The Voice

Wayne mentioned The Voice New Testament in a comment on Dave’s post and I was interested in having a look at it. Here is a sample for those who don’t want to download the Gospel of John.

    Before time itself was measured, the Voice was speaking. The Voice was and is God. 2 This celestial Voice remained ever present with the Creator; 3His speech shaped the entire cosmos. Immersed in the practice of creating, all things that exist were birthed in Him. 4His breath filled all things with a living, breathing light. 5 Light that thrives in the depths of darkness, blazing through murky bottoms. It cannot, and will not, be quenched.

    6 A man named John, who was sent by God, was the first to clearly articulate the source of this unquenchable Light. 7This wanderer, John who ritually cleansed,* put in plain words the elusive mystery of the Divine Light that all might believe through him. Because John spoke with power, many believed in the Light. Others wondered whether he might be the Light, 8 but John was not the Light. He merely pointed to the Light; and in doing so, he invited the entire creation to hear the Voice.

    9 The true Light, who shines upon the heart of everyone, was coming into the cosmos. 10 He does not call out from a distant place but draws near. He enters our world, a world He made and speaks clearly, yet His creation did not recognize Him. 11 Though the Voice utters only truth, His own people, who have heard the Voice before, rebuff this inner calling and refuse to listen. 12 But those who hear and trust the beckoning of the Divine Voice and embrace Him, they shall be reborn as children of God, 13He bestows this birthright not by human power or initiative but by God’s will. Because we are born of this world, we can only be reborn to God by accepting His call.

    14 The Voice that had been an enigma in the heavens chose to become human and live surrounded by His creations. We have seen Him. Undeniable splendor enveloped Him—the one true Son of God—evidenced in the perfect balance of grace and truth. 15 John, the wanderer who testified of the Voice, introduced Him. “This is the one I’ve been telling you is coming. He is much greater than I because He existed long before me.” 16 Through this man we all receive gifts of grace beyond our imagination. He is the Voice of God. 17 You see, Moses gave us rules to live by, but Jesus the Liberating King offered the gifts of grace and truth which make life worth living. 18 God, unseen until now, is revealed in the Voice, God’s only Son, straight from the Father’s heart.

I am somewhat baffled by the large amount of added text in italics. Some of it seems to be very legitimate implied information and other parts are more obscure.

I am, however, quite delighted with the term “voice” used instead of “word.” Here are a couple of extracts of the Book of Formation, a Hebrew text from the first few centuries AD.

    Ten Sefirot of Nothingness: One is the Breath of the Living God, blessed and benedicted be the Name of the Life of worlds. Voice, Breath [Spirit] and Speech. This is the Holy Breath [Spirit] (Ruach HaKodesh). …

    Twenty-two foundation letters: They are engraved with voice, carved with breath, and placed in the mouth in five places:

Although this text mentions the “sefirot,” it is a pre-kabbalah text, and not kabbalistic.

Peter asks,

    What do you all thing of “the Voice” instead of “the Word”?

I think this opens a very interesting conversation on the primacy of the spoken over the printed word, for one thing, and perhaps many other contrasts.

An example of the dialogue in this version is also provided by Peter,

    Religious Leaders: Who are you?
    John the Immerser: 20I’m not the Liberator, if that is what you are asking.
    Religious Leaders: 21Your words sound familiar, like a prophet’s. Is that how we should address you? Are you the Prophet Elijah?
    John the Immerser: No, I am not Elijah.
    Religious Leaders: Are you the Prophet Moses told us would come?
    John the Immerser: No.

    They continued to press John, unsatisfied with the lack of information.

    Religious Leaders: 22Then tell us who you are and what you are about because everyone is asking us, especially the Pharisees, and we must prepare an answer.

4 thoughts on “The Voice

  1. David Ker says:

    I like Voice. Portuguese and Spanish translations use “verbo” rather than “voz” which I think is done to keep “the word” as masculine rather than feminine. I’m not crazy about the “he” used in a lot of translations because it let’s the cat out of the bag rather early. I’d prefer “it.”

    While Voice is a cool choice I’m having a tough time with “The Immerser” Sounds like a Schwarzeneger movie.

  2. mgvh says:

    I posted this on the Voice site as well:
    Lots to like about in this version, but it appears that a theological perspective can sometimes trump the Greek. John3.16, a classic example, is translated as: “For God expressed His love for the world in this way: He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not face everlasting destruction, but will have everlasting life.” I think it gets the initial phrase correct (“in this way”), but the last two phrases are wrong. John does not talk about everlasting life as something we “will have” but as something we “are having.” (The Greek verb is a Present Subjunctive.) A similar case goes for “…does not face [everlasting < not in the text and not necessarily implied] destruction. John simply does not have quite the future heaven/hell perspective that the Voice translation is imposing on the text.

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