The Unvarnished New Testament


Is anyone acquainted with this translation? I’ve had it for a number of years but thought I’d lost it…found it today and remembered that it gives a pleasant reading experience. I’m not sure how ‘unvarnished’ it is. … +testament


I looked at the Amazon link, Dave. It has been published in 1991, but only has 24 customer reviews. That’s really not a sign, that it’s a popular book. Just an observation. :smiley:


What does unvarnished mean? :confused:


Without varnish, of course. :smiley:

Seriously, according to the translator, the attempt was made to NOT translate in accordance with traditional views on what the text ‘should say’.


There is no such animal as an “Unvarnished New Testament.” (Catchy title, though!)

Since the original manuscripts do not exist, every translation, including this one, is varnished.

Let’s consider the very first verse in Matthew. The “Unvarnished” translation begins, “The book of the birth of Jesus the Anointed…”
Now “the Anointed” or “the Anointed One” is an excellent translation of “χριστος” (christos). That is exactly what the word means.
However, “birth” is a poor translation of “γενεσις” (genesis). This is a word that refers to the source or origin of one’s lineage, that is his geneology. Indeed, “geneology” is precisely the translation given by the RSV and the ESV, and (in my opinion) is the best.

In spite of the name,“The Unvarnished New Testament” (in my opinion) is no more unvarnished than any other.


But it DOES have the catchy title!

I’m still hoping for the translation that clears up the questions about the Incarnation, the dual nature of Christ, the Trinity, the Virgin Birth and a bunch of other stuff. I’ll be waiting a good long time I reckon. :smiley:


Ya know, I’m not sure that what you are looking for will happen, for any of us, but when I read JB Phillips translation of the new testament, I felt like I was actually reading Paul’s letters… It was like there was energy and excitement that I had never realized in other translations. Mr. Phillips had his problems, which, in my estimation, makes Him a viable relator of the Gospel. He lived for God and in his own way suffered greatly.

Lord bless him. :frowning:

Chad :smiley:


I like the JBP translation just fine - I turn to it often. I know nothing of the man’s life however, and will remedy that soon.


Of all the English translations I have read, I think J. B. Phillips’s translations of Paul read the best.


A Huge life that was dedicated to Christ, that had all the problems that many of us have, and he was strong enough, with the help of his wife to recognize and write about it. Anyone struggling through emotional issues, Mr. Phillips has some good advice and plain council.

Actually, that is the power of His writings.

Peace. :smiley:


I have a copy and have read it a couple of times. Yes, I really like it, and hardly noticed that the translator is RCC.


The problem comes, in that he is one person. Let’s take another example. A.E Knoch at Well, he also did a Bible translation. And it presents a different view - of Greek translation. And one not widely accepted - in the world at large. Most Bible translations, have committees of scholars - from different Christian denominations. As opposed to a strict, Baptist or Roman Catholic -committee of scholars - for example. I think a one man band translator, let’s in more personal bias.


Well, the story of Phillips’ translation is interesting. During WW2, he led a youth Bile study. Sometimes the studies were held in the bomb shelters as this was the time that the Germans were bombing. The story goes that the kids were less than enthusiastic about all this bible stuff. Phillips could not understand why these youth were not excited about the gospel message. The kids basically told him that they could not understand the verbiage (King James) and that they don’t talk like that. So Phillips re translated into modern English… Thus the title ‘The New Testament In Modern English.’

I think it was Paidion who commented (in another thread) that it is more of a paraphrase than a word for word translation. So in this case, the committee of scholars didn’t cut it with the kids :laughing:

And for the record, he was Anglican and not Roman Catholic.


Probably back then, then didn’t have marketing perfected yet. Not that it’s ever perfected. And Bible producers, still get this stuff wrong. Like when the NIV publishers, published TNIV. Where they wished to use more inclusive language. Well, that’s all well and good. But they wanted to replace the NIV with the TNIV. And they even had scholars - on the TNIV translation edition. But it got a considerable amount of flack. They ended up scraping the TNIV edition and keeping the NIV. But they incorporated some inclusive language - included in the TNIV. And even then, some of the super conservatives were complaining.

I think if marking research of this century…was available to King Phillip…his problem would have been solved. But the producers of the NIV remake - didn’t listen to their marketing team. :laughing:


HFPZ said

What problem is that?



King Phillip?


Sorry, wrong number. :laughing:

I’m probably multitasking again. Hearing something on YouTube, watching educational TV, hearing classical music - on the radio, etc. Maybe Dr. Who, was talking with King Phillip. Or perhaps one of my Zombie friends called. And named their new leader - King Phillip. And I inserted it, while typing a reply - to you. :laughing:


I wonder if the “Unvarnished New Testament” contains 1 John 5:7 “For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one.” If so, it is varnished. For that sentence, known as “The Johannine Comma” was added many centuries after the New Testament was written.

Here are some facts, which taken together make it almost impossible to maintain that it was part of the original letter which we call “1st John”.

  1. Out of the many hundreds of manuscripts which contain 1st John, there are only eight known Greek manuscripts which contain the passage.
  2. Of the eight, four of them include it not as part of the text, but as a marginal note.
  3. Seven of the eight date from the 15th to 18th centuries.
  4. The other one is a variant reading of a 10th century manuscript.
  5. During the Trinitarian controversies of the 4th and 5th centuries, no Greek father quoted the passage in support of Trinitarianism. Was that because it did not exist at that time?

If the passage were original, how can it be explained that it was absent from the many hundreds of early Greek manuscripts, and not present in even one of them?

Further details about the Johannine Comma can be obtained from:


I did not know that - and as a matter of fact, the UNT DOES include that Johannine Comma!