Phillip's Translation


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Phillip's Translation

What began as a pastor's effort to make the New Testament understandable to a London youth group turned into an entirely new translation.

Encouraged by C. S. Lewis's favorable reaction to his translation of the Pauline Epistles, J.B. Phillips went on to translate the Gospels. At first reluctant, fearing that people would object to his paraphrasing the words of Jesus, he completed the Gospels in 1952, the Acts in 1955, and the Book of Revelation in 1957. The entire NT was published in 1958. He translated four books of the OT (Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, and Micah) in 1963, and revised his translation of the NT in 1973.

The strength of his translation is in its readability. The NT reads as if it were originally written in 20th century English.

But Phillips was concerned not only with his readers, he was also concerned about his authors. In translating the text, he writes as if he were in the shoes of the author, attempting to translate, not only words but ideas. In doing so, he tends to go too far and is sometimes inconsistent. Phillips recognized that some of his earlier translations were made too freely, and has made more accurate translations in his revision.

Someone looking for an accurate translation won't be pleased with the Phillip's translation, as it takes too many liberties to be used for serious study, but he has given us a readable translation that may serve a good purpose as a second Bible.

    For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that every one who believes in him shall not be lost, but should have eternal life. -- John 3:16



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