Book Review – “The Voice of Psalms”

_140_245_Book.135.coverThe Voice of Psalms is one volume of a much larger ongoing scripture project being developed by Chris Seay and the Ecclesia Bible Society.  The Voice project is an attempt retelling the narrative of scripture that, according to the introduction, "Involves translation and elaboration, but mostly entering into the story of the Scriptures and recreating the event for our culture and time.  It doesn't ignore the role of scholar, but it also values the role of writers, poets, songwriters, and artists."  When it comes to scripture words like "retelling" and "recreating" often make people nervous.  People don't like folks messing with what they know the scriptures to say.  The truth is, however, even some of the most trusted translations (IE: the NIV) come under great scrutiny and accustation from a certain audience.  I will say this, if you are a person who believes that there is only one appropriate and sacred translation of the holy scriptures, then there is no sense in you reading this review any further… or reading The Voice for that matter.  That being said, if you are looking for a telling of God's story that relates to our current North American culture and context, then The Voice is an excellent resource.  What makes this volume (and the whole series) different than other paraphrases (IE: The Message) is, I believe, is the successful balance between scholarship and artistry.  Artists have always been able to express to the masses what scholars cannot, so the inclusion of songwriters, artists and poets in the writing process is a valuable addition.  The scholarship of the project, however, helps keep the art from drifting too far from the original text.  Left to their own creativity, artists can easily stray from orthodoxy for the sake of artistic expression.  The team approach to writing The Voice of Psalms (and the entire Voice project) makes it both readable and reliable.  I have read several other volumes in this series and recently received The Voice New Testament.  As a pastor I would certainly recommend this volume and this series to anyone who wants to engage with the story of God.  I received The Voice of Psalms free from Thomas Nelson Publishers.  If you have a blog and want to get free books for review visit http://www.booksneeze.com

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