I hope will de-mystify rather than muddy the water.



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The Divine Name . . . Once Again

David Capes - April 21, 2014

In three earlier posts I laid out our rationale for translating the divine name (YHWH) as "the Eternal" or "the Eternal One."  I don't want to repeat myself here so you can check out those earlier blog posts if you wish.

The Divine Name Part 1

The Divine Name Part 2

The Divine Name Part 3

Perhaps you could tell; the decision was not an easy one. 

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Weaknesses in The Voice?

David Capes - April 11, 2014
I had the great privilege of traveling this past week to Portland, Oregon, and speaking at chapel for Multnomah University.  They had a great group of faculty, staff and students in attendance.  The Voice NTs and Voice water bottles provided by Thomas Nelson flew off the table after chapel.  I also had a chance to address some upper-level Greek and Hebrew students in two separate classes.  Multnomah has a wonderful language program and I would not be surprised if some of their graduates will be part of the next Bible translation team.

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Reading the Bible Backwards

David Capes - April 4, 2014

Richard Hays, dean of Duke Divinity School and one of the top New Testament scholars in the world, was on the campus of HBU recently to give the A. O. Collins lectures in theology.  He gave two lectures exploring the ways in which the New Testament evangelists read and incorporate Israel's Scriptures into their Gospels.  Hays is working on a book which will be published in the next year by Baylor University Press, so I won't give away too much; I'll only hint at certain things which hopefully will make the book something you want to read for yourselves.

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The Imitation of Christ

David Capes - March 27, 2014

Jack Wisdom and I are teaching a Lenten series at Ecclesia Houston on the Imitation of Christ.  Jack is an elder at Ecclesia and one of the scholar-writers who helped us with the translation.  He is a lawyer during the day and a New Testament scholar all the time.  He is a good friend, and I admire the way he carefully reads through the Scripture. 

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The J. B. Phillips New Testament

David Capes - March 18, 2014

I came to faith at the age of seven.  My pastor, Rev. Ray Collins, led me to Christ at Valley Brook Baptist Church.  Our church was so small that we didn't have a baptistery, so on a Sunday afternoon in spring—it may have been Easter—I was baptized into the faith.

When I turned 8 years old, my church gave me a Bible.  It was the King James Version; it had a black cardboard cover, and the edges of the paper were gilded red.  I was told in Sunday School, in church, and at home that I should read my Bible.  So I set about at 8 years old to read my Bible.  I started and stopped.  I would get serious then I'd get bored. 

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Praying the Mugs

David Capes - March 11, 2014

I don't know about you but prayer for me is not second nature.  As a scholar I can pick up the Bible or another book and study all day long.  But prayer for me is more like work.  So I look for ways to remind me to pray.  One of those is what I call "praying the mugs."  It's fairly simple.   Throughout the Voice College tour I have collected coffee mugs from most of the schools we have visited.  In some cases the schools donate those to me, but in most I just take a few minutes the day I'm on campus, find the bookstore, and purchase a coffee mug which I like (by the way, have you seen how big they are making coffee mugs these days?!). 

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Our Plans

David Capes - March 5, 2014
I saw this image the other day and thought I'd pass it on. It compares our plan for our lives and reality, or we might call it God's plan for our life. It is not "easy street." It is not "broadway." Jesus said there are two ways: one leading to life, the other to destruction. The path to destruction is crowded and has the least challenges. The path to life . . . well there are few on it and there are challenges around every corner. Read More

GUM Story

David Capes - February 24, 2014
Brett Dutton, one of the scholars who worked on The Voice translation sent me an email the other day.  He points out the ways in which the translation is reaching a whole new group of people.  He is an amazing pastor, scholar, teacher and friend.  We're grateful for Brett and all he added to the project. Read More

Putting Off and putting on: Modesty in Baptism

David Capes - February 14, 2014

A new friend of mine—let's call him Sherlock—is an accomplished legal mind and great Bible teacher.  Recently, he started using The Voice in some of his teaching.  He posed a question to another friend—let's call him Holmes (another accomplished legal mind and amazing Bible teacher)—about how to read Ephesians 4:22-24.  Paul uses two aorist infinitives for "putting off" the old self and "putting on" the new self.  Most Bible commentaries describe the aorist as a one time act.  It is often called punctilliar aspect.  That's probably telling you a lot more than you want to know.  But the idea would be that Paul is emphasizing how we decide once and for all to put off the old self and put on the new.  In other words it refers to a person's point of salvation.  But Klyne Snodgrass, a distinguished professor at North Park Theological Seminary, has this to say: "The aorist tense is used for undefined action. Not necessarily 'point action,' as has been the traditional way of looking at the aorist tense!" 

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Is the Voice translation in English or Biblish?

David Capes - January 29, 2014
I remember a conversation I had with a friend years ago.  He was lamenting the fact that modern Bible translations like the New King James Version and the New American Standard Version had dropped words like “Thee,” “Thou,” “Thine,” “art” (as in the Lord’s prayer: “Our Father, who art in heaven . . . “) and “hast.”  These words were typical of the 16th and 17th centuries but have long since fallen out of use with most English-speaking people. The only time people may have heard or used them was “in church.”  For my friend, the Bible was not the Bible if it didn’t sound . . . well “Biblish.”  Read More

Why was Jesus baptized?

David Capes - January 14, 2014

Epiphany was January 6th.  It marks the end of the Christmas season.  Between Christmas day and Epiphany are the 12 days of Christmas, which most know these days through the English carol. 

The word “epiphany” comes from the Greek; it means “manifestation” or “appearance.”  It was used primarily in religious texts to describe the appearance of a god. Essentially, Epiphany as a holy-day is the celebration that God has become a human being in Jesus of Nazareth.  In the west the holiday is commonly associated with the arrival of the wise men to see the baby Jesus. In the east Christians link Epiphany to the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan by John the Immerser.  You may recall the heavenly voice said as Jesus came up from the water, “This is my Son whom I love, with him I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17).  In baptism God’s Son is revealed to the world. 

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The 12 Days of Christmas

David Capes - December 29, 2013

Growing up I thought the 12 days of Christmas were the days leading up to Christmas.  I knew about the 12 days of Christmas only because of the popular English carol we all learned to sing: “On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me . . . .”  You know it, I’m sure, though there are different versions of it.

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Xmas: is it taking Christ out of Christmas?

David Capes - December 9, 2013

Last year, this post got a lot of hits so I thought I would bring it back.  Some people are talking about a "war on Christmas." Is using "Xmas" an attempt to take "Christ" out of Christmas?  Take a look below.

I remember my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Potts, opening a vein when anyone wrote “Xmas” instead of “Christmas.”  She felt there was a war on Christmas in her day and that people who abbreviated the name of the holiday were trying to take Christ out of Christmas.  I suppose that is true for some people, but when you look into the real story of “Xmas” you realize that something else is at work.

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The "Begats"

David Capes - November 26, 2013
Like a lot of people I tried reading the Bible through one year.  I was in my teens and was working my way through the King James Bible.  When I came to Matthew 1, often called "the Begat" chapter, I remember my eyes glazing over and skipping ahead.  You see the first part of Matthew 1 is a geneaology of Jesus. 

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What's Next for The Voice?

David Capes - November 19, 2013

Frank Couch and I recently had the privilege of traveling to central Kentucky to meet with students and faculty of Campbellsville University.  The school is over 100 years old and has grown rapidly in the last few years, thanks in part to a growing athletic program but also to a growing excellence of its faculty and educational programs.

Dr. Dwayne Howell, professor of Old Testament, issued the invitation.  Frank and I were delighted to make the trip.

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If You Like Weekends . . .

David Capes - November 13, 2013

Many people live for the weekends.  They might love their jobs or simply tolerate them, but they look forward to the weekends like no other time.  Weekends give them the chance to sleep late, hang out with friends and family, pursue hobbies, and, for those religiously inclined, worship. 

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Who Does James Say that Jesus Is?

David Capes - November 3, 2013

I have the privilege of teaching with Dr. Peter Davids at HBU.  Peter is a world class scholar who has devoted much of his writing and research to the Catholic or General Letters.  Peter assisted with us in the theological review of many NT books for The Voice project.  I asked him recently about the portrait of Jesus in the letter of James.

 According to James, Jesus is the exalted and glorious Lord who now reigns and will come again to judge the living and the dead.  James is not a Gospel, so there is no narrative of Jesus’ life and death.  Yet James draws heavily on the example and teaching of Jesus.

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The Voice: A Modern Red-Letter Edition?

David Capes - October 24, 2013
      Last week I had the privilege of visiting the campus of Austin Graduate School of Theology in Austin, TX, to talk with faculty and students about The Voice Bible project. The school is historically related to the Churches of Christ and has a wonderful campus north of downtown Austin. Jeff Peterson, the head of the theology, hosted me that day.

Almost everywhere I go people ask the most interesting questions and make some amazing connections. Read More

The Voice of the Good Shepherd

David Capes - October 16, 2013
I'm often asked how we came up with the name "The Voice."  If you want the full story, check out  a book I wrote with Chris Seay and Frank Couch, The Story of The Voice (Thomas Nelson, 2013).  Let me share with you some of the scripture images that come to mind when we think about the title to the project. Read More

Coming Soon to a Wal-Mart near You

David Capes - October 6, 2013
I just returned from a trip to Oklahoma City.  I had the privilege of speaking in chapel at Southern Nazarene University to hundreds of bright young men and women.  Someone asked a question I hear often: "Where can I get The Voice Bible?"

Well, I'm happy to report that it is coming to a Wal-Mart near you. Read More

In the beginning . . .

David Capes - October 2, 2013
If you were to create a video that portrays Genesis 1, what would you do? Read More

Remember "The Good Ole' Days"?

David Capes - September 28, 2013
Today's guest post is by Amanda Hope Haley, one of the writers/scholars who helped on The Voice Bible project.  Check out her website at www.amandahopehaley.com.

Remember "The Good Ole Days"?

Since my husband and I have started our epic move West, we find ourselves without a "home." Yes, we still own our house in Tennessee, but we spend so much time away from it that coming back feels like a vacation. When we are in Denver, we long for our idyllic home, friends, family, and church. When we're in Tennessee, we miss the West's laid-back culture and amazing restaurants. The grass is always greener wherever we aren't. Such a longing for what has past is nothing new.

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Translation or Paraphrase?

David Capes - September 20, 2013
I'm often asked the difference between a translation and a paraphrase. Read More

19 Truly Committed People

David Capes - September 12, 2013

On September 11, 2001 we saw what 19 truly committed people can do.  They brought down four planes, killed 3000 people, razed the twin towers, and put a big hole in the psyche of the world.  Just 19 people.  People truly committed to their cause. 

It is always easier to destroy than to build.  Choosing death is always easier than choosing life.  In order to undo the damage these 19 have done it will take millions of people truly committed to life and building a better world.

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No Longer Invisible

David Capes - September 6, 2013

Today's guest post is by Amanda Hope Haley.  She was one of the scholar-writers who helped us with The Voice translation. She has her own blog and webpage at.www.amandahopehaley.com.

No Longer Invisible

When I travel, I do my best to be invisible: I wear slip-on shoes and have my toiletries easily accessible so I don't back up the line through security; I don't buy smelly food and eat it on the plane; I carry bags small enough to fit under the airplane seats; I tuck into a window seat and hide behind a hardback book for the duration of the flight. It's a good thing I'm so short. If you'd ever spent 2 hours being interrogated, patted down, and x-rayed by Israeli airline security (a story for another day), you'd probably take the invisible approach too.

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"Howdy! Party" University of Houston

David Capes - September 3, 2013

Thomas Nelson Publishers and The Voice Bible sponsored the opening year “Howdy! Party” for the Baptist Student Ministry at University of Houston on Labor Day.  Dr. David Capes, the lead scholar on the project, was on hand to meet students from across the world and introduce them to The Voice Bible project, a project which in many ways calls Houston home. 

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Fighting Terror

David Capes - August 27, 2013

A few years ago I attended a conference in London regarding the Muslim world in transition.  I presented a paper there and chaired a session.  One of the sessions I went to was a paper by a person who is an expert in Britain on weapon's development and terrorism. 

He began his talk basically with the statement that in the future we will fight terror with technology.  Ironically, the PowerPoint he had planned to use failed because of technical difficulties.

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Does God Hate Some People?

David Capes - August 22, 2013

Today's guest post comes from Dr. Creig Marlowe, Associate Professor of Old Testament at Evangelische Theologische Faculteit in Belgium. Dr. Marlowe was one of the scholars who helped us with Old Testament portions of The Voice Bible. 

Does God Hate Some People?
by Dr. Creig Marlowe

A passage that comes to mind when biblical problems are mentioned is Romans 9:13b.  God declares His “hatred” of Esau: “I loved Jacob, but I hated Esau” (The Voice Bible is similar to other major English versions). That God experiences hatred is viewed by some as a contradiction of His nature as love (1 John 4:8, 16; cf. Malachi 1:2).

When I was a seminary student, the troublesome verse in Romans (which quotes and summarizes Malachi 1:2b-3a) was explained as a mistranslation.

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Give Voice to The Voice

David Capes - August 14, 2013

You may have seen one or more of the videos produced by Thomas Nelson featuring The Voice translation. They are available for download on this website.  You can use them free of charge in your church, class or small group. They are professionally done and look great.  Whenever Thomas Nelson releases another, I can't wait to see it.  I have several favorites, but frankly I like them all for different reasons. 

Recently Jenel, my daughter-in-law, has started to do oral performance of various Psalms from The Voice set to music. She does a great job.  If you like to see what she has done, take a look at her website:


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Judge Not

David Capes - August 10, 2013

Someone last week accused me of being “judgmental.”  My first thought was to respond, “how judgmental of you!”   But I thought better of it.  Instead I submitted my "questionable" comments to other people whom I trust and they disagreed that my tone was judgmental. I did later tweet the following: "If you accuse someone of being judgmental, are you being . . . judgmental?"

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Total Eclipse (it's not what you think)

David Capes - August 5, 2013

For his 27th birthday I took my son to see the Astros play at Minute Maid Park. We share a love for baseball that goes back decades to the backyard when we played catch with a plastic ball and he'd hit "homewuns" with a big, fat plastic bat.

Although I paid for some of the most expensive tickets at Minute Maid Park, the view was terrible.

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The Best Selling Book in Norway Is Not FIFTY SHADES OF GREY

David Capes - July 29, 2013

In 2012 the best-selling book in Norway is a new translation of the Bible. The Norwegian Bible is even outselling Fifty Shades of Grey.  Now this has caught a lot of people off-guard because Norway is one of the most secular countries in Europe, and Europe—as you may know—has only a thin veneer left of its Christian cultural heritage.  Only about 1% of Norway’s 5 million citizens bother to go to church on a regular basis.

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David Capes - July 22, 2013

Today's Guest post is by Matt Davis, a God called, gifted musician and church leader.  You  He has some great insight on Simon, AKA Peter (the Rock), AKA Littlefaith.

Littlefaith by Matt Davis

Mt. 14:24-33
The boat was in the water, some distance from land, buffeted and pushed around by waves and wind. 25 Deep in the night, when He had concluded His prayers, Jesus walked out on the water to His disciples in their boat26 The disciples saw a figure moving toward them and were terrified.

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Poetry in Bible Translation

David Capes - July 17, 2013
Here is part two of a podcast I did a few weeks back with Dr. John Mark Reynolds and Dr. Holly Ordway. 

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The Word in Action

David Capes - July 13, 2013
Today's guest post is by Dr. Ed Seay, pastor of the FBC Magnolia in Magnolia, TX.  Magnolia is located about 40 miles north of Houston, TX.  Under Dr. Seay's leadership the church is growing and thriving.  Ed is also Chris Seay's father.  For those who have followed this translation project, you know that Chris is the president of Ecclesia Bible Society, the pastor of Ecclesia Houston, and the catalyst behind The Voice Bible.  Ed is a terrific pastor, friend, and community leader. 

“Put the word into action. If you think hearing is what matters most, you are going to find you have been deceived.” – James 1:22  (The Voice)

           I recently heard someone say, “Application is everything!”  This verse is one of many from The Voice that reminds us that simply hearing the Scripture is not enough – we must apply it to our lives.

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Bible Translation: Is It Even Possible?

David Capes - July 8, 2013
Two months back I had the privilege of sitting down with Dr. John Mark Reynolds, Provost of Houston Baptist University, and Dr. Holly Ordway, chair of Apologetics at HBU.  We talked about the Bible translation in general and The Voice translation in particular.  Here is part one of a great conversation we had that day.

http://www.civitate.org/podcast/ Read More

"In pain you shall bring forth children"

David Capes - June 30, 2013

I'm now convinced of the obvious: that bringing forth the next generation is the most difficult and most important job on the planet.  

One of the consequences of Adam and Eve eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil--something God directed them not to do--was that "in pain you shall bring forth children" (Genesis 3:16, New American Standard Version).  The passage is complicated, but most of us think we know what that means: that labor and delivery are going to bring immense pain and in some cases death to the mother.  At one level, that certainly seems the interpretation, but there may be more to it.

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A "Proverbs 31 Woman"

David Capes - June 24, 2013

Today's guest post is from Amanda Haley.  She was one of the scholar-writers who helped us with The Voice project. 

A "Proverbs 31 Woman"
by Amanda Haley

I Am not a "Proverbs 31 Woman," and You Aren't Either

I first heard the phrase "Proverbs 31 woman" when I was in high school. I had a male friend who liked to call me that. He intended the moniker to compliment the evidence of my faith, the products of my kitchen (he loved my Magic Cookie Bars), and the way I cared for others. Five years later, after we'd both graduated from religious universities and more thoroughly studied the Old Testament, he confessed that in high school he had no idea of the context of Proverbs 31, and that I was not in fact like the woman described in that chapter. It wasn't an insult--I agreed with him completely. I am not, and will never be, a "Proverbs 31 woman."

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Time and Biblical Authority
by Dr. Kenneth Waters

David Capes - June 11, 2013

Today's guest post is by Dr. Kenneth Waters.  Dr. Waters is Associate Dean in the School of Theology at Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, CA.  You can read more about him below. He was one of the scholars who helped us on The Voice project.

Time and Biblical Authority

Dr. Kenneth L. Waters, Sr.

 “Don’t wear any material made of both wool and linen” (Deuteronomy 22:11).  Well, there goes three-quarters of my Sunday wardrobe.  Or maybe I should just consider the Bible a collection of out-dated rules, regulations, and notions and then toss it aside so that I can continue struttin’ my duds.  These days I am more frequently hearing that the Bible should be discarded as a guide for moral decision and response in regard to current social issues, simply because of seemingly antiquated statements like this one in the book of Deuteronomy.

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The “Jericho Way” (Luke 18:31-43)

David Capes - June 6, 2013

Today’s guest post is by Dr. Joe Blair.  He has spent his life pastoring and teaching students. He served as one of the theological reviewers for a number of New Testament books. 


The “Jericho Way” (Luke 18:31-43)

by Dr. Joe Blair

Jesus made his third announcement about his death (18:31-34) on his way to be crucified. He took the twelve aside and gave them a vivid and disturbing account of what awaited him:  "He will be handed over to the outsiders.  They will mock Him, disgrace Him, spit on Him, and scourge Him.” They will "kill Him," but good news, "He will rise from death" (18:32-33, The Voice). 


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The "Wicked" Bible

David Capes - May 31, 2013

In 1631 typesetters in Cambridge made a big mistake as they were typesetting an English version of the Bible.  In their Bible the seventh commandment read: "Thou shalt commit adultery" (Exodus 20:14) instead of "Thou shalt not commit adultery."  When the English courts and crown realized the mistake, they immediately called the royal printers before the Star Chamber and sanctioned them.  Most of the Bible's copies  were recalled and burned.  The few remaining copies are referred to as "The Wicked Bible."  Any Bible commanding adultery should certainly be considered "wicked."  Eleven copies remain in circulation.  If you owned one today, it would be worth a king's ransom. I have seen "The Wicked Bible" at the Dunham Museum of the Bible at Houston Baptist University.  The poor printers were fined three hundred pounds--a huge sum in those days--and lost their printing license.   

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Where is God when a tornado strikes?

David Capes - May 24, 2013

After a terrible disaster, you often hear questions like this: “Where is God when the tornado strikes?”  It’s a good question, a fair question. 

 I recently met Dr. Tim Crutcher who teaches at Southern Nazarene University in Oklahoma City.  I emailed him a day or two after the horrible tornado that leveled Moore, OK.  I wanted to know how he and his wife weathered the storm.  They were OK, he said, but it was the worst natural disaster they had ever seen.  But it was what he said next that got my attention:

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A complete change of identity

David Capes - May 20, 2013

I wanted to share with you a letter I received recently from Lt. Col. (RET) Doug Gilbert.  I met him in Kansas City recently as I was sharing with Dr. Andy Johnson’s class on missional theology at Nazarene Theological Seminary.  What Doug said struck me as crucial for us today as we think about shaping Christian identity.  For those of you in church leadership there may be some lessons and new practices we need to create in order to effect a complete change of identity. 


Hello! I finished the spring semester and am already engaged with a summer course but thought I needed to honor your request. I currently live in Lansing, KS, having retired from the Army in 2003.  I will be a senior MDiv student at Nazarene Theological Seminary in the fall. I am studying theology because God made me. More specifically, I have seen the devastation caused by untrained and under-trained people assuming that God had called them to be pastors and concluding God’s call was all they needed. If pastors are like doctors of the soul, then it seems they should be trained. I would not want a first year pre-med student trying to remove my appendix simply because he felt called to be a surgeon.

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Busy Isn't a Virtue

David Capes - May 14, 2013

In the January-February edition of Relevant magazine (relevantmagazine.com) there is an article by Christine and Adam Jeske entitled “13 Signs You Need to Get Unstuck.”  Number 7 in their 13 signs is this: “Your Standard Response to, “How Are You? Includes the Word ‘Busy.’”  Their article got me thinking about several things but especially about a problem which I think many of us have.  Whether we are “busy” or not—and we usually are—that has become everyone’s stock response.  How many times have you told someone you’re “busy” in the last week or heard others say they are “busy”?  I know I have.  It seems like we are addicted to busy-ness.

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Apple Pie

David Capes - May 8, 2013

In The Story of The Voice (Thomas Nelson, 2013) I discuss certain features of the translation philosophy behind The Voice Bible.  In chapter 4 I deal with the claim that some translations are “word-for-word” while others are “thought-for-thought.”  This seems to be a straightforward and clear way of classifying translations, but there are many difficulties in attempting to draw any kind of strict line between a word and a thought.  After all, a word is a merely a thought that has been expressed.  I won’t go into the full argument here, but there is a side of it I’d like to talk about.


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Ben Witherington's Review of The Voice Bible

David Capes - May 3, 2013
As the lead scholar on the The Voice Bible project, I try to keep up with what others have said or are saying about it.  For some reason, however, I missed Dr. Ben Witherington’s review in February 2013 on “Patheos.”  Professor Witherington is one of the top New Testament scholars in the world so I was anxious to see what sort of marks he would give it. We have used some of his books as textbooks at Houston Baptist University, and I often find his judgments on New Testament texts and issues as sound and faithful. 

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Young Life

David Capes - April 29, 2013

I traveled recently to Galveston to talk with a group of Young Life staffers.  Brian Reeder, one of the key people for the “Flagship” region of Young Life in southeast Texas, made my visit with them possible. Thanks, Brian.

It didn’t take me long to remember how incredible Young Life is. Great faith, amazing devotion to kingdom priorities, warm hospitality, a deep love for kids, and a fun-loving attitude have made Young Life a truly successful ministry for high school and college students since it began in Dallas in 1941.

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Relational Wreckage

David Capes - April 24, 2013

This past Lenten season Jack Wisdom and I hosted a session on “Repentance” at Ecclesia Houston.  For six weeks we covered a variety of scriptural passages which talked about the damage done to ourselves and others by sin and the constant need we have for turning to God.  We touched on a variety of scriptural themes and books such as Jonah, Joel, Psalms, and 1 John in order to reflect on what it truly means to change our ways and turn to God.

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"Do it again.  This time . . . make it beautiful."

David Capes - April 18, 2013

I had the privilege recently of sharing about the Voice project at Houston Graduate School of Theology.  This school is doing great things in Houston to prepare men and women for lives of service to the church and the world.  The president, Dr. James Furr, understands the times and is leading HGST to become a key place in America where students can explore significant aspects of the missional movement.  The acting provost, Dr. Chuck Pitts, was one of our scholar-reviewers on key books like Psalms and Jeremiah.  Dr. Pitts has added to this blog, most recently a meditation on Psalm 8.

Everywhere I go to talk about this project I meet men and women with interesting stories to tell. After I spoke at HGST, a woman came up with a story which struck at the heart of The Voice Bible. 

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Why not just explain it?

David Capes - April 14, 2013

Frank Couch and I recently traveled to Lynchburg, Virginia to speak at Liberty University. We were invited by Dr. Vernon Whaley, head of School of Music. He and his staff did an excellent job preparing for our visit and making us feel welcome.  If you haven’t noticed, Liberty has grown exponentially in the last decade.  The university has 85,000 students (most of those online) and a $1 billion endowment. And, believe it or not, the school is only 41 years old.  The university is building new buildings, starting new programs, and realizing its grand vision like few schools I’ve ever seen.  If you have a son or daughter preparing for college, you might want to check it out.

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The Classic Testament

David Capes - April 5, 2013

So why do we call the first part of the Bible the “Old Testament”? Well, for several reasons. First, there is tradition. For hundreds of years Bibles have been published with a page in front of the collection of 39 books from Genesis to Malachi clearly declaring these are the books of the Old Testament. Second, there is Jesus’ declaration that he comes to establish a New Covenant in His blood. We hear these words spoken first at the Last Supper when Jesus breaks the bread, blesses God and invites His followers to “take and eat.” That phrase “New Covenant” becomes identified later with part two of the Christian Bible; we call it the New Testament (the Greek word for “testament” means “covenant”). If these 27 books from Matthew to Revelation make up the New Testament, then the first part must be, well, the Old Testament. 

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The Matriarchs and Infertility

David Capes - April 1, 2013
Today's guest post is by Amanda Haley.  Amanda was one of the scholar-writers who worked with us on The Voice project.  Part of her story is told in our new book: The Story of the Voice (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2013). 

"All the Matriarchs Were Infertile"

by Amanda Haley

The elder at my church said it, my best friend said it, and—to her absolute horror today—my mother said it. Before I struggled with infertility, I have no doubt that I cavalierly said it to some of my friends, too: “Sarah was ninety years old before she had Isaac.” That seems to be the gut reaction whenever you tell your Christian friends that you’re having trouble getting pregnant. To be fair, there is nothing anyone can say to make you feel better. All your loved ones want to do is bolster your faith by reminding you that you’re in good company, that the heroines of our faith had the same heartache that you do.

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C. S. Lewis on Bible Translation

David Capes - March 27, 2013
I recently attended a lecture by the Revd Professor Alistair McGrath of Kings College London and Oxford.  The lecture was hosted by the Lanier Theological Library, a private collection of nearly 80,000 theological books.  It was founded and opened to the public just 3 years ago by an amazing fellow named Mark Lanier.  Lanier is one of the top trial lawyers in the nation, and one of the most gifted Bible teachers you will ever hear.  For those of us who love books and all things English, the Lanier Library is a bit of heaven.  Read More

"Hear the Voice" Tour

David Capes - March 21, 2013

For the last year Frank Couch and I have had the privilege of visiting a number of schools to talk with students, faculty, and staff about The Voice project. We've spoken in classes, chapels, and special sessions arranged by friends on the faculty.  We've talked to thousands of people. I'm happy to announce that the "Hear the Voice" Tour continues into the next academic year, 2013-2014.  Here is a list of the colleges and seminaries we either have visited or are scheduled to visit over the next 18 months.

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The New Pope

David Capes - March 18, 2013

Jack Wisdom, one of the scholars on The Voice project, has a few thoughts about the installation of a new pope.  Be sure to check out Jack's new book entitled GET LOW.    

The New Pope
by Jack Wisdom

In the media coverage of the new Pope, one word has been used again and again:  humility.  One article, with no sense of irony, reported that “Pope Francis put his humility on full display during his first day as pontiff…”  If Pope Francis is truly humble—and I am persuaded that he is—I am sure that he would cringe to hear that he put his humility “on full display”, because—by definition—making a show of humility is the opposite of being humble. If you doubt me, check out the way that Jesus lampooned the celebrated, self-promoting leaders (religious and secular) back in his day.

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What Is Man?

David Capes - March 14, 2013

Today's guest post is by Dr. Chuck Pitts, a faculty member and administrator for Houston Graduate School of Theology.  Dr. Pitts assisted us with the review and translation of several Old Testament books.

What Is Man?
by Dr. Chuck Pitts

I have been intrigued for some time with how we (Christians, atheists, liberals, conservatives, etc.) tend to misuse Scripture for our own purposes. We seldom stop to recognize how our culture, history, family, theology, church, etc., affect the way we read Scripture. My first foray into the topic was a look at Jeremiah 29:11. We often read this verse as a promise that God has a specific, detailed, individualized plan for each of our lives (one doctoral student recently called this concept, "The White Board God"). Maybe God has that plan, maybe God doesn't, but Jeremiah 29:11 is about something else entirely.

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Eugene Peterson, Poetry, and The Voice

David Capes - March 7, 2013

Eugene H. Peterson writes, “Poetry is language used with intensity. … Poets tell us what our eyes, blurred with too much gawking, and our ears, dulled with too much chatter, miss around and within us. . . .” (from Psalms: Prayers of the Heart).

 Have you ever stopped to think how much of the Bible is actually poetry?  It is more than you think. 

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David Capes - March 1, 2013

Today's guest post is by Dr. Andy Dearman.  Dr. Dearman is Associate Dean of the School of Theology and Professor of Old Testament for Fuller Seminary.  Dr. Dearman is well known Old Testament scholar.  He assisted us with the theological review of a number of Old Testament books for The Voice Bible.

by Andrew Dearman

Lenten observances have changed a lot in American Christianity in my lifetime.  For example, growing up Presbyterian in North Carolina in the 50’s and 60’s, I did not see many Protestants imposing ashes as part of their Lenten activities or engaging in fasting and Easter vigils.  Even though there is a long history in the Church of special preparations for Easter, such as the catechetical training of converts in preparation for an Easter baptismal service, the medieval connections to many Lenten practices have been traditionally rejected by Protestants.  In brief, I was told that Lenten fasting, etc, is what Catholics and Episcopalians do! 

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Justice, Justice, You Shall Pursue

David Capes - February 25, 2013

I just returned from the Justice Conference in Philadelphia.  I was there with Marianne Filiary, Frank Couch, Blake Aldridge, and Amy Stambaugh talking with people about The Voice Bible project.  We gave away 1000 copies of The Voice New Testament, about 2000 copies of NT downloads, and 1500 Hear the Voice t-shirts in various sizes (though we did run out of smalls).  It was a great conference because the halls were filled with great people and important organizations.

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Repentance, Walter White, and Breaking Bad

David Capes - February 19, 2013
Today's guest post is by Jack Wisdom, author of Get Low, a book exploring the problem of pride and virtue of humility.


Walter White, a post-middle-aged, mild-mannered, socially awkward high school chemistry teacher with a disabled son and a pregnant wife, learns that he has a very aggressive type of cancer.  His doctor tells him that he may only have a few months to live.  Walter decides to take an extraordinary step to ensure the financial security of his family; he takes on an alter ego (Heisenberg) and begins cooking crystal meth. 
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Punch Lines, Proof Texts, and Paul

David Capes - February 15, 2013
Today's guest post is from Dr. J. R. Dodson, Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas.  Dr. Dodson earned his PhD from the University of Aberdeen and is one of the finest, young scholars I know.  He assisted with the scholarly review on several of the letters written by Paul.

Punch Lines, Proof Texts, and Paul
by Dr. J. R. Dodson

A text taken out of context is a pretext for a proof text; a text taken out of context is a pretext for a proof text; a text taken out of context...”[1] If you were to pop by one of my Exegesis classes, there’s a good chance you’d hear me leading students in that chant. Read More

"You are dust . . . "

David Capes - February 6, 2013

Easter comes early this year: March 31, 2013.  A long time ago it was decided to set the date of Easter as the first Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox (or the first day of spring).  The decision was a long and complicated one, but a key factor was this: since Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to his disciples on a Sunday, then Easter should be on a Sunday.  Other proposals had it so Easter could fall on any day of the week.  The church, in its wisdom, decided instead to have Easter fall every year on Sunday.  In a real sense, every Sunday is a little Easter.

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Hear the Voice, Baylor

David Capes - January 30, 2013

I had the privilege recently of traveling to Baylor University to share with students and faculty about The Voice Bible project.  Baylor is a great university located in the heart of Texas. 

In many ways, Baylor was central to the creation of The Voice Bible project. 

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The Power of Contentment

David Capes - January 24, 2013

I don’t want to rain on anybody’s parade, but I’m afraid I’m about to.  I recall a professor of mine saying repeatedly, “I don’t want to piously believe something that is not true.”  I wonder how much of what we think or believe is just not true, regardless of how passionately we believe it.  Case in point: Philippians 4:13.  Like many of you I memorized it from the King James Version: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” 

For many people Philippians 4:13 has been one of their favorite verses from the Bible.  They quote it consistently as they are facing some obstacle. Some take it almost as proof of nearly super-hero status.  I CAN DO ALL THINGS. 

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What Is A Story?

David Capes - January 19, 2013

“A story is a way to say something which can’t be said any other way, and it takes every word in the story to say it.”  --Flannery O’Connor

I thought I’d revisit a post I wrote back in 2011 because it received a number of comments and continues to be relevant. I was inspired recently by a statement Flannery O’Connor made about “story.”  She was a gifted southern writer whose stories continue garner attention. 

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The Hobbit

David Capes - January 15, 2013

I saw the new movie “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” the night of my birthday.  The whole evening was a gift from my son and daughter-in-law to the family for Christmas.  We entered a theater in Houston, sat at small tables, and waiters took our orders during the previews.  When the food arrived, the previews were over and in a few minutes the theater lights dimmed and for the next 2 ½ hours we were transported to Middle Earth.

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Word for word or Thought for thought?

David Capes - January 7, 2013

I’m often asked whether The Voice is a word-for-word translation or a thought-for-thought translation.  That phraseology has become a standard way of delineating the more formal from the less formal translations.  I write about this more thoroughly in an upcoming book called The Story of The Voice.  It will be released in spring 2013 by Thomas Nelson.

Let's be honest. The categories are themselves problematic.

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Epiphany: Why was Jesus baptized?

David Capes - January 2, 2013

Epiphany is January 6th.  It marks the end of the Christmas season.  Between Christmas day and Epiphany are the 12 days of Christmas, which most know these days through the English carol. 

The word “epiphany” comes from the Greek; it means “manifestation” or “appearance.”  It was used primarily in religious texts to describe the appearance of a god. Essentially, Epiphany as a holy-day is the celebration that God has become a human being in Jesus of Nazareth.  In the west the holiday is commonly associated with the arrival of the wise men to see the baby Jesus. In the east Christians link Epiphany to the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan by John the Immerser.  You may recall the heavenly voice said as Jesus came up from the water, “This is my Son whom I love, with him I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17).  In baptism God’s Son is revealed to the world. 

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Jesus . . . disturbing presence

David Capes - December 27, 2012

Not long after Jesus was born in Bethlehem, wise men from the east arrived in Jerusalem asking questions.  While living in the east they had seen an unusual star in the sky.  They knew the night sky like the back of their hands, so any change, however slight, caught their attention.  They journeyed west to the land we know today as Israel and asked where the King of the Jews was to be born. 

Their quest set in motion the events that followed.

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David Capes - December 17, 2012

I remember trying to read the Bible all the way through in a year.  It was a long time ago but I was committed to working through all 66 books.  At that time the only Bible I had was the King James Version. When I came to Matthew—the first book of the New Testament—I was confronted immediately by the first chapter which provides a genealogy of Jesus.


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Advent Conspiracy

David Capes - December 10, 2012

A lot of faithful Christians have expressed discomfort with the way Christmas has become so materialistic and consumer-driven. You probably saw Christmas trees and decorations going up in the stores back in September.  Immediately after Thanksgiving there is Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Now for the next 2-3 weeks the pressure will be on to buy gifts, go deeper in debt, and attend lots of parties. Now nothing is wrong with gift-giving and great conversation with friends over good food. The problem comes when we are so immersed in the consumer culture and we spend way too much and forget to honor the one for whom the season is named.  


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Happy New Year, Church!

David Capes - December 4, 2012

On December 3 a friend and colleague of mine at HBU, Dr. Evan Getz, wished me “Happy New Year!”  My first thought was: that’s a bit early.  My second was:  oh . . . right . . .


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A Remarkable Day

David Capes - November 28, 2012

As I look back over the journey we’ve been on with the Voice project, there are a number of moments that stand out.  One of those happened in 2004 when Chris Seay and I boarded an early morning flight to Nashville for what would turn out to be a remarkable day.

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Unique But Not Special

David Capes - November 24, 2012

My wife and I led a seminar at our church for couples who are planning on getting married in the next year.  In the first session we talked about the ideal of marriage, oneness, and some of the things we’ve learned over the last 35 years of being together.

After our presentation we asked for questions and a young woman responded.  I’m not sure it was a question as much as it was a comment.  She said that she and her fiancé had been living together and had even purchased a house together, so much of our advice seemed irrelevant to her because their situation was so different than the situation my wife and I faced many years ago.   

Well her situation was also different than many of the people in the class. 

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Where did the title "The Voice" come from?

David Capes - November 10, 2012

I have been asked more than once where the title “The Voice” came from.  I wasn’t privy to all the discussions.  I can’t even say who made the final decision; but when I had to chance to give some input into the process, I did.  Let me share with you my line of thinking about why “The Voice” is a good title for our project.

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The Invisible Children of Uganda

David Capes - November 6, 2012
Perhaps you saw or heard of the movie “The Invisible Children” released a few years ago about Joseph Kony.  Kony is the self-appointed, charismatic leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, a guerilla army waging war in several central African states especially Uganda.  He has been accused of abducting children and turning them into sex-slaves and soldiers.  Approximately 66,000 children have been stolen from their families and turned into soldiers and over 2 million people have been displaced by Kony’s guerilla tactics.  The International Criminal Court has indicted Kony for crimes against humanity.  Read More


David Capes - November 1, 2012

I grew up at a church where the word “saved” was used a lot.  “Are you saved?” someone might ask.  Or a testimony might begin, “I was saved when I was 12 years old.”   In that context “saved” meant that a person is going to heaven after he or she dies.  Assurance of salvation then refers to the confidence people can have in knowing that they are going to heaven after they die.  Now this is a perfectly good way and important way of using the word “saved;” but the more I read the Bible, the more I learn that the word “saved” and all the other words the Bible uses to talk about being “saved”—words like redeemed, forgiven, set free, justified, chosen, set apart, adopted, reconciled, glorified—reveal that salvation is far more than knowing that after death we will be present with the Lord.

Don't stop now.  Keep reading.

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The "Line of Separation"

David Capes - October 27, 2012

I’m not often quoted.  Seldom have I said anything original that is worth being repeated, but a few years ago I made a statement which some people have picked up on.  Let me explain.

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"God's Restorative Justice"

David Capes - October 21, 2012

There is a phrase in Paul’s letters that is notoriously difficult to translate.  It occurs at key moments in major letters like Romans and 2 Corinthians.  Most often the phrase is translated into English as “the righteousness of God.”  In The Voice we chose to translate it differently.  Any idea why?

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Spontaneous Prayer

David Capes - October 16, 2012

I come from a tradition that privileges “spontaneous prayer” and looks suspiciously on scripted prayers or prayers written beforehand.  According to this perspective, spontaneous prayer means prayer from the heart while prescribed prayers or prayers written down beforehand are not from the heart.  I accepted this myself for many years until I met some remarkable Christians and began to read and reflect on Scripture.

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"Graduating" from THE VOICE?

David Capes - October 11, 2012

I had the great privilege of spending a few days in San Diego recently at the invitation of Mark Strauss, professor of New Testament at Bethel Seminary in San Diego.  It is a great seminary which has been training pastors and church leaders since 1979.  If you are in and around southern California looking for a seminary education, you need to check out Bethel.  They have a terrific faculty and a growing community of men and women  deeply committed to the church.  Right now, they are expanding their facilities.  I can’t wait to go back in a year or two to see the finished campus.

While there, a student asked me a good question about The Voice. 

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Bah! Humbug! (with apologies to Ebenezer Scrooge)

David Capes - October 5, 2012
“A new Bible translation. Bah!  Humbug!”  That’s the gist of what a fellow said to me and Frank Couch earlier this year.  Read More

One Page at a Time

David Capes - September 28, 2012

I was out at Azusa Pacific University recently talking about The Voice Bible project.  It is a terrific university for anyone interested in studying at a world-class Christian institution. Highly recommended! Dr. Kenneth Waters, who served as a reviewer on this translation, helped to set up the events.  Many thanks to him and his excellent staff!

As I was talking there, it dawned on me how we read Scripture today and why it is we just don’t get the “Big Idea” behind Scripture.  Put another way, why we don’t see the grand story of love and redemption—what scholars call the “meta-narrative”—located in the Bible.

If you're interested, keep reading and see if you agree.

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The Divine Name (part 3)

David Capes - September 23, 2012

One of the most important decisions any Bible translation team has to make has to do with how their translation will treat the divine name.  The Voice translation team looked hard at the question and decided to translate God’s name “the Eternal.”  In the last post I shared with you two reasons we took that approach.  In this third and last post on the question, I want to share with you our final reason. 

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The Divine Name (part 2)

David Capes - September 17, 2012

In the last post I shared with you that early in the project we decided to translate God’s name (YHWH) “the Eternal One” or “the Eternal.”  In this post and the next, I want to give you some of our thinking.

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The Divine Name (part 1)

David Capes - September 13, 2012

One of the important questions we had to answer before we could move forward with The Voice was this: how do we translate the divine name?

While many titles are attributed to God in the Scripture (e.g., “Lord,” “God,” “God-All-Powerful,” “Commander of heavenly armies”), there is only one name by which God is to be most clearly known; the name is revealed to Moses at Mt. Sinai.  It is used about 6000 times in the Old Testament to refer to the One, True God of Israel. 

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"Watered down?"

David Capes - September 10, 2012

One of the criticisms made of all contemporary, readable Bible translations is that they are “watered down” versions of God’s Word.  Interestingly, the people who make those charges never give examples of how the new translations dilute the Scripture.  Still that doesn’t stop them from making what amounts to a baseless accusation. 

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Lord Sabaoth

David Capes - September 4, 2012

As you probably know by now, we struggled to translate the titles referring to God and Jesus in The Voice Bible.  One of those is a combination of the name of God (YHWH) and a Hebrew title (Sabaoth).  Many Bible versions simply translate God’s name as “LORD” (note, all caps) and then transliterate the title into English.  The result is the combination: “LORD Sabaoth.”  That may work for other translations, but the Voice translation team was not satisfied to transliterate titles like this.  After all “Lord Sabaoth” sounds like a character in Star Wars: “Lord Sabaoth, the death star is complete.”


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A Few Days in Austin, TX

David Capes - August 27, 2012

Most of our collaboration on The Voice took place by means of technology: through email, Internet, SKYPE, and cell phones.  In some cases the work was personal, that is, people knew and worked closely with their reviewers and commentators. In other cases, the work together was anonymous.  It is standard practice in scholarly work for a person’s book or article to be reviewed anonymously, so neither the writers nor the reviewers know the identity of the other.  This process ensures that a person’s feelings—positively or negatively—about another do not affect the quality of the review.  I understood the need for those checks and balances.

But there were a few remarkable occasions when writers and scholars actually sat down together, face-to-face, to work through a translation.

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The Drew Marshall Show

David Capes - August 23, 2012

I have had a great time talking with people about The Voice Bible over the last few months.  I've talked with students, pastors, reporters, and talk show hosts.  One of my favorite conversations took place back in July with Drew Marshall.  He hosts a great talk show up in Toronto.  In fact, it is Canada's top show on spirituality.  He has had some amazing guests over the years.   I was glad to be one of them. 

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A Memorable Cover: The Voice of Hebrews

David Capes - August 16, 2012

Today's guest post is by Scott Lee of Scott Lee Designs.  His company designed the covers for a number of Voice products and other Thomas Nelson products.


A Memorable Cover: The Voice of Hebrews

by Scott Lee

I was walking downtown one day and came across this homeless guy on the sidewalk and thought he looked like a great old, biblical character. Since I knew we were working on the cover to The Voice of Hebrews: the Mystery of Melchizedek, I thought it would be a great idea to shoot him as a model and use him on one of the proposed cover designs. You see, when a publisher hires a design agency to create a book cover, the agency sends them a lot of comps (proposed designs), to choose from. I asked him if he would be interested in wearing a costume and letting me shoot some pictures of him for a book cover, for money of course, and he said, “you bet!”


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An Eclectic Translation

David Capes - August 6, 2012

A reporter from the Associated Press asked me a question about The Voice translation recently. It was not a question I had heard before, but it was an insightful question.  She asked specifically about the translation of Luke 11. 

(1)  Jesus says to the Pharisees: “You guys don’t get it. . . .” (Luke 11:40)

(2) Then, Jesus says to them: “Woe to you, Pharisees. . . . “ (Luke 11:42, 43, 44)

She noticed correctly that the first statement has a contemporary ring to it: “You guys don’t get it!”  But then the translation reverts to a more ancient sound: “Woe to you!”  The reporter said, “We don’t talk like that today!”

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Bible Covers Made in Argentina

David Capes - July 23, 2012

Buenos Aires is a study in contrasts.  Founded in the 16th century by a small band of Europeans, the city today has 13,000,000 citizens who come from all over the world.  It is the wealthiest city in the southern hemisphere, but one-third of its population lives in poverty.  Half a million make their home in shanty towns where violence, danger, and deprivation are their daily reality. 

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Idiomatically Speaking

David Capes - July 9, 2012

I’m working on a book entitled The Making of the Voice.  It will tell the story of how the Voice Bible came to be, talk about the people and the process, and discuss some of the translation decisions we made.  As I was researching for the book, I came across a paragraph in a book by Gordon Fee and Mark Strauss entitled How to Choose a Translation for All Its Worth (Zondervan 2007).  It is a terrific book, one I highly recommend  if you interested in Scripture.

In a section on translating idioms I found a fun paragraph I want to share with you.

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"All Men Are Created Equal"

David Capes - July 3, 2012

I thought I would depart from my normal blog posting today.  Typically this blog is about The Voice: the story of how it came to be, the people, and some of the decisions we made in the translation itself.  But since this is the week of Independence Day, I thought I’d tell you a story I heard recently from one of my former students.  It reveals a great deal about the character of our country.

The names have been changed to protect their identities.

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Is THE VOICE a "conservative" translation?

David Capes - June 28, 2012

A few weeks ago a pastor asked whether The Voice is a “conservative” translation?  Frank Couch did his best to answer the question, but frankly I didn’t understand the question.

Translations are not “conservative” or “liberal;” translations are either faithful in rendering the original languages in readable, accessible English or they are not. In translation theory there is no category for “conservative” or “liberal.”

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English or Biblish?

David Capes - June 21, 2012
I remember a conversation I had with a friend years ago.  He was lamenting the fact that modern Bible translations like the New King James Version and the New American Standard Version had dropped words like “Thee,” “Thou,” “Thine,” “art” (as in the Lord’s prayer: “Our Father, who art in heaven . . . “) and “hast.”  These words were typical of the 16th and 17th centuries but have long since fallen out of use with most English-speaking people. The only time people may have heard or used them was “in church.”  For my friend, the Bible was not the Bible if it didn’t sound . . . well “Biblish.”  Read More

A Londoner at the Astros Game

David Capes - June 16, 2012

When Chris Seay started Ecclesia, he had a great idea.  He purchased Houston Astros season tickets in the upper deck of Minute Maid Park and would use the opportunity to connect with new and old friends.  Church growth via 81 home games and America’s favorite past time.  The idea worked well.  A number of lives have been changed forever as the Killer B’s (Biggio, Bagwell, and Berkman) rounded the bases and headed for home. 

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The Bible's Tone of Voice

David Capes - June 11, 2012

Professor Creig Marlowe, one of our Old Testament scholars on the Voice, offers today's post on the tone of Voice we find in Scripture.

Each of us at one point or another has been told, when our words fell on deaf ears: "It's not what you said, it's how you said it." The statement you made may have been factual, but its "tone" was disagreeable. Someone once said something to the effect, "I can't hear what you say over the noise of who you are." Sadly many react similarly to the Bible.

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Are the chapters and verses inspired?

David Capes - June 4, 2012
We recently had a fan of The Voice Bible email us to say that we had left out a verse.  He told us to look at Acts 19 and see that there was no verse 7.  My first thought was, “that’s impossible.” You see we had about a dozen people checking and rechecking those kinds of things.  At one point I counted 14 levels of review from start to finish.  My second thought was, “I better check this out!” Read More

God . . . He. God . . . She. God . . . It

David Capes - May 24, 2012

Frank Couch and I traveled recently to Allentown, Pennsylvania to talk with a group of pastors and church leaders about The Voice.  During the Q&A time somebody asked a tough question.  I wasn’t really ready for it.

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Kelly "Black Arrow"

David Capes - May 18, 2012

I recall meeting Kelly Hall early on in the Voice project.  Chris had asked Kelly to assist Ecclesia Bible Society with managing crucial aspects of what would prove to be a mammoth task.  Kelly, her husband Mark, and children were members of Ecclesia Houston at the time.  Kelly has an amazing story and, in addition to being a terrific person, wife, and mom, she possesses a number of wonderful gifts as a writer and poet. Chris spotted those gifts and asked Kelly to come along and help us.  I’m sure glad she said “yes.”

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David Capes - May 12, 2012
In 2004 Chris Seay invited me to lunch at Saltgrass Steak House in Houston.  He had an idea and wanted to talk about it over some good food.  Projects and conversation are always better over food. 

After the conversation I was hooked.  Had there been a dotted line, I would have signed. . . . . . . .

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The Nexus of Holiness and Mission

David Capes - May 8, 2012

Jack Wisdom is one of the scholars who helped us on The Voice Bible.  Recently, I heard him give a talk on holiness and thought we ought to share it.  Holiness is an important kingdom quality, but it is often misunderstood.  In this guest blog, Jack deconstructs our false notions and replaces it with something more genuine.

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The Voice and The Message

David Capes - May 4, 2012
People often ask what The Voice Bible is like.  They will sometimes follow that up with: “is it likeThe Message?”  At that point I pause to see what is coming next. Do they like The Message or do they not? Read More

Easter: "the Big Bang" of the New Creation

David Capes - May 1, 2012

I’m still thinking about Easter.  I know.  Easter was a few weeks ago, I should be on to something else now.  But frankly, Easter is just one of those days that takes time to process.  When you think of it, Easter is more than a day; it’s a season.  Truth be told, every Sunday is “a little Easter” as we gather together to celebrate the risen Lord.

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In the beginning

David Capes - April 26, 2012

The day before I was interviewed by Carol Costello on CNN, one of her assistants emailed me and asked for an example how The Voice is different.  I thought about it briefly and sent her Genesis 1:1 in the King James and The Voice.  

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Crazy Week

David Capes - April 21, 2012

This last week was a crazy week but also a good week for THE VOICE. 

Sunday April 15, 2012 Bob Smietana published an important article about The Voice in The Tennessean, Nashville’s hometown paper.  Here is a link to Bob's original article: "Bible Gets New Voice."

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Don't Give Up, Keith

David Capes - April 13, 2012
Creig Marlowe, an Old Testament professor who teaches in Europe, has become a good friend through The Voice project.  Early in 2008 he gave us a great idea for an ad campaign called: "Don't Give Up Keith."  I asked him to tell us about it. Read More

The Most Interesting Man in the World

David Capes - April 9, 2012
I’ve been mildly amused over the last few years by a series of commercials on television.  You’ve probably seen them. They describe “the most interesting man in the world.”  Here are some of my favorite lines:  Read More

Fighting the Devil

Sviatoslav Bouz - February 22, 2012
Editor's note: Sviatoslav is one of our Voice fans. He says: "It is truly a one-of-a-kind reading experience for it presents the Bible to the reader in a form that we are all familiar with. We all watch movies, shows, and some perhaps read plays; well reading this translation creates a similar experience. But it is the actual writing itself that is so beautifully well written in my opinion. It is simple to read but never losses the initial intent of what is being said.

“In my opinion I believe EVERYONE should own and read a copy of this translation. It has improved my understanding and has given me a new way of thinking but some subjects. I highly recommend it!"

This is Svaitoslav's story:

I am well aware of what religious persecution is. I was born into a Christian home in Belarus in what was known as the Soviet Union. My great-grandfather gave out Bibles and literature on the street. The KGB tried to silence him, but to no avail, so he was sentenced to 25 years in a Siberian labor camp for his faith. 

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In the Stillness

Laura Dickerson - January 24, 2012

The start of a new year always brings with it a mixture of feelings and looking back. Sighs about what could have gone better and hidden smiles when you remember those moments where everything came together. Where the stars seemed to align for it all to fall into place…

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The Bible in 4-D!

David Capes - January 3, 2012
The first 3-D film I recall seeing was Avatar (2009).  I sat down in the theater with a big, icy Dr. Pepper at my right hand; a big, steaming bag of popcorn at my left; and a big, clunky pair of 3-D glasses wedged onto my forehead. When the movie began, I slid the glasses over my eyes and for the next 171 minutes I was caught up in an amazing bit of science fiction driven by stunning visuals. I watched as bugs and bits of debris seemed to hang in the air between me and the screen. I flinched more than once as objects appeared to fly in my direction. Read More

Looking Back on a Journey

Kelly Hall - December 22, 2011

I am in a coffee shop writing this blog. I put it off until the last minute because of deadlines and because I love Maleah Bell at Thomas Nelson too much to fall behind on them.

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Who is The Voice for?

David Capes - December 12, 2011

Who is The Voice for? Everyone! 

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We're talking Christmas! Listen to our Voice!

Julie Belschner - December 5, 2011

For all of you who read this, I’m guessing your days are filled with cookie-baking, candy-making, package-wrapping and celebration-planning. My days are filled with all of that, topped with Voice-sending.

A pastor in North Carolina, Jamie Vaughan, told us about a ministry his church was involved in with the Dan Valley Baptist Association, called the Toy Store.

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Remembering Merrie

Misty Bourne - November 21, 2011

The day the text of The Voice was finally ready to go to the printer, we had quite a commotion in our corner of the building. There were tears, laughter, and even (dare I confess?) a little dancing! Seven years of laborious efforts were coming to a close for our internal editor on the project, the only one in the building that day who had worked on it for so long. I cried with her, even though I had only worked on The Voice for a few months.

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The Voice translation? What's that?

David Capes - November 7, 2011

When people hear of a new Bible translation, they want to know: What it is like? What kind of translation is it? 

Both are good questions, but like most good questions they are hard to answer.

(photo caption: Thomas Nelson Marketing Specialist Karen Barnes reads The Voice in a comfortable niche.)

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Where did the Voice inspiration come from?

David Capes - October 31, 2011

I have been asked on a number of occasions where the inspiration for the Voice Project comes from. I don’t want to over-spiritualize this question, but I do think at some deep level God is on the move right now in unique ways and the Voice Project is an outgrowth of that. Ultimately, everything comes from God -- the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we share – and in that sense God has inspired this project. Throughout history God has inspired and used people to accomplish His purposes.

(Photo caption: from left, Laura Dickerson, Lindsay Williams and Karen Barnes, all on the Thomas Nelson Bible Group Marketing Team, bring more than 12,000 copies of The Voice to the Catalyst convention in Atlanta.) 

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Karen & Laura - October 3, 2011
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The Power of the Story Reaches Us

David Capes - September 26, 2011

We received a question on our Voice Facebook page from one of our fans.
                 Question: "What is propositional-based thought and how does it apply to us?"

The fan is referring to the introduction in one of The Voice products where we observe that people do not respond to propositions as well as they respond to stories. This, of course, is nothing new. People have been telling stories for thousands of years. Humans are hard-wired to tell stories, remember them and pass them along to others. 

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Logos - "The Voice"

Julie Belschner - September 1, 2011
The Voice, the very God through whom all was created, is called logos in Greek and has been translated as the "Word," but truly is the expression of God: the logic, the verbalization, the speaking, the Voice.

John tells us it is this Voice who creates the heavens and earth. God Speaks and worlds are born. As Genesis tells it, the cosmos begins and is shaped by God's Voice. John could not agree more, but his unique insight comes as he identifies Jesus as that Expression or Voice.

- from commentary found in The Voice New Testament, to be released Oct. 12

While the ancient term logos does mean the Word, there is much more held in that expression than what we, in our time, immediately think of. In ancient Greek it literally meant the expression of an idea. The concept and the fullness of its expression is the point here and not the unique arrangement of letters. Read More

Test or Temptation?

David Capes -
I'm in a small group at our church, Ecclesia Houston (www.ecclesiahouston.org).  We're working through a book by Ben Stuart, executive director of Breakaway Ministries, a non-denominational weekly Bible study for 10,000 plus college students at Texas A&M University.  The book is a study of the book of James, one of the most neglected books in the New Testament. Read More