Letters to Young Churches | J.B. Phillips

As you know, I have been revisiting my favorite spiritual classics … books written by authors who have fought the good fight and remained faithful to the end. This week I am diving into the works of J.B. Phillips … but this week is a little bit different because I have a very special guest joining me: Peter Croft, the youngest grandson of J.B. Phillips.

J.B. Phillips is a man who left an incredible legacy that changed so many lives, and Peter started a non-profit that highlights that faithful life. Today on the podcast Peter shares some insight into his grandfather’s work and stories of his incredible life. A few facts to start:

  1. J.B. Phillips was a Greek scholar and graduated from Cambridge University.
  2. He was a pastor in southeast London and led a youth group during the. They couldn’t wrap their minds around Paul’s letters, which shocked him and prompted him to communicate these letters in a way the young men would understand. He saw their lives change because they understood scripture.
  3. In the 1940s, with the help of C.S. Lewis, he wrote the first popular modern translation of the Bible. He first wrote Letters to Young Churches with an introduction by C.S. Lewis. Four million copies were sold and he ended up writing the whole New Testament, completed in 1952.
  4. Phillips wrote a total of 26 books, including his translations. He described his translation works as “rewiring the house with the electricity still on.” And in Ring of Truth he wrote that “if he was convinced of the truth before he started his translation work, he was a hundred times more convinced after it.”

Throughout his grandfather’s work, Peter has found these messages … and they are the messages he wants to continue to share with the world through the J.B. Phillips Society:

  • The Bible is real and it is alive.
  • The spirit of God is just as powerful today as it was in the first century.
  • Jesus is the most compelling and beautiful life ever lived … and He the reason for our existence.

Just a handful of books and translations by J.B. Phillips:

Peter says this of his grandfather: “The act of translating for him clearly had an effect on his soul… The way the Scripture spoke to him was amazing… He wanted people to experience the Scripture as a living document.”

One of the verses that really came alive for me in his translation is Romans 8:18: “In my opinion, whatever we may have to go through now is less than nothing compared with the magnificent future God has in store for us. The whole of creation is on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of the sons of God coming into their home.”

I hope that you experience the Bible as a “living document.” My prayer for you and for me is that all of creation can stand on tiptoe and see us living a faithful life, carrying out the work that God has for us.

And won’t you please join me in praying for Peter and the good work he is doing?



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