Thursday, April 19, 2012

Hearing "The Voice" (Just Not the Savior's)

There is a new Bible paraphrase entitled The Voice.  I had read that this work was produced but not anything concerning its content.  As I listened to an interview of Dr. Andrew Steinmann, my eyes were opened.  I have read large portions of paraphrases over the years, such as The Living Bible, Good News for Modern Man, and The Message and am fully aware of the liberties taken to make the Bible "relevant."  This work seeks a new low in content as it is entering blatant gnostic waters, which Dr Steinmann pointed out using the following text from John 1:9-18 as an example:

        9The true Light, who shines upon the heart of everyone, was coming into the cosmos.
        10He entered our world, a world He made; yet the world did not recognize Him.  11Even though He came to His own people, they refused to listen and receive Him.  12But for all who did receive and trust in Him, He gave them the right to be reborn as children of God; 13He bestowed this birthright not by human power or initiative but by God’s will.
        14The Voice took on flesh and became human and chose to live alongside us.  We have seen Him, enveloped in undeniable splendor—the one true Son of the Father—evidenced in the perfect balance of grace and truth.  15John the Baptist testified about Him and shouted, “This is the one I’ve been telling you is coming. He is much greater than I am because He existed long before me.”  16Through this man we all receive gifts of grace beyond our imagination.  17You see, Moses gave us rules to live by, but Jesus the Anointed offered us gifts of grace and truth.  18God, unseen until now, is revealed in the Voice, God’s only Son, straight from the Father’s heart.

If you suddenly feel the need to take appropriate measures to rid yourself of that rancid taste in your mouth, I understand.  While there are some narrative portions that are helped by the phraseology, the doctrinal and theological points are muddled: the living and abiding word of God is effectively neutered.  Here is a comparison of Titus 3:1-11 as a further example.

The VoiceESV
1And remind them of this: respect the rulers and the courts. Obey them. Be ready to do what is good and honorable. 2Don’t tear down another person with your words. Instead, keep the peace, and be considerate. Be truly humble toward everyone 3because there was a time when we, too, were foolish, rebellious, and deceived—we were slaves to sensual cravings and pleasures; and we spent our lives being spiteful, envious, hated by many, and hating one another. 4But then something happened: God our Savior and His overpowering love and kindness for humankind entered our world; 5He came to save us. It’s not that we earned it by doing good works or righteous deeds; He came because He is merciful. He brought us out of our old ways of living to a new beginning through the washing of regeneration; and He made us completely new through the Holy Spirit, 6who was poured out in abundance through Jesus the Anointed, our Savior. 7All of this happened so that through His grace we would be accepted into God’s covenant family and appointed to be His heirs, full of the hope that comes from knowing you have eternal life. 8This is a faithful statement of what we believe. 1Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, 2to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.  3For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.  4But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.  8The saying is trustworthy,
Concerning this, I want you to put it out there boldly so that those who believe in God will be constant in doing the right things, which will benefit all of us. 9Listen, don’t get trapped in brainless debates; avoid competition over family trees or pedigrees; stay away from fights and disagreements over the law. They are a waste of your time. 10If a person is causing divisions in the community, warn him once; and if necessary, warn him twice. After that, avoid him completely 11because by then you are sure that you are dealing with a corrupt, sinful person. He is determined to condemn himself. And I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works.  These things are excellent and profitable for people.  9But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.  10 As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, 11knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.

I checked the list of translators, and there are several excellent conservative scholars.  Then I checked the list of Writing/Creative Team and immediately saw a problem.  While the use of effective wordsmiths is not in itself a bad thing, clarity and accuracy are to be paramount.  This writing team has many individuals who are notable for obfuscating the plain text of scripture to their own ends.  I can only think that the eventual point of consensus must have been where everyone was least offended by the plain, clear truth.

Thankfully, I paid no money to inspect this train wreck.  Please do not waste yours by securing a copy.

Thomas Nelson Bibles should be ashamed of this project.

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