Version Information. J.B. Phillips () was well-known within the Church of England for his commitment to making the message of truth relevant to. return to J B Phillips Homepage. Romans - 1 Corinthians - 2 Corinthians - Galatians - Ephesians - Philippians - Colossians - 1 Thessalonians - 2 Thessalonians - 1 Timothy - 2 Timothy - Titus - Philemon. A Selection of New Testament Verses on Christian Life and Worship. J. B. Phillips () was well-known within the Church of England for his commitment to making the message of truth relevant to today's.

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A canon of the Anglican church, his works include The Newborn Christian and his highly acclaimed translation The New Testament in. The Phillips New Testament in Modern English (Phi) is an English translation of the New Testament of the Bible translated by Anglican clergyman J. B. Phillips. Print/export. Create a book · Download as PDF · Printable version. New Testament translation that retains the grace and grandeur of the King James . Version while New Testament in Modern English, J. B. Phillips

My son, who is a lay reader, when he heard that his father had undertaken this tremendous task, made a rather amusing remark. He said: "It will be very interesting to see what Father makes of the Gospels.

It'll be still more interesting to see what the Gospels make of Father. Why did you translate the Gospels? Phillips: My story goes back to the days of the blitz when I was in London and in charge of a fairly large youth group.

I'd always found the Epistles particularly inspiring and full of spiritual help, but these young people quite plainly couldn't make head or tail of them in the Authorized Version; these were not for the most part church young people at all. And when during the blackout I attempted to while the time [] away by reading to them from the Authorized Version, quite honestly they couldn't make any sense of it at all.

So in a very small and amateur sort of way I began to translate them from the Greek, simply in order that they might understand them.

I think I began with Colossians. And then I had a bit of luck, because something prompted me to send a copy of Colossians to C. Lewis, whose works I at that time was greatly admiring. And he wrote back these most encouraging words: "It's like seeing an old picture that's been cleaned. Why don't you go on and do the lot? People as a rule regard the Gospels as very much more sacred than the Epistles.

However, I pressed on with my task, but with a certain amount of misgiving, and that is really the reason — it was a sort of pressure from people outside who had enjoyed the Epistles and said: "Why don't you do the same for the Gospels?

I also tried to forget about everything I'd ever read in the way of translating, or indeed of interpretation, and to read the Greek documents on their own merits, let them strike me with their impact, if they had any impact, as something I'd never seen before. Of course, one can't altogether succeed in this, but I did try to do it.

Well, that very briefly is how it started with me. Rieu: I entirely agree that that is the only real way of doing it. One can come back afterwards and read other people and find out one's own mistakes. But tell me, did you find the change from St. Paul to the Gospels very marked? Or do you feel that all are written in the same Greek, but in what I venture to call the Gospel style of Greek?

Phillips: Well, there is — at least I think there is — a very great difference. Paul, who wrote most of the Epistles, is so dynamic, so fiery, so excited, so moving very often. And I don't know, of course, but sometimes I wonder whether he read through his letters again before dispatch. Sometimes I seem to think he didn't. But the Gospels are much more self-conscious. I don't in the least mean that they are stilted or artificial, but they are conscious compositions.

Therefore, though I would be very far from saying they are static, there is a difference; they are much more like very, very impressive still pictures, while St. Paul's Letters are moving, moving very often at a high speed and very much charged with emotion.

Emotions in the Gospels are those produced by very beautiful and very moving pictures. That's the sort of difference I think I noticed. Robertson: Could you tell me what you meant just now when you spoke about a Gospel style? Rieu: I was thinking of the general similarity of manner in which each of the Evangelists, including John, expressed themselves.

But of course [] each of them has his peculiarities, and in some there are marked changes of style. Luke's Preface, for instance, consists of a single long and well-constructed sentence in formal Greek, after which he at once drops into the Gospel style, with its Semitic flavour.

John's Prologue is equally distinct in style and rhythm from his narrative.

The New Testament in modern English

I have also noticed that the three Synoptists, when recording Christ's prophecies in Passover Week, all adopt a new style, which one might call the apocalyptic style. I wonder if Mr.

Phillips felt the same thing. Phillips: Yes, I certainly did feel it. There is a strange sense in all the Synoptics when you come to the apocalyptic passages, of entering into an entirely different world. I think myself it is less marked in Matthew because he is writing all the time with one eye on the Hebrew prophets.

But take St. Luke, for example — the passages struck me as a sudden change of key.

The warmth and spaciousness and humanity are suddenly overwritten by this urgent and, in a way, rather frightening element. I don't mean that they sound false to the ear, but simply that it is like another man talking. I don't know how to account for it, but I would agree with Doctor Rieu that there is a definite apocalyptic style. And while I don't deny the truth of the apocalyptic passages, I must say that this change of key or colour, or whatever it is, is so marked and so sudden that it is a real embarrassment to the translator.

Rieu: The odd thing is that John in his Gospel does not use this style, perhaps for the simple reason that he does not give us these prophecies. But this I think constitutes no reason for thinking that he did not write the Apocalypse itself. In my view the apocalyptic style grew side by side with the Gospel style and was ready made for any Christian writer who had an apocalyptic message to deliver. Robertson: One question: when you were translating the Gospels, had you, Doctor Rieu, already worked out careful principles of translation?

Rieu: Yes.


When I came to the translation of the Gospels, I had already, through a good deal of practice in translating, equipped myself with at least one very general principle, the lodestar of the translator's art, I call it, and that is the principle of equivalent effect; the idea being, that that translation is the best which comes nearest to giving its modern audience the same effect as the original had on its first audiences.

Just to illustrate that, may I use a rather crude example from modern French? French novelists often represent married couples as calling each other mon chou, which I don't think would strike a Frenchman as funny at all. If you translate that into English by the words, 'my cabbage,' you're going as far as possible as you can from the principle of equivalent effect.

In fact, you're making the English reader think that Frenchmen are silly, which is the last thing that you should do.

Well, when I came to examine the history of Biblical translation, I found that no such principle had been followed through the ages. That was translated into highly Semitic Greek.

Then take the Vulgate. When the Gospels and the rest of the Bible came to be translated into Latin, we find St. Jerome practically inventing a Latin for the purpose, a Latin which is very charming, but differs enormously, even from the standard Latin of his day; still [] more, of course, from the Latin of Cicero.

It comes to this: the translators of the Bible have been influenced, almost to the present day, by religious rather than literary considerations. And the result is that, even in the Authorized Version, we have very often too literal a translation to produce equivalent effect.

I can best bring that home to you by one or two examples. Take Luke The Authorized Version represents our Lord as telling a parable in which a master says to his slave: "Make ready wherewith I may sup.

The Greek is colloquial and abrupt; it's perfectly easy to translate. I render it by: "Get something ready for my supper. Phillips says: "Get my supper ready. Another example, from Luke This is really a better one because it comes in a more important passage.

The Authorized Version has: "And it shall turn to you for a testimony. But it isn't really very difficult. What it means, if I may again quote my translation, is: "That is your opportunity. Then you can declare your faith.

Phillips, if I may quote him, says: "This will be your chance to witness for Me.

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One more example, from Luke The idiom is not even Greek. It is one of Luke's bits of Semitic Greek, going straight back to the Hebrew.

And here we're all justified in abandoning the phrase, however hallowed it may seem. I render it: "With all my heart I had desired Phillips says: "You do not know how I have longed If you're going to apply the principle of equivalent effect, you've got to examine very carefully the style, the spirit, and the meaning of your original.

And I soon came to the conclusion that people are wrong who tell you that the Greek of the Gospels is a debased language. It's different from classical Greek, but 'debased' is the wrong word. In the first place, it was the best language available to the Gospel writers, and they use it to the best possible effect.


Secondly, though it was loosened in syntax and grammar, I should talk of natural development rather than debasement.

But diction alone is not all that counts; and when I talk of the Gospels as "supreme works of literary art," I am thinking rather of the skill with which their very miscellaneous contents were put together: that I think is a work of consummate art.

Then again we have to consider whom they were written for. I came to the conclusion very soon that they were written, not for the man in the street, whose existence I do not really believe in, but for the man in the congregation, and that we must not write down to him, that he will not thank us for writing down to him. There is good reason for thinking that the original audience of the Gospels found them just as difficult as we do; and if therefore we paraphrase or lower our standard of English in order to make things crystal clear to the so-called man in the street, we're going beyond our jobs as translators.

To sum up, the Greek Gospels are unique, both in their spiritual content and as works of literary art.

They are majestic, and I think we must strive to convey this effect in the best contemporary English at our command, and never to write down. Nor must we forget one thing, which I have not yet mentioned, and that is the rhythm that runs through all of them. I was deeply impressed by that, and in my attempts to reproduce it, I found the best way was to read my translation aloud, and, when I'd read it aloud once, to read it aloud again, to competent critics sitting by me with pencils and notebooks in their hands, ready to shoot at me when I had finished.

Phillips: Yes, I find myself very largely in agreement with your principles, of course, particularly with that last one about reading it aloud. I think my long-suffering family and friends put up with a great deal in hearing it read again and again.

Perhaps I might outline some of my own principles, many of which will be found, I think, in agreement with yours. I do so agree with this principle of producing equivalent effect. I think I would only like to make this comment, that in a sense I look upon a translator as a kind of liaison officer between what was written long ago and the people of today. On the one hand he must try and understand the Greek that was written in the first place, but it's just as important that he should understand the thoughts, and the thought forms, of people for whom he is writing today.

Now, I know that some people think, because they've written to me and told me so, that I have thereby lowered the level of the literary quality of the Gospels; I don't really honestly think that's so. The examples they credit to me I think are very unconvincing, but I think it is very important to understand the way people are thinking. However, I agree with you, Doctor Rieu, there's no such person as the man in the street.

When you've been, as I have, a parson for over twenty years, you form a sort of composite portrait of what many people are thinking. There's no such person as the man in the street, I agree: but there is a manner of thought, a sort of shape of thinking which does exist among the majority of people for whom I at least was writing. Now, there is, of course, one very great principle in my writing, which I dare say is in yours, too, and that is the avoidance of what we commonly call "translators' English.

The meaning is invariably perfectly clear, but nobody ever spoke like that, except perhaps in some of the worst type of religious plays. And one of the things my critics have looked for is this false note of translators' English, because the moment you strike that note, the game is up; everybody knows this is a translation I'm reading.

Which brings me on to [] another point. To me it is very important to avoid — what shall I call it — not a holy style exactly, but the style of legend. It's a temptation for those of us who have been parsons for years to impart a sort of holy reverent flavour to the whole thing. And that we just must not do, at least I do not think so. It is not there in the original in my judgment. And we have to translate in a matter-of-fact style because these are matters of fact.

Otherwise you get that sense that this is a beautiful story, and how lovely it sounds! People who say what I just said are labeled as judgmental, legalistic, and divisive, and many other things, but the Bible says to go back to the "old paths. Wouldn't that be considered "divisive"? We need to get back to the old Authorized King James Version that brought about the greatest revivals of the last 2, years.

Millions were saved and Christians lived right under the preaching of the AV. It has the seal, blessing, and authority of God on it. Ecclesiastes , "Where the word of a king is, there is power Only a very few of these are based on the Received Text or have the AV text. Standard American Edition, Revised Version, the 3. American version of the Holy Bible, Revised Version 4.

Amplified Bible - AB - , includes explanation of words within text 7. Basic Bible - TBB - , based upon a vocabulary of words Bible in basic English-Stresses common easy to understand words Black Bible Chronicles--a ghetto slang contempory version available on site.

Emphasized Bible - EBR - , contains signs of emphasis for reading Emphatic Diaglott - EDW - Easy-to-Read Version, designed to meet the special needs of the deaf God's Word - GW - , a. Jewish Family Bible Inclusive Version - AIV - , stresses equality of the sexes and physically handicapped, includes Psalms Authorized Version, originally included the Apocrypha Living Bible - LB - , a paraphrase version including the S.

B phrase Message - TM - , a. New Testament in Contemporary English, a translation in the street language of the day, includes Psalms and Proverbs Noli New Testament - NNT - , the first and only book of its kind by an Eastern Orthodox translator at the time of its publication Original New Testament - ONT - , described by publisher as a radical translation and reinterpretation Rapping with Jesus,the good news according to the four brothers--a urban slang version of the 4 gospels available on site.

Recovery Version - RcV - , a reference version containing extensive notes Restoration of Original Sacred Name Bible - SNB - , a version whose concern is the true name and titles of the creator and his son Grace is a bigger thing than the Law Now we find that the Law keeps slipping into the picture to point the vast extent of sin. So I felt that though it was important for the modern reader to realize that the genealogy of Jesus went back right through Jewish history, the actual list of names as such was not important to them.

Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Alas for them, for they brought evil upon themselves. These are the base translations, which will be smoothed over a little in the harmonized form. The young shall behave rudely towards the old And the inferior towards those of high repute. Matthew For the method which I adopted in translating the comparatively simple Greek of Letters to Young Churches , for example, was applicable enough to those human, non-literary documents.

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