Here is Paul’s letter to Philemon in the New Eclectic Version. And here is one of my favorite parts of the letter, in which the wiley apostle, without forcing Philemon’s will, piles on reason after reason to extend the love that he (Paul) knew was already in his heart.

A Plea for Onesimus

Therefore, though I have great liberty in Christ to order you to do the proper thing, yet for love’s sake I choose instead to appeal to you, being the kind of man people refer to as “Paul, the aged”, and now as a prisoner of Jesus Christ as well. I appeal to you, then, concerning my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten while yet in my chains. Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is useful both to you and to me. I am sending him—which is to say my very heart—back to you in person. I wanted to keep him here with me, so that on your behalf he might minister to me during my imprisonment for the cause of the gospel; but I was unwilling to do anything without your knowledge or consent, so that your good deed might not seem to be by compulsion, but rather by your own free will. For perhaps for a little while he was separated from you for this reason, that you might have him back forever, no longer as a slave, but as more than a slave: as a beloved brother, especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord!

Here is Paul’s letter to Titus in the New Eclectic Version. And below is chapter 2 of that letter, which is loaded with both doctrine and application:

But as for you, speak of the qualities that go along with sound instruction: namely, that older men must be temperate, dignified, sensible, and sound in faith, love, and endurance. 

Likewise, older women must be reverent in their conduct, neither malicious gossips nor slaves of much wine, but instead teachers of what is good, and so equipped to train the younger women to love their husbands, to love their children, and to be sensible, chaste, devoted to home-making, good, and submissive to their own husbands, so that the word of God may not fall into reproach.

Likewise, urge the young men to be sensible and self-controlled, in every respect presenting your life as a pattern for good works. In your teaching you must demonstrate integrity, sobriety, and sound instruction that is above criticism, so that he who opposes you may be put to shame, finding nothing evil to say about us.

Urge slaves to be submissive to their own masters in all things, and to be well pleasing, neither talking back nor pilfering, but instead showing all good fidelity, so that they may adorn the teaching of God our Savior in every way.

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires, and to live sensibly, righteously, and devoutly in the present age, eagerly watching for our blessed hope: the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that he might redeem us from every lawless act and purify for himself a people for his own possession, zealous for good works.

Speak of these things—and exhort and convict with all authority. Let no one despise or disregard you.

I hope I have at least touch of Wm. Carey in me, the part that loved to say, “I can plow.”

In any case, here is 2 Timothy in the New Eclectic Version, leaving me just 9 books to go (but don’t tell anyone how LONG four of them are)! I praise the Lord for his faithfulness; the joy of doing this work abides, and I am truly grateful.

One might excerpt many passages from this little gem, but here is a favorite of mine that may encourage you:

For this reason, I would remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God that is in you through the laying on of my hands; for God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and self-control. Therefore, do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner; but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, grace that was granted us in Christ Jesus measureless ages ago, 10 but now has been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has abolished death and brought to light both life and immortality through the gospel, 11 for which I was appointed a herald, an apostle, and a teacher. 12 For this reason I also suffer these things; yet I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to keep what I have entrusted to him with a view to that Day.

Here is 1 Timothy in the NEV, and also a favorite selection. Hope you enjoy it! d

Glory to God for His Grace

12 I am grateful to the One who has empowered me—Christ Jesus our Lord—because He deemed me faithful and placed me in his service, 13 even though in former times I was a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent aggressor. Yet I found mercy, because I acted ignorantly and in unbelief; 14 and the grace of our Lord towards me was exceedingly abundant, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 It is a trustworthy saying, deserving of full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am first of all. 16 And yet for this very reason I obtained mercy, so that in me, as first, Christ Jesus might display all longsuffering, and so provide an example for those who would believe on Him for eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible—the one and only God—be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen!

After a long but delightful labor, I rejoice to give you the Epistle of James in the New Eclectic Version.

Here too is a short excerpt from that letter, a great field of battle over which Catholics and Protestants have spilled not a little ink!

Also, be sure to read the thoughtful comments that follow, plundered from The Reformation Study Bible for your edification.


Faith Without Works Is Dead

14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can such “faith” save him? 15 If a brother or sister is lacking proper clothes and daily food, 16 and one of you says to him, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” but you do not give him the things he needs for his body, what good is that? 17 So also with faith: if it does not have works, it is dead, being all by itself. 18 Moreover, someone may well say to you, “You have faith, and I have works; show me your faith without works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”

19 You believe there is one God, and you do well; but the demons also believe that—and shudder! 20 But are you willing to be shown, O man devoid of truth, that “faith” without works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father shown to be righteous because of his works, when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was colaboring with his works, and that by means of works his faith was being perfected? 23 And thus the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see from this that a man is declared to be righteous because of his works, and not by “faith” alone. 25 And in like manner, was not Rahab the harlot also shown to be righteous because of her works, when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so too “faith” without works is dead.

Does James Deny Justification by Faith Alone?

This text introduces the crucial issue of the relationship between faith and works. The question under scrutiny is: What kind of faith is saving faith? James’ question is rhetorical; the obvious answer is that faith without works cannot save. Faith that yields no deeds is not saving faith. The NT does not teach justification by the profession of faith or the claim to faith; it teaches justification by the possession of true faith, a faith that is not without works.

When Luther and the Reformers insisted on the formula “Justification by faith alone,” they meant to insist that justification rests upon reliance on the merit of Christ alone. The “alone” does not mean that the faith exists alone without any subsequent fruit of obedience. Luther insisted that saving faith is a living faith. “Dead faith” does not mean a faith that has perished. Rather, the image suggests a faith that never had any true life in it. A dead faith cannot make one alive, cannot “save your soul,” and is therefore false and useless (1:21).

James appeals to Abraham as his chief exhibit of one who is justified by his works. This involved no conflict with Paul, who also appeals to Abraham as the chief exhibit of one justified by faith. Note that James appeals to Gen. 22, while Paul appeals to Gen. 15. In the sight of God, Abraham is justified in Gen. 15, long before he offers Isaac on the altar. God knew Abraham’s faith to be genuine. Abraham is justified to us, to human eyes, in Gen. 22, when he shows his faith through his obedience.

Our Lord used the same verb in Luke 7:35 when he declared that “wisdom is justified by all her children” (i.e., shown to be genuine wisdom by its results.). Here, to “justify” does not mean to be reconciled to God, but to demonstrate the truth of a prior claim. Just as true wisdom is demonstrated by its fruit, so Abraham’s claim to faith is justified (vindicated) by his outward obedience. Yet his works were not the meritorious cause of his salvation; they added no merit to the perfect and sufficient merit of Christ.

In sum, here James is attacking all forms of antinomianism, all theologies that seek to have Jesus as Savior without embracing Him as Lord. Just as Paul demonstrated that trusting in one’s own works is deadly, so James teaches that resting on dead, empty “faith” is deadly. The two apostles balance one another perfectly.