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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.
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.
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.
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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:
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?"Read More
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.
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.Read More
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
24 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 boat. 26 The disciples saw a figure moving toward them and were terrified.
“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.Read More
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.Read More
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."Read More
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
By 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.Read More
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).
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.Read More
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:Read More
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.
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.Read More
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.
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.
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.Read More
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.Read More
"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.
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.Read More
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.
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.
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.Read More
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!
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
“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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.
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.Read More
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.
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.
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 . . .
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.Read More
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.
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.Read More
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.
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.Read More
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?Read More
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.Read More
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.
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.
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.”
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.Read More
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.Read More
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!”
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!”Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.”Read More
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.Read More
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.
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.Read More
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.”Read More
After the conversation I was hooked. Had there been a dotted line, I would have signed. . . . . . . .
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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."Read More
“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.Read More
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…Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.)
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.)
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.