Posted by: judy | December 15, 2009

Chris Seay and Brian McLaren Partners in Heresy

A Scripture Project to Rediscover the Voice of the Bible

An Interview with the authors of  The Voice New Testament


  1. If Brian McLaren is involved then I doubt this will be worthy of God’s Glory.

    I can’t help but wonder why men think they need to improve on Scripture.

    Why do they think Scripture needs to be ‘re-discovered’? Was it lost?

    Do they really think they/man can improve on what God already wrote?

    Seems like pride and arrogance clothed in false humility, to me.

  2. Yvonne,

    You’re writing here is very confusing. I am sure you mean well, but your implications and assumptions are very, very weird. Do you a pastor or someone who is seminary trained that you could talk to since it seems you have serious misunderstandings about God’s Word.

    All of this conversation about the Message and The Voice (including Judy’s bizarre and flatly unbiblical statement that nobody needs to explain God’s Word) are about translations and English wording and how to render words written in different languages into English and not if anybody wants to “improve” on what God wrote. Surely you know–I assume you do, but your odd, self-righteous, snarky questions suggest that you don’t–that the Bible (God’s authoritative and accurate Word) was written in Greek and Hebrew, not English.

    So, I hate to have to tell you, if you don’t know, but YES, of course we have to “improve upon it” (improve on the readability, that is) by putting it into hundreds and thousands of human languages and unique dialects. It is what we humans do, speak in different languages. Words change their meaning over time (you surely don’t deny that!) and there are thousands and thousands of tongues. William Tyndale was burned at the stake for doing this (putting the Bible into olde English, and move his enemies viewed as vulgar.) Martin Luther was renowned (and chased) for doing it into low German. You imply in your generalized opposition to The Message and The Voice that you oppose this work. Do you?

    I know people (don’t you?) who raise money to get God’s Word translated into tribal languages; some people I have met have know loves ones who have DIED doing this. I don’t know what you do for a living or in ministry, but this is no laughing matter! People have died for this. I take your snide comments very, very seriously because of the giant sacrifice Godly people make to translate the Bible and teach it well. They are all trying to glorify God by “improving” on the Greek and Hebrew, by putting it into ordinary language that real people, throughout the world, can read in their native tongue and casual dialects. Do you object to this? It sure sounds like you do. I hope you do not.

    SO, why in the world do you suggest that anybody who re-writes the Bible is doing something wrong? Why do you object to the marketing plan of Nelson that publishes The Voice (the wording of their reason for doing this Bible translation–from a publisher that also does the KJV and the NKJV) is to get the word out in readable, contemporary, beautiful English prose while being fair to the meaning of the actual words. These questions of yours are about the oddest thing I’ve read on this site, as if doing a new edition of the Bible in English is somehow on the face of it perverse. Do you really believe that? You can’t possibly believe that, do you? You sure imply that. Wow, what an unusual, unusual thing to believe—no Bible-loving Christian throughout church history believes that, that I know of.

    If you think that Peterson or Seay do it wrongly, just say so, and explain why. Fair enough. I have a hunch that they don’t “get it right” at every point, although I won’t write it publicaly because I don’t know either Hebrew or Greek, Latin or German, so haven’t understood how these contemporary translations have developed over time. I use Bible dictionaries and concordances to try to learn the real meaning of words, but for a guy like me who doesn’t do languages very well, it is hard, pain-staking work. So I read various scholars of the Bible, study words when I can, and recommend a good, reliable translation in common language, trusting the Godly and dedicated people at the publishing houses who work on teams to do this work.

    Some like the new ESV, I use the old NAS, but I know that in any language, words change their meaning. In the old KJV there are words that aren’t even in most dictionaries anymore. So using the old editions of the KJV is dicey.

    (One good example is the word “justice” (which we hear with an nuance of mercy and fairness, as in “liberty and justice for all”) which in older KJV renderings is translated judgment (kings rendered just judgments, so the word judge was used.) So when Amos says “let justice roll down…” and KJV says, “let judgment roll down…” it changes it’s meaning and application. I’m glad newer versions use the word justice, not judgement, don’t you? Huge meaning changes in the use of an English word. The NIV team struggled hard over whether or not they should say “cloak” or “coat” in Timothy, and if it is best to say “pregnant” or “with child.” The Voice struggled with similiar word choices. This is the stuff you get vile about, angry and upset?

    Anyway, nobody who cares enough to re-work English renditions and translations and paraphrase thinks they are really (literally) improving God’s Word; what a dumb think to accuse somebody of. Do you think Moses and David and Mark and Paul wrote in King James English? Bible linguists and those who care about His Word in human words do this work because they know we must continually improve the access and understanding of it.

    And unless you read the Greek and Hebrew, you should get on your knees and thank God every single day that in His providence and great great mercy He has enabled humans to have minds and tongues and pens to do this extraordinary work of Bible translation. YES we improve the readability of it, year after year, as we translate the texts of Greek and Hebrew into Swahili or Korean or Tagalong or contemporary English or modern Ukrainian. Don’t you send money to the Wycliffe Bible ministries? If you love God’s Word and you do not, why don’t you? Don’t you WANT God’s Word to be translated and put into accessible languages? Don’t you want the Chinese to have a better translation then their old ones that nobody can read well anymore? I have relatives that have not graduated from college. You want them to read Elizabethan King James English, without confusion? How dare you! And you think those that do easier-to-read translation are evil? Again, people have given their very lives for this remarkable work of translating the texts into new colloquial words. That you would call them names, saying it is prideful is utterly without merit and nearly makes me weep for your meanness.

    How dare you insult those who do this work? Are you so all-knowing as to really think that they want to do anything other than get God’s Word out? You have some insight into the motivations of Bible translators? Have you no shame to pontificate about the motives of others? Maybe you yourself don’t read the Bible too clearly as it explicitly forbids such ugliness. On what basis do you form this judgment of their motives??

    (“Re-discover what was lost”? It is a metaphor for re-translation. Of course stuff is lost in translation. Most youngsters today have never heard anybody say “with child” for instance. Worse, Old King James words aren’t even words anymore. Our routine readings have clouded authentic meanings. I really don’t know if Seay and his team change much from other modern translations, but it isn’t like they are just making stuff up.

    You seem to imply they are just willy-nilly doing something weird. Would you have written against Martin Luther when he put the Bible into crass German? Would you have tried to kill Tyndale for his vulgar English edition? Your piece makes it sound like you accuse anyone wanting to do translation or paraphrase or updates or wording as a priori dishonorable; if you don’t believe that you shouldn’t post such stuff that implies that. Without appropriate nuance, your position is simply unsupportable.

    Faithful Bible translation is one of the most urgent tasks for the church. Anyone whose heart leaps at new Bible insight, who loves great sermons, who desires to love God’s Word that is “sweeter than honey” as the Psalmist poetically says, surely wants God’s Word to be rendered well into the language of the peoples.

    Why in the world do you think that people have to read Greek and Hebrew? Unless you do not think that, your position makes no sense at all, so I can only surmise that you read Hebrew and Greek and think we all must. Am I wrong about that?

    The Scriptures do NOT suggest that and you are adding an extra layer of rules to those who are called to be free in Christ, to insist that we read the original words. In the early church one of the first big moves in this regard was to translate the ancient Hebrew Scriptures into Greek for the non-Jewish readers. They had to use imagination and it was a stunning interpretative move, using their knowledge and scholarship and best efforts to painstakingly translate parapgraph by paragraph the law and the prophets into a non-Biblical langauge. Praise God they did this, even though some (like you, apparantly) threatened them. Praise God that those who were not Jewish were allowed to read the precious Word in their common tongue. Do you think they were wrong to do that? I have heard of people who think this, but have never met one. (Ironically, Muslims think that the only way to read their Koran is in the original Arabic. Hardly any real Christians would say that about the Holy Bible! )

    Since you care about this enough to write these comments for all to see, why don’t you tell us all where you learned your ability to read in the “real” Bible, Greek & Hebrew? Where do you go to church? Does your pastor speak in Hebrew?

    I somehow think you are bluffing, being less than candid about what you really think. You are just shooting off hot air, vanity, I”d say, “chatter” which we probably should ignore and avoid.

    I’ll guess you don’t go to a church that speaks ancient Greek or the “working mans” street Greek (koine) of the gospels, either. I’ll bet you don’t really read Hebrew and Greek, so you must not really disapprove of translations. So your post is literally incoherent; it just doesn’t cohere. Either you read Hebrew or Greek and think everybody must, or you allow Bible translation and understand how and why it is done. Yet you imply this is wrong to do and don’t think anybody should try to “improve” on the readablilty. You are way, way out of any mainstream thought from throughout church history on this.

    Roman Catholics used to teach that lay people should not read the Bible on their own, and they chained the Bibles to the pulpits, so ordinary folks couldn’t read them. Praise God for valiant reformers who risked their lives to get the Word out into the language of the ordinary people. This has been one of the great dynamics of the Reformation and the revivals of church history–Bible translation and paraphrase into the common people’s language.

    Your disdain for this is remarkably snobby. It seems that those whose heart is not behind getting God’s Word to the people is a large indication of something deeply wrong in their lives. I don’t know you, of course, and cannot imagine why you demean those who want to do Bible translation and paraphrase.

    I don’t know what I think of the literal accuracy of The Voice. Folks who want to speak about it should argue verse by verse or text by text and see if they did a good job. You can have that conversation with someone with such knowledge, like the Godly, conservative scholars who have endorsed it as a reliable a common person’s rendering in contemporary prose. (Again, all Bible translations are that, using foreign words to render the meaning of the ancient words.)

    So, please, please, please, be clear: affirm Bible translation for those of use—most people in the world–who don’t know Greek and Hebrew. Learn how that happens, the blood that has been shed to do it, and the complex matter of taking these ancient words into modern, readable prose. If you don’t care for a certain paraphrase, translation or language, that is fine. Say so. But don’t accuse people of this wacky ideas that they want to do better than God or are prideful or that it is wrong to help get Scripture into ordinary words in various countries. What you suggest is wrong, is actually something our God desires: his Word to be well translated into every era, sub-culture and dialect. The gospel must go out to “the nations” (the “ethnos” or people groups) and that surely means caring enough to get the texts rendered well.

    You talk about “scriptures” and that is good. Scriptures are always translated, though, and that is good, too. Praise God for His allowing His word to get out into various languages, cultures, vocabularies. I seems you disagree, though, and that, you should know, is really, really bizarre. If you read Enlgish, it was because some renegade did the hard work of translating, rendering, printing and editing the texts.

    You should repent of this foolish notion that the Scriptures aren’t translated, which they are, or clarify what you mean or stop writing nonsense.

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