"Four Gospels" by J.B. Phillips?

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by convicted1, Sep 29, 2011.

  1. convicted1

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    Four Gospels written by J.B. Phillips was a book published in 1952. I bought it at a thrift store in Pigeon Forge, TN, while the wifey and I were on vacation until this last wednesday morning. I bought this book, thinking it was a commenatry of the four gospels(I barely skimmed it), and it also had some writting in it that shows it was a CHRISTmas gift given to someone in 1958, so I bought it.....I like old "stuff".

    Now, here go the questions. Does anyone have this? Is it any good? Is he a good translator? Is he a heretic(I read an article from www.ask.com stating he was)? Please let me know!!
     
  2. following-Him

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    I thought I had a copy but on checking it is New Testament Christianity , not Four Gospels. I have yet to read my copy.
     
  3. JesusFan

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    Wasn't that part of an entire Bible paraphrase that he authored?
     
  4. franklinmonroe

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    In a sense, it is a commentary! British clergyman J.B. Phillips produced a paraphrase of the NT which he had begun at the end of WWII. Like many past Bible translation projects, this one was was released to the public in portions. Often, a new NT would be published several years before the accompanying OT became available. The speed to publishing is much shorter now (the recent CEB NT was out only about 1 year before the OT).

    The "Four Gospels" is just one section of his 1958 "New Testament in Modern English" (although it may be slightly different than what appeared in the compiled edition). I have read it; it is very good as paraphrases go. The first section published was called "Letters to Young Churches" in 1947; if you collected all four of the parts it would not be quite a complete NT.

    His paraphrase was the best known until American versions by Bratcher and Taylor. All serious Bible readers should know these influential names, as also translators Weymouth, Moffatt, Goodspeed, Peterson, and a few others.
     
    #4 franklinmonroe, Sep 29, 2011
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  5. Rippon

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    Phillips was a theological liberal. But he slightly improved his New Testament paraphrase in 1972. That's the copy I have. He has a freshness that is appealing and he can turn a phrase -- but he can't be relied upon to accurately reflect the Word of God. Weymouth's (which Franklin mentioned)is better, though still a bit loose.(And that went through many editions long after his death.)

    I think that owning a copy of Phillips' paraphrase would be a good idea. Just use caution. The Message is even more extreme.
     
  6. rsr

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    I have a soft spot in my heart for the Phillips NT, which I obtained as a teenager, for just this reason.

    It is true that his view of inspiration and some other doctrines was faulty, but his translation still has merit, though it should be remembered that it is a paraphrase and not a literal translation, which it cannot replace. For example, IMO he pretty much butchered the opening of John. OTOH, I very much like I Corinthians 13.
     
    #6 rsr, Sep 29, 2011
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  7. Jim1999

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    I have a 1960 copy of The New Testament in Modern English personally autographed by Dr. Phillips. It is one of my main readers.

    On his personal faith in Jesus Christ, I agree that he was truly twice-born. His views on portions of scripture do vary, for example, two Isaiah's. On the essentials of the gospel he is firm. I never preached on the New Testament without first reading J. B. Phillips. I idea of Phillips was to make the New Testament readily understood in modern English, and this he did. Hopefully, his work helped me to make my NT preaching clear to the people listening.

    Phillips was well respected in the Church of England and other groups of believers. He preached from the KJV, but generally preached in the English of his time.

    As has been mentioned, remember, it is a paraphrase, and not a strict translation.

    Cheers, with happy memories,

    Jim
     
  8. rsr

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    Just had to rub that in again, didn't you?:)

    Seriously, Paul's letters read like, well, letters. The tone conveys, rightly I think, that Paul was writing practical advice to people he knew well, which makes the message more immediate than some other translations.

    It's a pity that he didn't get to finish the OT; his style was much different with the prophets than with the NT writers.

    I just found a copy of Four Prophets for Nook (free) and downloaded it.
     
  9. Jim1999

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    RSR:

    I forgot to mention that you and I had discussed this topic a few years back.

    He was loved by his parishioners and fellow clergy, and highly respected as was his work. He preached much the same as he wrote.

    I would have to look it up, but it seems to me he only wrote on the 4 books of the Old Testament. A complete Old Testament would have been brilliant; sparkling!

    Cheers, mate. Nice of you to remember our talks,

    Jim
     
  10. Crucified in Christ

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    While I cannot vouch for his theology, Phillips work often hits the nail directly on the head. I will often turn to it to see how he handled the Greek in translation. One of my favorite examples of his work is in Acts, when Peter confronts Simon Magus: "To Hell with you and your money" (8:20). That is simple, direct and accurate. It should be in every student's library.
     
  11. convicted1

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    Thanks everyone for your input. I need to get that Four Gospels book out and did into it, and see what I think of it. I read the first few chapters of Matthew, and it seemed to flow smoothly.
     

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