The Rev. John Bertram Phillips of Dorsetshire has a rare and felicitous talent: he can make St. Paul sound as contemporary as the preacher down the street. Seeking to "transmit freshness and life across the centuries," Phillips produced a New Testament in Modern English that abandoned archaisms in favor of unadorned clarity and read more like Lord Jim than King James.
Phillips' version, unquestionably the most comprehensible of recent Bible translations, has sold more than 4,000,000 copies since the first part of it was published in 1947, and hundreds of British clergymen even use it for church worship.
His New Testament...