What a year!

I obviously don’t visit or update this blog much anymore!

This year has been well documented though. For information, visit dailybiblereading.info.

The main event of this year was the publishing of the Plain Indonesian Translation (TSI) New Testament, which is shown in the picture. There are at least 60,000 people who have it on their Android phone or tablets. It is read by several thousand more via Youversion (bible.com). And now the New Testament is coming out in its second printing.

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We enjoy our wonder family here in Siloam Springs, including David and Jen, with Luke and Laura. Rachel is in East Africa. Hannah and Brandon (with Ava and Joel) are in South Asia.

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DBRP160 1820sqThanks for visiting this blog page! Most of my blogging efforts now are going into Albata’s web page at albata.info. That web site is primarily in Indonesian, helping Indonesians obtain and use the Plain Indonesian Translation of the New Testament.

Secondly, as was announced in my last post, I have started the Daily Bible Reading Podcast: In my daily devotions since I was 18, I have read the Bible all the way through each year. In 2014 I will record my readings of the whole Bible (in English) and publish them on the Internet. I have named this the Daily Bible Reading Podcast. This will be a simple, no-frills, 20-minute reading of two Old Testament passages and one New Testament passage per day. I will give some brief comments based on my experience as a Bible translator, but I won’t preach. Along the way, I will have brief opportunities for my listeners to hear or see videos of what God is doing with His Word in Indonesia. The people I most hope will listen include my family, my English-speaking friends in Jakarta, and YOU! For information on how to subscribe and automate listening on computers or smart devices, see dailybiblereading.info. I hope you will join us this year!

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Calling all friends! Phil is starting the Daily Bible Reading Podcast

Do you need encouragement to keep reading the Bible daily?

Starting on January 1, Lord willing, I will start the Daily Bible Reading Podcast. I hope any friends who read this will give my podcast a try. One location where the podcasts will be posted is http://dailybiblereadingpodcast.blogspot.com/ and another is iTunes.

The DBR Podcast will be simple: 4 chapters of the Bible every day, enough to finish the whole Bible in a year. Every day there will be two chapters of the Old Testament (First half of the hear in the historical books, second half in the prophetic books), one chapter of Old Testament poetry, and one chapter in the New Testament.

We will read several different versions, alternating between several modern language, meaning based, easy to understand translations. Some of these include CEB, NLT, NET, and CEV.

I am thinking of these people as my audience for this year reading the Bible daily:

  • my family. I hope my four grandkids will eventually listen to these recordings
  • my friends in Harvard Avenue Church in Siloam Springs, Arkansas
  • my friends in Jakarta International Fellowship– who come from 24 different nationalities
  • our friends who have supported our Bible translation work in prayer and financially
  • and any new friends

Along the way, I hope to share some footnotes to the Scripture from my background as a Bible translator. We joined Wycliffe Bible Translators in 1980. Our family went to Indonesia in 1983, and started working with the Orya people in 1984. The Orya New Testament was published in 2005. Since then I have been working in the main trade language of Indonesia (called Indonesian). The Plain Indonesian Translation New Testament will be published in book form in March 2014. Digital publication is starting now. During this year, I look forward in sharing a little with listeners as I will take you along to Indonesia for the dedication of this New Testament in this language spoken by over 240 million people.

One of our mottos is: The Word Unlocks Life. We invite you to join us in enjoying God’s transforming WORD in 2014.
Before 2014, I will upload a few podcasts, mostly so that I can learn how to do this efficiently.

RSS feed: http://dailybiblereading.libsyn.com/rss


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Chris Urton with the Sob in PNG

Chris Urton with the Sob in PNG

Chris Urton is our consultant for checking our Plain Indonesian translation of the Gospel of Luke. His experience translating the same book in Papua New Guinea will be invaluable as he evaluates how we have translated it, even though his experience is across the border from ours. Please pray for us in checking Luke!


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Taxi Drivers: Each one with a story

In the states I have mostly lived in the mid-west. And no one in Siloam Springs takes a taxi. There isn’t even a taxi service in this town. But in Jakarta, I usually don’t wait longer than 3 minutes to find the next available taxi.

One young man enjoyed talking with me about his upcoming wedding— which will take place right after the Islamic fast. One man shared about having four daughters, and bride price given by each husband’s family didn’t nearly cover wedding expenses. When the taxi drivers ask me about my family, I get out my picture album— which also shows that I translate the Bible. After sharing together, one driver kissed the book I gave him.

The first picture in the slideshow linked below is of a taxi driver with Saul— a young Orya man who was recently in a discipleship program in Jakarta. (I have known Saul since he was a baby.) The taxi driver he has his arm around is one of only two Christian drivers I met in this group of 56.

Please pray that 56 books will be read by someone, and that God will do as He promises— working mightily through His Word. To help you pray, take a look at this slideshow:

Click here to see the slideshow!

Screenshot from 2013-03-18 17:28:18

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Penny’s cousins go to Indonesia

DSCN1924-1024x1010I would like to invite everyone to see Penny the doll, and her web site. Penny was made by Becky Dart, who is a long-time family friend in Western New York State. When we were visiting Becky’s family last fall, I suggested that Penny could come to Indonesia. See more about Penny and Becky at adventureswithpenny.net.

Penny carries five beads which have a special meaning, and she likes to share the meaning with everyone she meets.


Gold, the color of heaven: God, the creator made mankind with a special capacity to enjoy a relationship with Him— starting here on earth and forever and ever in heaven. Jesus promises his followers in John 14:2-3: “There are many dwelling places in My Father’s house, and I’m going ahead to prepare a place for you there. If that weren’t true, I would never promise something like that to you. When I have gone to my Father’s house and the place for you is ready, I will come back again and take you to that place— so that where I am, you will be there too.”

Black, the color of sin and separation from God: Each one of us follows the example of Adam and Eve— choosing to lead a self-centered life and willfully living in disobedience to God. This is sin. But something even worse has happened: We cannot just come back into a right relationship with God. Trying to stop doing wrong or following religious rules will not succeed in repairing our relationship with the perfect and holy God. As Romans 3:23 says, “Everyone has sinned and is not worthy to enjoy God’s glory.”

Red, picturing the blood of Christ: Christ Jesus died a horrible death on a Roman cross to take the punishment for sins that rightfully belongs to each of us. In so doing, Jesus Himself has become the one and only Intermediary who can bring us to God. As Romans 5:6-8 says, “In the past, mankind couldn’t do anything at all to become right in God’s sight. But ironically when we were in that condition, Christ died for us who were always opposing God. 7 It’s very difficult for someone to sacrifice himself to save another person— even if that person is very good. But a person might sacrifice himself and die to save his close friend. 8 But Christ died for us when we were still living as sinners opposing God. In that way God has shown that He loves us very much.”



White, the color of forgiven and cleansed heart: If we are given a gift, our response is to receive it! So in response to God’s amazing gift, our response is to receive God’s love and mercy through Christ Jesus. The most famous verse of the Bible says, “Certainly God’s love toward the people of this world is utterly amazing in that He surrendered His one and only Son, so that each person who believes in His Son won’t be destroyed, but instead will receive eternal life.” (John 3:16) Believing in Christ and receiving God’s gift of a right relation with Himself through Christ also means that we become Christ’s followers. This also means that we make a commitment to repent and forsake living contrary to God’s will. When we fail and sin, we quickly confess our sins. (1 John 1)



Green, the color of spiritual growth: When we surrender ourselves to follow Jesus, miraculous changes happen in us! God’s Spirit comes into us and we experience what the Bible calls being “born again.” (John 3; 1 Ptr. 1:3-9) Our hearts are transformed because we become spiritually one with Christ, and we are given the desire to grow in our oneness with Christ, as expressed in Colossians 2:6-7: “So now you have received Christ Jesus as your Lord. Therefore endeavor to continue to live as one with Him. 7 Consider that you have become one with Jesus— just like a branch is one with its tree. Build your life with the Lord as the foundation. And continue believing Him unshakenly.” To grow in oneness with Christ, we make it our habit to regularly read the Bible, pray, and participate in fellowship with our fellow believers.

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From the highlands of Papua

Mike and Kay are teachers from the USA who are working as consultants training teachers and enriching the education at two schools in the highlands of Papua, Indonesia. He is teaching Bible to 3rd and 4th graders “to give a new teacher a break.” Mike has been using our Plain Indonesian Translation (abbreviated TSI in Indonesian) in his classes. I was thrilled to get this news from Mike:

Yesterday we handed out the Gospel of John Scripture portion during 3rd and 4th grade Bible time in the small highlands village where we help run an elementary school for local children. We showed them how to carefully prefold the pages in the book so that the binding will last longer, and after being done they began it ask enthusiastically, “Can we read it now?” I had planned to read the story with them and teach a Bible lesson, but I couldn’t resist their eager pleas, and they dove in. As I walked around, I noticed what they were reading. They read the cover. They read the page explaining the background information of translation. Some sat with a friend and read in unison. Many read fluently the opening statements of the Gospel of John with a sense of ownership and understanding that was not possible a few years ago.

Many of our students do not personally own a single book. Many of the homes have only one or two books of any kind. One of our teachers asked her students about the situation just this week. One of the students responded, “My father has a book, but I’m not allowed to touch it. It’s his book.” The message was, “Books here are so rare and valuable that children are not allowed to use them for fear that they will damage them.” To get a book, families in the village would need to take a rough three hour ride in a small pickup truck to a highlands supply town with a dozen other people. The fare one way would be the equivalent of two days’ wages. Thanks for graciously giving us copies of John for every child in the class. It means a lot the students here.

The students read eagerly for about 20 minutes and then the questions came again. “Can I write my name in this book? Can I take it home?” “No,” I responded, “we will need to keep these books here to have them to study during Bible class, but I’ll try to get you all one when I go to the coast later this week.” Instead of being disappointed, they were thrilled. I asked who wanted their own copy of the Gospel of John in this new translation and hands shot up. I snapped a photo.

The 2nd picture has a young named Aswin in the foreground. Actually he has changed his name to Daniel as a result of his conversion. He became a baptized believer on the coast about six months ago. He was a severe burn victim years ago could not extend either of his legs more than about 90 degrees so he walked in a queer sort of shuffle to school each day and didn’t play much with his classmates. Late last year he was able to go have surgery so that he could walk normally again. While waiting to return to the village on the coast, he attended a dynamic church where he had a transforming experience with Jesus Christ. He returned confident and eager to lead in prayer and singing Christian songs and with an expressed desire to become a pastor. Now he is beginning to study the Word of God in a translation that is more meaningful to him. It will be interesting to see what part his Bible reading and study here play in his future.

Just behind in the photo is Daniel is his classmate, Azhar. We are not sure where he stands spiritually. He wears his hair long to confuse the spirits about his identity as the first born son. Last year he was moved to tears during video of the life of Christ. When his teacher asked what was wrong, he responded that he was sad because of what had happened to Jesus. He is an excellent reader and devours books. I’m looking forward to putting a copy of John in his hands.

I just wanted to share a bit of the excitement with which we view the TSI. I think that it will be a powerful tool to be used to insure that people both read and understand the Word of God. We eagerly look forward to the day when we can up a TSI New Testament in the hands of every reader at our school. Press on my brothers and sisters.



Mike commented about the teacher that he is giving the break-time to:

“He’s camping out in the class and doing all the projects and memory work with the students. After hearing the story of Jesus at the Passover when he was twelve years old, he commented, “I really like being in this class. I’ve never heard some of these stories before.”

Mike and Kay’s partners in the educational program have posted this video from their school.

On the other side of Indonesia, Lucia shares why she likes the Plain Indonesian Translation in this video.

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Phil’s article on the Preface to the KJV

Few readers of the King James Version today see the original preface “To the Reader.” This is because the preface is no longer included in today’s editions. In their preface, the KJV translators showed that they were humble, and they recognized that their translation could be improved. Far from opposing other translations, they would welcome them. My little article from 20 years ago was reprinted and used by Wycliffe’s Translation Department for several years, and I still get requests for it.

PhilFields article on the KJVpreface

I previously quoted the first paragraph from the KJV Preface on this blog in this post: What-its-like-to-not-understand-gods-word/

Answers to my quiz in that post can be found in the modern translation by Smith and Snapp.

Click to view the first paragraph in a modern translation by Myles Smith and James Snapp Jr:This shows the answers for my quiz in the earlier post!

For those interested, here is much more information.

Modern spelling of the KJVPref

WWCombs article on the KJVPreface (Detroit Baptist Seminary) This is a much fuller article written after mine. Combs lists some changes made in subsequent editions of the KJV.

Link to original preface (which is helped considerably by being in a modern typeface): http://www.kjvbibles.com/kjpreface.htm

Some people don’t know that what we call the KJV has been edited over the years. Information: http://www.bible-researcher.com/canon10.html There is also other helpful information at this site.

Translators_Preface_to_1611_KJV modernized spelling plus Thesis EJGoodspeed

 Scans of an early KJV Bible with a somewhat more modern font are here. The earliest version used the tall letter s that look like an italic but without the cross bar. http://www.featherlessbiped.com/6696/KJV1611/pages.htm
A page of the 1611 first edition:

A sample page from the first edition

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What do we do?

Please view this presentation to get an overview of our ministry!


(To see the presentation, keep clicking the > button at the bottom of the window.  If you want to start the presentation a second time, hit your browser’s refresh button.)

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What’s a linguist?

A friend sent me this cute link. I don’t consider myself much of a linguist, more of a Bible translator, but I can still relate to this:


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