The New Testament: An Idiomatic Translation Volume One Early Letters

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This translation attempts several things: first, it tries to be faithful both to the Greek and the English languages, giving ordinary English for ordinary Greek words, avoiding “Biblical” jargon. Second, the English reflects the individual style and personality of Greek writers. Third, the documents appear in the order they were actually written, enabling the reader to follow the earliest development of Christian thought. Fourth, the little introductions reveal the psychological context of the documents, showing the motivation behind them. Finally, the introductions show how the documents reveal whether their religious dimension was attached to or grew out of the actual facts that happened historically.

The first volume, “Early Letters” consists of the letters of Paul, James, Peter, Jude and Hebrews, arranged in the following order: First and Second Thessalonians, Galatians, First Corinthians, James, the second half of Second Corinthians, the first half of Second Corinthians, Romans, Hebrews, Philippians, Philemon, “Ephesians,” Colossians, First Timothy, First Peter, Titus, Second Timothy, Jude, Second Peter. The reason for the documents’ placement is explained in the introductions to each one.

In the second volume, “The Master’s Life,” the documents’ order is Mark’s report of the Good News, Luke’s Report, Matthew’s Report, and the Acts of the Emissaries. Again, the reason for the order is explained in the introduction to the volume and the introductions to the individual Reports.

The third volume, “Further Revelation,” comprises the words of John, in the following order: The second letter of John, the third letter of John, the first letter of John, John’s Report of the Good News, and Revelation. Since Revelation does not speak for itself, a commentary is supplied, giving the passages from the Old Testament that are quoted and the number-symbolism that is used, including the number of times the nouns are repeated, forming a key to the meaning of the various numbers.


“I certainly admire the clear fluidity of Blair’s writing and the fact that he made me think and raised questions on every page … I certainly admire the author with his courage to face such a work. If this work makes other scholars think as much about our New Testament writings and question their assumptions as this did for me, it would be a very useful work indeed.” – (from the Foreword) Sean P. Kealy, Professor of Biblical Studies, Duquesne University

“Professor Blair is a trained philosopher with a passion for translation, which has been reflected in his [previous works] … In this new work, Professor Blair combines his passion for translation with his interest in chronology with a translation of the earliest documents in the New Testament, paying close attention to their original sequence as a way of comprehending their historical interconnectedness. George Blair’s work is always bold and independent. That is what makes it provocative and interesting … I would especially recommend it to people well versed in the New Testament as a way to help them gain a fresh perspective on a very familiar text.” – Ronald V. Huggins, Assistant Professor of Historical and Theological Studies, Salt Lake Theological Seminary

“It is not uncommon for a student of the New Testament – who is also a connoisseur of classical Greek language and culture – to dream of someday making his or her own translation of the New Testament text. For most, the idea remains a dream; but George Blair has moved beyond the point of merely decrying and critiquing existing Bible translations into the more perilous sphere of creative accomplishment – with its attendant commitments and vulnerabilities. He has produced a unique rendition of the New Testament text that will challenge the academy, and no doubt spark lively debate within its halls.” – Professor Leonard Maluf, Blessed John XIII National Seminary, Massachusetts

Table of Contents

The First Letter of Paul to the Thessalonians
The Second Letter of Paul to the Thessalonians
The Letter of Paul to the Galatians
The First Letter of Paul to the Corinthians
The Letter of James
The Second Letter of Paul to the Corinthians
The Letter of Paul to the Romans
The Discourse to the Hebrews
The Letter of Paul to the Philippians
The Letter of Paul to Philemon
The Letter of Paul “to the Ephesians”
The Letter of Paul to the Colossians
The First Letter of Paul to Timothy
The First Letter of Peter
The Letter of Paul to Titus
The Second Letter of Paul to Timothy
The Letter of Jude
The Second Letter of Peter

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