Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Voice of the Psalms

Psalms Retold by Friend of the Ecclesia Bible Society. With Reflections from the Psalms by Karen Moore and James F. Couch, Jr.
Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Who doesn’t love the Book of Psalms? It’s the original praise and worship script, the first Judaeo-Christian hymnal. Since I first learned the Psalms in King James Version, I have had difficulty accepting newer translations. I was not familiar with The Voice project or the Ecclesia Bible Society, so I chose this for review to sample this translation.

To be blunt, I just don’t care for it. The first thing that bothered me was the term used for God…The Eternal One. In most scholarly translations, God is referred to as God or the LORD. The term “Eternal One” reminds me of Eastern mysticism. It does not properly convey the power and authority of the Judaeo-Christian God, to my mind.

For example, here is Psalm 19:14, one of my favorite verses in NIV: “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.” The Voice reads like this: “May the words that come out of my mouth and the musings of my heart meet with your gracious approval, O Eternal One, my Rock, O Eternal One, my Redeemer.”

The study helps are fine. A list of Advent and Lenten readings are included in the front of the book, plus special readings for praise and for those seeking God’s help. “Practical and insightful comments” appear interspersed with the Psalms. I had mixed feelings about these, partly because the writer’s name was not given. The title page names Karen Moore and James F. Couch, Jr. I assume that means they were the writers of the reflections, but their names are not listed on the Contributing Writers list on the following page.

I found the green parchment-paper background hard on the eyes. I read through the book slowly, although I knew early on that it wasn’t to my liking. I recommend it to those who want to learn about various translations, but I don’t recommend it for serious Bible study. I think you’d be better off with one of the more widely recognized tried-and-true translations like NIV or NRSV.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book at no charge through, the site for the Thomas Nelson book review blogger program. This fact in no way influenced my review.

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