Lights, Camera, Worship: New Bible Translation Reads Like a Screenplay

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Priest holding a bible

The next director looking to turn the Bible into a blockbuster movie might have a head start with its latest translation, titled The Voice.

Released by publisher Thomas Nelson, The Voice has adapted the Bible into a screenplay format, adding to the standard dialogues with emotional descriptors, scene movement and props added in — all the trimmings of a blockbuster script — to help readers better envision the action of the world’s most-read book.

In the story of John the Baptist meeting Jesus in the Gospel of John, readers are presented with stage directions and expanded dialogue so that it plays out like a film:

“The morning after this conversation, John sees Jesus coming toward him. In eager astonishment, he shouts out:

“John the Baptist: Look! This man is more than He seems! He is the Lamb sent from God, the sacrifice to erase the sins of the world! He is the One I have been saying will come after me, who existed long before me and is much greater than I am.”

(MORE: New Bible Aims for ‘Common’ Language, Gender Neutrality)

Sure, the team that created The Voice had to add in some text and interpret some of the emotion behind the dialogue, but the group says it denotes those changes with italics, obviously calling them out and creating smooth transitions for readability in the process.

In Genesis, the story of Adam and Even includes Adam “pointing at the woman” and is sprinkled with emotional cues. And to update the culturally accepted meaning of the words, The Voice also changes some ancient words into more modern vernacular, bridging the cultural gap, the publisher says. It switched “Christ” to “Anointed One” in the New Testament (people were thinking Christ was Jesus’ last name, apparently) and “Yahweh” to “The Eternal” in the Old Testament.

To attempt to accurately convey both the translation and the emotion, the author team, led by Chris Seay, a Houston-area pastor, and Thomas Nelson’s vice president of translation development, Frank Couch, worked with Bible scholars and screenplay writers, musicians and poets. This method attempts to “highlight the original authors’ unique personality” while trying to connect the Bible to readers who wouldn’t otherwise open the book.

Also, by reading more like a play, the text can be read easier as a novel — a narrative, if you will — than traditional texts, Couch tells the Associated Press. “By expressing the inspired text in the unique voices of the original biblical authors,” the company writes in an advertisement, “The Voice begins to recapture how the first readers would have encountered the Scripture.”

As more scholars dissect The Voice, there will be debates over word choice and discussion of adding in the italicized words, but the creators say the goal was to introduce more people to the Bible, even if they are simply looking to act it out. Calling all those Hollywood heathens, perhaps?

MORE: Tweetvangelism: The Bible Translated for Twitter

23 comments
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bojimbo26
bojimbo26

A translation of a translated story book .

jaelbee
jaelbee

whoa!!  no god??  wow, how did you find this out??

Renee
Renee

The was a film done in the 1960s which had Richard Harris.

Andrew Kenneth Gay
Andrew Kenneth Gay

The real point here is that TIME has repeated the completely inaccurate claim, first made by the AP that this Bible is formatted as a screenplay. Have none of these ignorant journalists stopped and looked at a screenplay? I teach screenwriting and have read hundreds of screenplays. A screenplay is written in a very specific format, and this Bible resembles a screenplay in no way whatsoever. Do your damn homework!

Jesse Jojo Johnson
Jesse Jojo Johnson

Isn't there a difference between "formatted AS a screenplay" and "formatted LIKE a screenplay"

Paul Hanson
Paul Hanson

For a book that's supposed to be unalterable and perfect, the Bible likes to churn out tons revisions and study guides for every version of it out there, every year.

Doesn't that strike anyone as a bit odd?

Jesse Jojo Johnson
Jesse Jojo Johnson

The Bible isn't "

supposed to be unalterable and perfect ". That's a popular misconception. The fact that it was actually written (compiled, to be specific) sometime in history means it has already faced the greatest possible revision. That argument for and against its legitimacy are tired, worn-out and cliche.

It's a book, for Christ's sake.

Sylvia Jun
Sylvia Jun

The Bible is eternal but it's the people that's "churning out" tons of revisions but the main point of different translations, such as the ESV, NIV 1984, KJV, is so the readers can understand better. if there was only King James Version, I would have a a really hard time understanding. The study guides are different per author but again, it leads back to God. Think of it this way: each teacher has a different method of teaching but in the end, they all the teach the same thing. 

conet
conet

Except various translations include liberties taken by editors or the monarchs employing them that lend vastly different interpretations of the same events (see: Judas Iscariot "identifying" changing to "betraying," thus creating the paradoxical demonization of someone who played a necessary role in the creation of the religion, and whose god apparently predetermined him to his doom). Though debating the significance of small deviations in different versions of the same work of fiction seems unnecessary.

Good and Godless
Good and Godless

Another version of the often re-translated and poorly edited version of the contradiction laden scriptures currently adopted by this particular derivative of the familial group of religions whose authority to determine the "beliefs" of decreasing millions has opted to ignore passages overlooked by the clergy or edited out by the predecessors and chosen a few rare phrases to limit effective roles of women and men against its best interests and plunge further into myth and superstition based value systems.

Seems like a good time to leave the church and join the real world.

Dan Bruce
Dan Bruce

Seems like a good time to leave the church and join the real world.

Just for the record, the church and God are not the same. As for joining the real world, you are already in it no matter what you believe. It's not a matter of choice. On the other hand, the whole point of faith in God is to transcend this world, and that is a choice that can be made.

Good and Godless
Good and Godless

Your perception that you are in a position to educate me demonstrates your inability to accurately perceive.

god does not exist. There is then no reason to have a tax evading, society limiting, child molesting, wife raping, celibacy faking, fraudulent church.

The whole point of faith in a non existent god is to curtail the full expression of the human experience, which is already limited to the time we spend alive.

Time to make the choice and step away from myth and superstition as a society manipulating tool, stepping away from a fantasy world and join the real world.

Dan Bruce
Dan Bruce

To Good and Godless,

And double-posting by you is not regugitating nonsense?

Good and Godless
Good and Godless

Unfortunately regurgitating the puerile nonsense from a religious indoctrination is indicative of the underlying poisoning of intellects by the church and recently the republicans.

It is unfair this avenue for social treason was not fully excluded when the 1st Amendment was drafted. It is time to correct that flaw left by our founding fathers and end constraints imposed by myth and superstition.

Good and Godless
Good and Godless

Unfortunately regurgitating the puerile nonsense from a religious indoctrination is indicative of the underlying poisoning of intellects by the church and recently the republicans.

It is unfair this avenue for social treason was not fully excluded when the 1st Amendment was drafted. It is time to correct that flaw left by our founding fathers and end constraints imposed by myth and superstition.

Society would be better served if you had spent your life reducing malaria outbreaks. Your devotion and dedication to promoting fictional morality has hampered true discourse and served only as a leach on society.

jaelbee
jaelbee

whoa!!  no god??  wow, how did you find that out??

Jesse Jojo Johnson
Jesse Jojo Johnson

Your argument has lost taste with me, because you stoop to accuse many because of the actions of a few.

I may be tempted to retaliate and defend my faith (I'm Catholic, you see) but I'll be civil and say we all have a right to what we believe, and what we choose not to.

That's reality.

Dan Bruce
Dan Bruce

As a believer who undertsands God, my place in the scheme of things is to help remind people that they have a choice to be for or against the God of the Bible (that's the ultimate purpose of this life), and to help them realize that they must make that choice between birth and death. After death, there is no option. One enters eternity either for or against God. The afterlife has nothing to do with church allegiance in this life, or even if you consider yourself "good" in your own eyes. The relationship is personal, between God and the individual, and God sets the rules (that's what it means to be God; however, many people choose to usurp that authority for themselves, which is their right in this life, but not beyond). And, even though my mission is to remind people that they have a choice to be for or against God, I bear no responsibility for the choice they make. That is between each individual and God. My reward derives only from the choice I make for me. I get no "extra points" for what others decide, only the satisfaction of knowing that they have chosen eternal life with God. My prayer is that everyone will choose wisely while he or she has free will in this life to do so.

Dan Bruce
Dan Bruce

Anything for a dollar. After all, the publisher, Thomas Nelson, is owned by Rupert Murdoch. What's next, the Fox Good News Bible, a DVD version read by Hannity, Beck, O'Reilly, and company, with a guest appearance by Rush Limbaugh reading the part of Satan?

Christians beware!

Firozali A.Mulla
Firozali A.Mulla

When the two

bulls fight the grass gets trashed or if Arthur barks at John I have no idea

who is right. I see only hear lots of shouts and that is it. To be honest the

noise pollution is so much that it is difficult to listen any these days. I do

not want to listen to all barking. Period Add the topic will can be the same

all the years The British were offended, the Palestinians

accused him of racism and even in friendlier Poland, Mitt Romney's union policies drew criticism from the current leaders of the

movement that toppled communism. Romney's visit to Britain, Israel and Poland was never expected to produce

the same media frenzy as then-candidate Barack Obama's extravagant,

eight-country tour of 2008. Obama received rock star treatment from

international media and world leaders as he travelled from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan to the glittering chancelleries of

Europe. Nevertheless, comparisons were inevitable and much of it was less than favourable

to the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. "The designated

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney wanted to demonstrate foreign

policy expertise and diplomatic skills with his trip to Britain, Israel and Poland," the

Swiss newspaper Tages-Zeitung said Tuesday. "Today, on the last day of the

tour, he must be made to admit that he clearly missed this target." Romney

supporters insisted that much of the criticism was unfair and overblown,

especially in countries of Europe where the political culture tends to be left

of contemporary America. Back in 2008, commentators attributed much of the

public adulation that candidate Obama received in Europe to the simple fact

that he was not George W. Bush, whose image had sunk because of widespread

opposition to the Iraq war. Likewise, the warm reception Romney received in Poland was due in part to the fact that he is

not Barack Obama, whose overtures to Russia and other policies have not gone down

well among Poles. Whatever the differences, the contrast between the two

candidates' foreign tours has been striking. In 2008, more than 200,000 people

turned out in Berlin to hear Obama speak of a world without nuclear weapons and

promise to counter climate change. It is

election season, after all, so sharing one's political views -- however

outlandish they may be -- is to be expected. But how about from a 6-year-old? Isaac Anthony counts down the 10 reasons why he

thinks you should not vote for Barack Obama in a YouTube video posted by the conservative website Patriot

Update. His list of reasons includes the fact that, in his opinion, Obama is

"taking money from people who work hard" and "keeping people on

welfare and food stamps." After Anthony delivers reason No. 4, "He

wants to take guns away from good guys," he shoots his mock pistol at the

camera. When kids talk,

they talk sense as they want to see the future Since my house burned down / I now own a better view / of

the rising moon. -Mizuta Masahide, poet and samurai (1657-1723) . I thank you Firozali A.Mulla DBA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jim S.
Jim S.

 Ahhh, makin a blockbuster bible movie out of the new rewritten bible of the new christian ideology, got rid of all the crap, like sins etc., in the previous many other rewrites, now adding what once were as the new teachins of 'jesus' according to the new prophets of the late 20th and 21st century!!

f_galton
f_galton

No comparison to the King James Version:

The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me.And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.