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.
Professor Strauss is known around the nation and world as a top NT scholar. He is one of the experts I like to follow. In fact, I am using his book Four Portraits of Jesus (Zondervan) as a textbook in the spring. He and Gordon Fee teamed up to write another great book—one I’ve had reason to quote in this blog—entitled How to Choose a Bible Translation for All Its Worth. If you have questions about the theory and practice behind Bible translation, it would be well worth your time to read this book.
While talking with students at Bethel Seminary about The Voice, I mentioned that we did this translation to reach people who are reluctant readers of the Bible or people who have never picked the Bible up before. As the conversation developed, one student asked about people “graduating” from The Voice to other, more formal translations like the New International Version or the English Standard Version. As I started to answer the question, affirming that we would see that as a good outcome, Professor Strauss chimed in and said, “I don’t see why anyone would need to graduate from The Voice.” He went on to talk about how important it is for us to have a plurality of translations to choose from. No one translation, he said, captures the fullness of God’s message to us. As we engage various translations, we hear God’s voice addressing us in fresh new ways.
I was grateful for Professor Strauss’ thoughts. Many people who are avid Bible readers have told me how much they appreciate the approach taken in The Voice even if their favorite translations are more formal. We started this project with a missional purpose: to get the Scriptures in the hands of people 18-35 years old. I’m thrilled to see and learn of that happening around the world.
I’m heading to Baylor University October 13th to talk about The Voice. A few days later I travel to Beeson Seminary at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. Both are great, historic schools. Who knows? We may be coming to a school near you sometime this year.
Grace & peace.