A slightly different version of this title was available on Audible until recently, and my review is based on that one. (The main difference appears to be that for this one, the books of the New Testament download individually.)
I would have preferred a different translation (my understanding is that the NKJV does not always use the best and most recent Greek texts), but the reading itself is superb. Others have singled out Jim Caviezel as Jesus and Stacy Keach as Paul for particular praise, and I would agree with that. I would include in that praise Lou Gossett Jr as John and (possibly to a lesser extent) Ernie Hudson as Peter; but in fact all the cast members are strong and the narration is clear throughout.
One interesting choice here was to omit many of the "he said/she said" tags from the scenes of dialogue, when the speaker has been previously identified or is otherwise clear. This helps to heighten the drama of some of the confrontations.
The background music is effective and unobtrusive -- something not always true of dramatized Bible readings like this one. Sound effects are also carefully deployed and support rather than detract from the reading. I look forward to the similar treatment planned for the Old Testament at some point in the future.
This would be one of my favorite Bible audiobooks if the music were less distracting. It's not so much that it's repetitive -- though it is, at times -- as that it's sometimes too loud.
Ronnie Meeks is a great storyteller, and the NCV is probably one of the best translations for audiobook listening; it's a translation, not a paraphrase, but it sticks to a simple vocabulary and uses straightforward syntax. It's similar in a lot of ways to the CEV or GNT versions but is (in my opinion) better than either of those.
I'm hoping that this will be made available in Audible's new enhanced format. There's a good possibility this will smooth out the clash between music and narration, as it did on Audible's version of The Bible Experience.
One note about the way music is used here. Each chapter has its own musical background. The music varies in quality (some is quite good, some mediocre); all selections are composed, or at least recorded, in a loop, so it can play through the whole chapter regardless of how long the chapter is. The music usually fits the mood of the beginning of the chapter, though sometimes, if there are abrupt transitions within a chapter, it doesn't always fit by the end. Still, I find that having the music helps in listening. If the volume-control issues get resolved, so much the better.
The translation is straightforward, in the KJV tradition but with fewer archaisms than the NKJV. The narrator reads quietly and steadily, with reasonable inflection but without much passion. It may serve if you want a quiet, reflective reading with no musical distractions.
Husband, father, nurse, geek culture affianado, tech junkie, late-blooming history lover, armchair theologist, Lego enthusiast, and follower of Christ.
I have endeavored to read through the entire Bible more times than I care to count; a few times making it as far as Deuteronomy before fizzling out. Breaking the Bible up into digestible chunks with a mixture of old and New Testament and a chapter from Psalms or Proverbs thrown in to keep things fresh is definitely the way to go! This version does that for you! And having it in an audio format makes it easy to stick with.
I have been a fan of The Message Bible since the first time I read the first verse in it. What you do need to be aware of is that this is a paraphrase, not a literal word for word translation. Peterson has taken the entire Bible and translated thought for thought based on his interpretation of the underlying meaning. What this means is that you do need to take it with a grain of salt and be prepared to compare to a literal translation if something doesn't sound right to you. Many traditionalists criticize paraphrasing the Scripture, but do these same traditionalists not do the same thing every time they preach a verse from their literal translation? They read their text, and then proceed to expound upon it and help you know how to interpret it specific to your life. You should take Peterson in that same context. He is expounding upon God's Word and giving you a practical interpretation that you can apply to your life. Is this format infallible? Of course not! But that doesn't mean God is not at work in this. Even the beloved King James Version needs to be viewed in the light of historical context from when it was translated and compared to the original text.
My one complaint is that I wish the individual daily readings were broke out into individual chapters rather than lumping several per chapter. It really makes it hard if you want to review that days' reading again. Finding your place is nearly impossible because when you skip back you won't even know what chapter you're listening to.