I have been enjoying the Scriptures in the recently published narrative, The Voice
. Can this type of paraphrasing be a single source or should it be balanced with more traditional translations?
The short answer is that while a paraphrase, carefully chosen, can be a useful supplement, it should not be used exclusively as the primary source for your Bible reading. To explain further, a paraphrase is based on a translation of the Scripture but it is put into the vernacular of the day, making it easier to read, giving the sense or gist of the passage. Sometimes the purpose of the user-friendly version is to reach new Christians and younger people. This may involve leaving out elements or adding others with the goal of clarity. But, of course, such an approach is more susceptible to taking on the perspective of the paraphraser, and in some cases, may even have a particular agenda that proves unfaithful to biblical teaching. Through the years there have been many, many paraphrases, some now outdated because of dated expressions. A translation, on the other hand, tries to stay as close as possible to the original text and is usually a phrase-for-phrase rendering of the text from one language to another. The result is truer to the original and more reliable for in-depth Bible study. Reading a reputable translation of the Bible must always be a top priority for a Christian.