“Step Into the Story of Scripture”

The Voice Bible, “Step into the Story of Scripture”

This new translation from Thomas Nelson is incredible! The subtitle says it all, by reading Scripture presented in this narrative format, one is completely immersed into the dialogue of biblical characters.

I first saw a copy of The Voice at a local Goodwill store. Noticing it to be a new translation in great shape, I flipped through the New Testament and was amazed at how reader friendly the page layout was and thought the use of commentary, summaries, and introductions.

Perhaps one of the most obvious differences between The Voice and other translations is that the Voice displays character communication as one would read in a script. For example, here’s an excerpt from the Gospel of John chapter 5:

Disabled Man: 7Kind Sir, I wait, like all of these people, for the waters to stir; but I cannot walk. If I am to be healed in the waters, someone must carry me into the pool. Without a helping hand, someone else beats me to the water’s edge each time it is stirred. Jesus: 8Stand up, carry your mat, and walk. (Ecclesia Bible Society. The Voice Bible (Kindle Locations 74090-74094). Thomas Nelson).

I gave the copy of The Voice I picked up that day at Goodwill to a friend who prefers more of a free translation of Scripture rather than formal equivalence, and to my knowledge she has enjoyed reading it. Since then however I have been on the hunt to get another copy of The Voice. Finally I was able to download an electronic version to my Kindle and I am grateful for all the bonus material in both front and back matter that Nelson Bibles provides.

I have a mentor in ministry that is very missionally focused. As an international and interdenominational church consultant he often gets asked what his favorite translation of the Bible is. He told me that whenever he is asked this, he answers honestly by saying “the most current one”. By staying current with the translation of Scripture he is able to communicate more effectively with both the culturally unchurched and churches trying to reach the next generation of people for Christ. I highly recommend The Voice for other missionally minded people wanting to stay current, pastors and new believers alike.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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For Church Champions by the Master Consultant

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The Interventionist (1997) by Lyle E. Schaller

In The Interventionist, Lyle Schaller has written masterpiece for those aspiring church consultants, ministry leaders, and pastors alike. Focused on helping change agents bring health to a congregation, Schaller advocates the consulting by questions approach and is diligent at “peeling back the onion” of church stagnation issues. Of the twelve chapters in the book, eight of the titles are direct questions to the reader. Though not one of the question titles, chapter three is labeled “The Twelve Questions for the Interventionist” and includes inquiries about a consultant’s role, defining the church’s reality, and clarifying symptoms and problems.

Some of the more pertinent sections I found valuable as a new consultant, include chapter three, as I have mentioned,  chapter four “What Do You Bring?” and chapter eight, “Seventeen Syndromes”. Like Schaller I am a church consultant, but these chapters among the others in the book will be valued for the “church champion” interim pastor and itinerant parish worker alike. It is good to be clear with the church on structures of accountability and expected follow through with action plans. An appropriate diagnosis and recommendation can only be made once the right questions have been asked and internal research completed. This is where the intersection of “What Your Bring” encompasses personal experience, an understanding of the surrounding community and interventionist methodology with questions to determine the real issues instead of congregational complaints. If you are consulting a church then there must be a reason why you are there.

Also, having just returned from St. Thomas, an Anglican/Baptist church in Sheffield, England, Schaller’s discussion in chapter seven, “European or American?” was very beneficial. In this chapter, Schaller describes the common differences in theology and methodology of North American churches that are English influenced versus those that are “American made”. Of course there are always exceptions to generalizations and Schaller is quick to admit that. One of the denominations that seem to have transcended both the English and American traditions is the Southern Baptist Convention. Despite having its roots in the New England migration of Baptists from the British Isles, and though considered an exception to the European or American debate by many religious researchers, Schaller discloses his consideration of the Southern Baptist Convention of today as “largely an American creation” (p.95). Having been raised in a Southern Baptist church, I have been able to witness the many transformations the church has undergone to continually reach the city and those in its context. 

Schaller’s work is still relevant to helping churches as it was when first published. As an authoritative researcher and church consulting practitioner, there is much wisdom to be gleaned from his experiences and labors in The Interventionist. This is a book that I have already returned to many times, and I am sure I will continue to refer back to it as I venture further along my ministry call. 

Frank Viola’s New Book: Beyond Evangelical

Frank Viola’s new book “Beyond Evangelical” has just released. Here’s the book description:

Recent studies indicate that evangelical Christians are known by the world as people who are narrow-minded, judgmental, self-righteous, legalistic, callous, hard-hearted, politically partisan, and quick to attack their own. Why is this, and is there a viable cure?

The evangelical Christian world has fractured into four main streams. One of these streams has grown weary of the Christian Right vs. Christian Left squabbles and vitriolic disputes. If this describes you, then you are not alone. And you will be encouraged to know that God is raising up a new breed of orthodox Christians who are breaking free from the Christian Right vs. Left quagmire.

Beyond Evangelical explores the changing face of evangelicalism and introduces readers to a growing segment of the Christian population who do not fit into the Right or Left categories, but who are marked by an uncommon devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ as this world’s true Lord.

To read the Introduction, Table of Contents, and ordering information, go to http://frankviola.org/evangelical.htm