Here is 1 Peter in the New Eclectic Version.

This epistle was challenging to translate, since a number of the verses are condensed and cryptic; your alternative translations are more than welcome!

But for far weightier reasons, the book itself is challenging. It reminds us that persecution–even to the point of “fiery ordeals”–is not “some strange thing”, but the norm for Christ’s Church down through ages, as she makes her pilgrim way through the wilderness of this present evil world.

But do read the many encouragements that the apostle offers us: the fellowship of the brotherhood, the sustaining presence of the Spirit, the assurance of divine protection, and the hope of the Consummation at the Revelation of Jesus Christ, when an upside down world, at long last, will be turned right side up, and when his people, in all the fulness they long for, will experience joy unspeakable and full of glory!

Here is Paul’s letter to the Ephesians in the New Eclectic Version.

By my lights the NT gives us four Matterhorns; four towering Scriptural peaks that pierce the heavens and stun us with their beauty and majesty.

They are: 1) the Lord’s high priestly prayer (John 17),  2) Paul’s discourse on the Christian’s walk in the Spirit (Romans 8),  3) Paul’s unveiling of God’s eternal purpose and plan in Christ (Ephesians 1), and 3) John’s vision of the Investiture of the High King of Heaven (Revelation 5).

So then, here’s hoping you will enjoy scaling Ephesians 1 in the NEV, and also hiking through the rest of the book.

But be prepared: More than once this amazing terrain has made grown men weep for the beauty and truth to be seen everywhere we look!

In all my (re)born days, I have never encountered a writer with a better grip on the true character, extent, strategies, and joy of progressive sanctification than John Newton. When you read today’s quote, I think you’ll see why.

These words appear in a letter to a Mrs. Talbot, an older Christian woman, possibly nearing death, who complained to Newton about the residual sin in her heart, openly raising questions about her exact standing with God. Newton, one of the great soul physicians of his day, wrote to her, as to many others struggling with similar doubts, in these words:

There is, my dear Madam, a difference between the holiness of a sinner and that of an angel. The angels have never sinned, nor have they tasted of redeeming love; they have no inward conflicts, no law of sin warring in their members; their obedience is perfect; their happiness complete.

Yet if I be found among redeemed sinners, I need not wish to be an angel. Perhaps God is not less glorified by your obedience (and, not to shock you, I will add, by mine) than by Gabriel’s. 

It is a mighty manifestation of his grace indeed, when such obedience can live, and act, and conquer, in such hearts as ours; when, in defiance of an evil nature and an evil world, and all the force and subtlety of Satan, a weak worm is still upheld, and enabled not only to climb, but to thresh the mountains; when a small spark is preserved through storms and floods. 

In these circumstances , the work of grace is to be estimated, not merely from its imperfect appearance, but from the difficulties it has to struggle with and overcome; and therefore our holiness does not consist in great attainments, but in spiritual desires, in hungerings, thirstings, and mournings; in humiliation of heart, poverty of spirit, submission, and meekness; in cordial admiring thoughts of the Lord Jesus, and dependence upon him alone for all we want.

Indeed, these may be said to be great attainments; but they who have most of them are most sensible that they, in and of themselves, are nothing, have nothing, can do nothing, and see daily cause for abhorring themselves, and repenting in dust and ashes. 

As I wrote in the previous post, Newton never leaves us groveling on the floor, abhorring ourselves. Rather, he points us to Christ, and to an ever-deepening commitment to, and dependency upon, our walk in the Spirit with Him.

His writings are altogether in the spirit of Paul’s closing cry in Romans 7: “O, who will deliver me from this deadly sinful body? Thanks be to God, (it is by the gift of the mighty indwelling Holy Spirit), through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

I’m happy to introduce you to 1 Thessalonians in the New Eclectic Version!

Incurable eschatologist that I am, I have always loved Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians. Written very early in the new Christian Era (around 50 AD), they serve as a window through which we may glimpse of a new-born Gentile church in all her glory.

Though not without her problems, she is full of love, joy, zeal, outreach, affliction, endurance, and–hovering over it all like the Spirit in the form of a dove–a lively expectation of the Lord’s soon return to rescue, judge, and eternally redeem!

Could we be entering such days? Could such an experience be ours? If so, you may want to read this letter, and (soon, I hope) its sequel.

May you be blessed as you do.

1 Thessalonians in the NEV