I really appreciate reading the Bible in various translations. Even though for strict Bible study I use a more traditional translation, for recreational or meditative reading, I enjoy The Message, for example.
In fact, reading the Bible in a totally different language can offer insights that you never gained in your mother tongue. That’s why studying the Bible in Chinese is such an enriching part of my devotional times.
So when I saw that the Thomas Nelson book review program Book Sneeze (terrible name, I know) was offering the emergent church’s version of the Psalms, I was excited to get a copy. I’ve read both positive and negative things about the emergent church, and I have mixed feelings about a lot of it. I thought that reading their version of the Psalms would reveal a lot about the movement.
I don’t know anything more about the emergent church after reading The Voice of Psalms, but I really, really like this book! It’s a beautiful translation of one of my favorite books of the Bible. In fact, I won’t even say that I read it. Instead, I savored it. And I am still savoring it.
The wording is poetic, but these are psalms, so that’s to be expected. But this poetry is different and fresh and a tad more modern. For those favorite psalms that I’ve almost memorized, this version is not so different as to be unrecognizable. But the concepts are presented with a freshness that causes me to see a new facet of the scripture instead of rushing over the familiar words.
Here are some examples:
Psalm 32:7 (NIV) You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.
Psalm 32:7 (Voice) You are my hiding place. You will keep my out of trouble and envelop me with songs that remind me I am free.
Just that small twist of wording– songs that remind me I am free — can bring a new insight to the Word. “That’s right! I am already free in Christ!”
Psalm 33:22 (NIV) May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in you.
Psalm 33:22 (Voice) O Eternal One, drench us with your endless love, even now as we wait for You.
When I read the Voice version, I’m struck by the fact that God’s love doesn’t just rest passively on us but it drenches us to the core. What a gorgeous and true image.
I highly recommend this book for your times of daily nourishment or when your prayer time needs a little kick start. Read a psalm as a prayer, and your own words will start to flow in response.
About half of the psalms have accompanying short blurbs– part devotional, part explanation. I am not too crazy about these. They seem silly (even cheesy) to me; I don’t feel I need anyone to interpret the psalm to me or make application to my life. But maybe a lot of people appreciate these kinds of nuggets. I just started skipping them.
Some details about the book:
- God is referred to as Eternal One. (Oh, I love that!)
- There are chapter and verse markings.
- The pages are a soothing mottled green and brown with pretty brown borders setting off the psalm headings.
There are four different reading plans outlined in the front of the book:
- 28 day Advent reading plan
- 40 day Lent reading plan
- 40 day worship reading plan
- 40 day seeking help from God reading plan
There is also a Voice New Testament, and I have added it to my wishlist. This has been my favorite Thomas Nelson book review so far. (No wonder! It’s the BIBLE!)