"The name Jesus Christ doesn't appear in The Voice, a new translation of the Bible."

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Aaron Blumer's picture


... it's enough to make me want to get rid of all my NKJVs. Nelson is clearly in "use any gimmick to get sales" mode.

The title for The Voice came from the New Testament book of John and from the Greek word logos. It's usually translated as "word" in verses such as John 1:1, which reads: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God," in the New International Version, one of the most popular English translations.

In The Voice, that passage reads: "Before time itself was measured, the Voice was speaking. The Voice was and is God." Frank Couch, the executive editor and publisher of The Voice, says that translation better captures what logos means.

ChrisC's picture

christ wasn't jesus' last name or anything. if you translate it differently, what's the big deal?

here's 2pet1:1 in the voice:

Simon Peter, a servant and emissary of Jesus the Anointed One, to those who have received the same precious faith we share through the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus the Anointed.
is that really such a bad translation?

you can see more of it here:

Aaron Blumer's picture


Mostly the big deal is the thinking that says "We've got to make everything as untraditional as possible to reach people" (or to.... something else--fill in the blank). Christians have been using "Christ" for--what, six hundred years? Maybe longer depending on what the Old English and Middle English terms were.

Removing Christ also has the consequence of...
(a) Making a pile of hymns slowly obsolete (imagine a generation down the road, nurtured in the Faith on The Voice... "Who the Lord is risen today?")

(b) Making what we call ourselves slowly obsolete.... "Hey, we're Annointedians now."
The idea that the word "Christ" is a real barrier to people understanding the Bible is ridiculous.

(Edit: if http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christ ]wikipedia can be believed, "Christ" dates to the 14th century and "Crist" to well before that... and is present in several other languages besides English)

Mike Durning's picture

It’s all about translation philosophy, Aaron.

You are a “pastor”. Wait, that’s actually a shepherd. But that implies sheep to some, rather than a congregation. Hmmm. How do I choose a word to convey all the weight of the word “pastor” and still have it understandable?

You pastor a church. Wait, that’s actually an assembly, per the Greek. But that implies something less structured than the Bible intends. How do I choose a word to convey all the weight of the word “church” and still have it understandable? In fact, “church” implies a building to some, which is misleading.

Your church preaches Christ. Wait, that’s actually “the Anointed one”. But that implies…absolutely nothing to a random non-Christian 16 year old of average education (I asked). How do I choose a word to convey all the weight of the word “Christ” and still have it understandable?

Those who try to simplify their translation are frequently pursuing an illusory goal: you can never take the education process out of Scripture. In fact, you can never take the education process out of the translation of any text. Any word in a donor language comes with history, cultural considerations, connotations, and baggage that all must be learned independent of the actual word chosen in the translation itself.

There is room for debate on where we land on the scale between “traditional” and “understandable.” But I’m not sure they conveyed anything more about the meaning of “Christ” by changing it to “Anointed One”. In fact, all they accomplished for the newcomer to the Scriptures is to make clear that “Christ” is not His last name – as they stated. I suppose we could have put an asterisk in all the KJV’s, NIV’s, NASB’s, ESV’s, and accomplished the same thing.

Although, I must say, reading it as a screenplay sounds kind of cool. I wouldn’t call it translation, though.

“It is finished.” [Fade to Black ].

CAWatson's picture

This translation has some strange items. At times, it seems to leave out details of geography that don't seem to be understandable to the modern mind. The committee includes both Darrell Bock and Brian MacLaren. I also am not totally partial to the layout of the text itself. Some of the interpretive notes inserted into the text are debatable in terms of what the text actually means (For instance, the 120 years in Gen 6 is listed as the "upper limit of man's life" as opposed to the amount of time until the flood is sent). I wouldn't use it. I wouldn't necessarily recommend it. But if someone did read it, at least they are reading something resembling Scripture. There is enough literal translation (both formal and dynamic), at least in Genesis, to give a basic knowledge of the biblical story.

Paul J's picture

We have a discount store in our area called Ollie's which has a book section which has a significant religious books shelf. I love to look for good finds whenever I'm in and it gives me the chance to get books by authors I wouldn't typically read but I can buy for 2 or 3 dollars. Two years ago I picked-up Chris Seay's "The Last Eyewitness: The Final Week" and had it on my stack with the plan to read in the week between Palm Sunday and Easter. I missed seeing it last year but picked it up this year and read it. It uses the Voice for the Scripture and I have to say I enjoyed the narrative form. I don't see it become a major translation but I'm glad to have had the opportunity to read it in the context of the many conversations happening that final week. With YouVersion I regularly read passages from several translations and am not too concerned.

Aaron Blumer's picture


... can't believe we need even an English paraphrase without "Christ."
Here's a bit more of my reasoning:
1) Every reader has to know something to read at all
2) Every reader of the Bible has to learn something in order to understand it even a little
3) Any reader of the Bible should be expected to know or immediately learn what "Christ" means

So if folks want to make a screenplay style paraphrase, how about if the first time "Christ" appears in each book, they go like this:

  • Christ (that means "anointed one" or "messiah"): "Here's my genealogy...." (Matt. 1:1)
  • Mark: "Have a seat. Make yourself comfortable. I want to tell you the beginning of the good news about Jesus Christ--the 'Christ' part means 'Anointed One' or 'Messiah, and He is God's Son. I realize God having a son is a bit of a hard concept; let me explain...'" (Mark 1:1)
  • Paul: "Hi, I'm Paul. I may not look like much, but I'm a willing slave of Jesus Christ. That means I'm a slave of Jesus the Anointed One, the Messiah. It might also help you to know that I'm..." (Rom. 1:1)

Then assume the reader is intelligent enough to follow what "Christ" means thereafter.

(But I've got a better idea... how about if we just don't publish yet another loose paraphrase of the Bible. Surely there are already plenty of those to choose from.)

Edit... just hit me: there may actually be fewer people who know what "anointed" means than who know what "Christ" means!

christian cerna's picture

Aaron, I like your idea. It reminds me of the 'Dramatis Personae' that we find in Shakespear's plays- in which the names of the main characters, and their description, are introduced.