Tag Archives: New Testament

J.B. Phillips’s Take on Study

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, March 16, 2017

bible studies, bible


J.B. Phillips’s Take on Study

I love J.B. Phillips’s modern translation of the New Testament.

He was an Anglican clergyman in wartime London who was concerned about young people, and how they could not relate to the antiquated language of the Bible. So, he translated a few letters of the New Testament into contemporary language. Encouraged by the reactions to his translations, he went on the translate the entire New Testament. [1]

I was particularly interested in Rev. Phillips’s personal appreciation for the translation process. Having done a bit of translation myself (from the Greek), I’ve gotten a taste for how exciting and enlightening it can be! Translation led him on “a personal journey of discovery…[he was] delighted to get in closer touch with first-century Christians. He also [was] glad that he can bring his readers closer to Jesus Christ.” [2]

I’d like to highlight one “serendipity” that J.B. Phillips lifts up, in his personal testimony. On translating 1 John 1:20, Rev. Phillips found himself needing to step back. “…there may be many factors in our lives for which we are not really to blame at all. We did not choose our heredity; we did not choose the bad, indifferent, or excellent way in which we were brought up….It is almost as if John is saying, ‘If God loves us, who are we to be so high and mighty as to refuse to love ourselves?’” [3]

What a striking insight. This really causes me to thank God yet again that I am His follower. Not a blind follower, heedlessly following, lurching along, but following God using my intellect, my senses, and my insights. (Also, using others’ insights, gleaned from decades of study.)

How amazing is God’s Word. Thank You, God, for the awesome majesty of Your Word, the Bible. Help us read, chew, ruminate, digest, and comprehend Your word. In Your name we pray.



Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er.

[1] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 93.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid, 95.

Centering Prayer? Head of the Body

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, September 13, 2015

Jesus - mosaic from Deesus panel, south aisle of Hagia Sophia

Centering Prayer? Head of the Body

I love the letter to the Colossians. It has been a few years since I’ve studied it in depth, but I love the out-and-out theological expressions it uses. Some other parts of the New Testament are more action-oriented, and I love that, too. But sometimes, I can’t wait to sink my teeth into some deep theological statement. Like in the middle of Colossians, chapter 1.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m choosing a Name of God found in the Bible, my word of the day. My Name of God for today is Head of the Body. So, I centered today on this Name.

Instead of just choosing a Name and getting right down to prayer, I took a look at the first chapter of Colossians. I even checked out some notes on verse 18, where “Head of the Body, the Church” appears. I discovered “Head of the Body” appears several additional times in the New Testament, including Ephesians 1, where Paul fleshes out the “Head of the Body” a bit more.

I remember briefly thinking of the description in 1 Corinthians of the Church being the Body of Christ, and each member having different gifts, different ways to be useful. And—just think. Christ is Head of that whole multi-gifted, multi-talented, multi-ethnic, multi-colored Body. What a marvelous Body to be considered part of!

Then, I tried my best to focus on the Colossians verse—specifically, on the Name of God I chose for today. I had limited success. Sure, I’d focus on “Head of the Body” for several moments, but then I would get distracted.

The best thing (or perhaps, best thought) that came to me involved the Head. The Head is connected to the Body. The Head (and the brain inside it) controls the whole Body, and tells the Body what to do and which way to go. The Head is very much an organic part of the Body, and unless part of the Body is malfunctioning, it responds to the direction of the Head. Considers the Head to be in charge of the Body.

Wow. That means I am in direct communication with the Head of the Body/the Church. I don’t need to find some special way to communicate, since I am organically part of the Head. That means you are, too, if you are a part of the Body.

Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for this fruitful time of prayer today. Thank You for this excellent Name of God I found today. Help me to keep in touch with You, stay connected, and know that I am part of this amazing Body of Christ. Thanks, Lord!


Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

As Human As You or Me

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, July 2, 2015

Jesus as human - stained glass

As Human As You or Me

What if the New Testament were written more like the books of poetry from the Hebrew Scriptures? Certainly a change in perspective, that’s for sure. As I mentioned yesterday, I’ll be using a book named Praying the New Testament as Psalms all this month. (Desmond O’Donnell and Maureen Mohen wrote the book.)

For the next few days, I will be looking at several psalm portions written about differing aspects of our Lord Jesus. Today, I wanted to consider Jesus as Human. Fully human.

Yes, I know these points of doctrine and characteristics of Jesus in an intellectual way. True. But expressed in the form of a psalm? Powerful.

“Knowing that Jesus can sympathize with my weaknesses/and that mercy and grace are there for the asking;” [1] As I read this portion, I could not help but think of the person of Jesus—the very real, very physical Person. (The Second Person of the Trinity, remember.)

Mercy! Grace! I need them both so much. And, I am ever so grateful that our Lord Jesus is accessible, any time. Any place. Wow.

Dear Lord Jesus, thank You. That’s all I can say.


Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

[1] Praying the New Testament as Psalms, Desmond O’Donnell, OMI, and Maureen Mohen, RSM, (United States of America: ACTA Publications, 2002.), 24.