As a host of the Christian Radio show “We Still Believe” (www.westillbelieve.org), I tend to say things as I see them,, sometimes rather bluntly. I consider myself a realist and jaded towards the ever evolving modern over-commercialized Christian culture (how’s that for a mouthful?). Let’s just say it takes a lot to impress me, even if a Christian does it. So when I was contacted about a new study bible, I was like, “Oh, how nice. Another study bible, yay.” Honestly, I thought not much of it. I thought I’ve seen them all before. If I had the opposite of a pet peeve, it would be being pleasantly surprised…and that I was.
This translation/version is known as “The Voice” (not to be confused with the NBC show “The Voice”). I had never heard of that translation before, so I was intrigued. One may ask, “Why is there a need for yet another translation of the Bible?” Well, I think of it this way. The only way to the Father is through the Son (Jesus). However, there are many ways to Jesus. I firmly believe that God can AND DOES use anything he can to bring people to his Son. So, although there is only one scripture, there are many ways to get it to the masses. Some versions are better than others. Most bibles are just a burden to read if you are like me and easily distracted. What I like about this bible is it breaks it down in an easy to read format.
The most striking and original difference between this bible and any other bible I read as there is no confusion as to who is speaking and to whom. This is accomplished through a screenplay format and italics in parenthesis as to how a response is being given. For example, when Jesus was speaking with his disciples, you would see:
Jesus: Why don’t you give them something to eat?
Disciples (looking at Him): What? It would cost a fortune to buy bread for these people!
This format alone makes things much easier to follow especially trying to read a lot in one sitting. In the more complicated passages, they will have a little section in between or to the side that explains it in layman’s terms or from it’s historical or cultural perspective so it makes more sense to the modern reader.
What I especially appreciate is that the folks behind this project realized that there is a “widening division between culture and theology” and wanted to focus on uniting the church while staying as true as possible to the original and earliest manuscripts in Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic. Another interesting note is that God is referred to as the “Eternal One” and Jesus as “The Anointed”. I was taken aback by that but I read the preface and noticed that they wanted to stick to the what the bible says about God and Jesus’ name. Get ready for learning some theology there, among other places throughout the book.
They are not shy to admit that translations are hard especially from a languages that change over time (and it’s been thousands of years). They call their translation “contextual equivalence”, because they realize that the context of a word or sentence is of utmost importance to understanding what the author was trying to convey. How many times do Christians (with self-serving motives, mind you) use scripture out of context? In the end, what was actually MEANT means more than a collection of words written or spoken, and they get that.
If folks are looking for a direct literal translation without regard for the modern reader’s learning process, this bible is not for you. In fact, no bible is perfect at doing so. Do yourself a favor and get a concordance and a lexicon if you want to get that technical. But if you want to read a solid bible translation that wants to get through to today’s generation, and do justice to the translation to the best of its ability, the Compass Bible is for you.
For more information and where to get it, please go to the link below.
Thanks and God Bless! -Jay