Before Time Was Measured The Voice Was Speaking

The Voice translation of the New Testament is now available and the title of this post is its rendering of the first part of John 1:1. You can download a copy of the Gospel of John for free. Don’t just jump right in to reading the translation though; just take a moment to read through the Preface to see where this translation is coming from and what it is meant to achieve. It’s goals are admirable but unfortunately its method and product raise a lot of questions concerning its status as a translation. Interesting, thought-provoking discussion is underway on the Extreme Theology blog in the post and comments of Review of The Voice New Testament – Part One. Secondly, a worthwhile question is being raised both on Extreme Theology and the Politically Correct blog whether such a translation leads the sponsoring group into cultish territory.

My Thoughts

Below are the thoughts I left in a comment on Extreme Theology:

Reading the prefaces indicates they’ve gone wrong from the start:

“First, accomplished writers create an English rendering; then, respected Bible scholars adjust the rendering to align the manuscript with the original texts.”

This raises all kinds of questions: What Vorlage (if not the GNT) are the “accomplished writers” using? If they’re consulting an English translation, the Voice Translation goes from Greek to English to “accomplished writer” tweaking to only then consulting “the original texts” to the finished product. This is surely backwards: re-interpreting English translated from Greek which is tweaked by Greek to arrive at English. Woah. No wonder they’re arriving at outlandish translations/interpretations.

Moreover, we primarily English readers already have a hard time enough trying to recognize OT allusions in the NT (intertextuality or whatever’s the best term) without replacing terms like “Messiah” with “the Liberator.” Indeed this is only one aspect of the expected Messiah.

Finally, though they claim “it is time to bring the body of Christ together again around the Bible” (page one of Preface) they unnecessarily distant themselves–yay, cut themselves off–from the last millennia of Christianity by removing words like “baptism” and “repentance.” I’m afraid more so than already people won’t have a clue what they’re talking about in their striving to be understood, contemporary and non-divisive.


One should be very careful about adopting The Voice as a primary translation. Undoubtedly, if you do adopt it, you will see things in Scripture you’ve never seen before. But then you have to ask yourself: is that because it’s actually in the original text or because the translators have taken liberties with the text? If this is not a question you feel like you can answer, sticking with the English Standard Version or the King James would seem the wise decision.

Promotional Video

Here is a promotional video about the translation:

Gospel of John Reader

And, finally, here is an embedded reader for the Gospel of John: