Stepping Into The Story of Scripture with The Compass Bible: A Review

9781401680312_p0_v1_s260x420In a world of a multitude of bible translations to choose from we can become easily disoriented when trying to navigate the Bible section of book stores. Each denomination usually tends towards one version based on its popularity with the leaders of the church. We also tend to purchase translations based on those used by our favorite preachers or pastors. There are unending articles on the various translations out there, both on the positive and negative sides.

In this sea of information we can chart a course towards a translation which is geared towards a language which is accessible, a translation which fits the culture we live in, and a telling of the story in terms we understand. That’s exactly where the Compass bible fits into the process. Utilizing The Voice translation, the Compass Bible is intended to guide you in the right direction on your journey.

The Compass is a unique bible in that it creates the text of the Bible in a screenplay format. The speaker is indicated which moves the text more towards a conversation without having to include quotation marks. Here is an example;

As Jesus left the temple later that day, one of the disciples noticed the grandeur of Herod’s temple.

Disciple: Teacher, I can’t believe the size of these stones! Look at these magnificent buildings!

Jesus: Look closely at these magnificent buildings,. Someday there won’t be one of these great stones left on another, Everything will be thrown down.

They took a seat on the Mount of Olives, across the valley from the temple; and Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked Jesus to explain His statement to them privately.

(Mark 13:1-3)

It’s definitely an interesting Bible to grab off the shelf and dive into. I’m sure this text would fit well in some contexts but I think many on the more serious side of study and discipleship aren’t going to be handing these out when the next generation heads off to college. It’s a good overall use text when one first becomes a Christian or is starting out in their walk with God but I can’t recommend this translation for use in serious study. I prefer a more literal text than The Voice which has some of the rigidity of the older texts but the clarity of new scholarship. Apart from personal choice I think the screen play version of the text is inconsistent in some places, as in the book of Revelation. There seems to be overlap of Characters speaking who should be the same person or who are not acknowledged at all. Another small issue I take with this translation is the  portion where they refer to God as The Eternal One instead of LORD. Again, it’s a personal preference issue since Eternal One does encompass a view of God which may relate more to people today.

The Bible isn’t all that bad though, the notes and asides are extremely helpful in pointing the reader in the right direction of study. They seem to be mostly unbiased as far as denominational leanings. Along with the text of the Bible the translators decided to enclose other resources in this volume which engage the reader for further study, suggestions on how to read the bible with more clarity and a road map which guides readers through the entire text in three years. It is helpful to have all these resources in one volume for readers who enjoy having a running commentary alongside the text. The type is readable and the spacing is sufficient for note taking or underlining. The font is a clear and common font which most people would be used to without straining to make the words out. The gray hardcover I received came with a nautical star on the front inset in black which makes it really pop out. The binding is excellent even with my wild children throwing it around. It has held under some tests I put it through and still looks impressive. This Bible has a great overall look and feel about it.

The Compass Bible utilizes The Voice translation which is a readable and applicable text for young readers today. I would fit this Bible into a teen category or those gifted youngsters who are coming off Bibles like the popular NIV Adventure Bible. I would recommend this version to a select group of people but as for myself, I’m sticking with the ESV. That’ s not to say that this Bible shouldn’t be out there in the church. I think some may find it at the top of their list and seek to get it into the hands of others but I also think this bible, in this translation is for a select group of Bible readers. I’m glad I had the chance to get my hands on one and see a branch of scholarship in biblical translation which is heading into a new and uncharted territory.

 

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