Many a wise man, saturated in the Scriptures of God, has come to see that all creation is a school, and each and every kind of experience a classroom therein. Certainly this is the message of John Newton in his letter to Mrs. Dawson, formerly Miss Flower, but now married and nursing a newborn child.

Reading it, I took special pleasure in the way Newton’s experience as a parent becomes a window through which he beholds winsome glimpses of the heart of Father God. I am much in need of such glimpses, for truly, the essence of my spiritual warfare–and the key to any victory I may be able to achieve–lies in knowing more and more truly the character “the one with whom we have to do.”

In this excerpt, Newton makes Him manifest. I am grateful for it.


I join with you in praising the Lord for his goodness. I understand the little stranger is to be called Jane, a name to which I am partial for the sake of some who bear it. If she is spared to you, I trust your best endeavors to teach her the good ways of the Lord will not be wanting, and you will find that while a child, and even an infant, she will be a teacher to you.

You will be often reminded of that text, “Like as a father (or a mother) pitieth a child, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him.” And when you are forced to overrule the inclinations of the child whom you love and wish to gratify; when she cries because she cannot have what you know would be hurtful to her; and when a regard for her health constrains you to give her some salutary pains . . . then you will be led to notice the true cause of many of your own disappointments and trials.

Should you see her sometimes misconstrue your tenderness and think you unkind–even though you have given her a thousand daily proofs of your love and care–because you cannot comply with her wishes at every point, you will see in her too much of my own picture, and something of your own.

On the other hand, the pleasure you will find in her affection and obedience; the readiness with which you will forgive her faults when she is sensible of them; and how much more you are disposed to caress her than to frown upon her . . . these feelings will lead your thoughts to our heavenly Father, who delights in our prosperity, and who does not willingly afflict us or permit us to be in heaviness without a need-be for it.

Thus, while we are in the Lord’s school, and desiring to be taught by him, we may always be learning, even though we should not be favored with the public preaching of the gospel. Yes, an attention to the Bible will enable us to derive profitable instruction from children, servants, friends, enemies, comforts, and crosses . . . from all we see, hear or meet with in the daily course of life.

Here is 2 Peter in the New Eclectic Version.

And here is brother Peter himself, reminding us that the multiform Word of God is given to his saints as a beacon of truth and hope, shining in a dark and dismal place. Reading the newspaper first, and 2 Peter next, you will get an excellent feel for both.

For we were not following cleverly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were in fact eyewitnesses of His majesty. For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, a voice such as this was borne to Him by the Majestic Glory, saying: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” And we ourselves heard this voice borne from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.

Moreover, we also possess the trustworthy prophetic word, which you do well to keep in view as though it were a lamp shining in a dark and dismal place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts; recognizing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s private inspiration, for no prophecy ever had its origin in the will of man, but holy men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

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!