“Ben’s English Translation” is my personal attempt to translate portions of the New Testament into natural English. You can read a little more about my translation philosophy here.
I tremendously enjoyed translating Philippians 2, particularly the Kenotic Hymn. I set out to preserve its poetic nature by abandoning typical sentence punctuation and using common English poetic conventions. I observed a chiastic structure in it as well, and brought that out by grouping and indentation of lines. Enjoy!
Do you have encouragement in Christ? Does his love comfort you? Has the Spirit joined with you in fellowship? Do you have the same affection and compassion he showed you? Then make me even happier by having the same mindset, showing Christ’s love to each other, and being unified in your thinking and purpose. Don’t let selfishness or false pride guide you. Instead, be humble and think of others as better than yourselves. Don’t just look out for yourself, but look out for others too. Have the same attitude toward each other that Christ Jesus had:
He was inherently God
But he did not think of equality with God
As something to exploit
He gave up his rights
Becoming a servant
Becoming a man
As a human being
He humbled himself
He obeyed to the point of death
Even death on a cross
So God raised him up
To the highest position
He gave him the name
With authority over every other
And since Jesus bears that name
Every knee will bow before him
In heaven, on earth, and under the earth
And every tongue will declare
That Jesus Christ is Lord
To the glory of God the Father
My dear friends, you were always obedient when I was with you. So keep putting your salvation to work, obeying with a reverent fear. It is even more important now that I am away. But remember, God is the one at work, giving you the desire and ability to please him.
Do everything without complaining and arguing. Then you will be blameless and pure, God’s perfect children, shining like stars in a crooked and perverted world as you cling to the life-giving message. And on the day when Christ returns, I will be proud that all my striving and working were not wasted. Even if it kills me, my life will be an offering poured out over your own sacrifice of faithful service, so I will be glad and rejoice with you. And you too should be glad and rejoice with me.
Hearing about you would encourage me, so I hope that the Lord Jesus allows me to send Timothy to you soon. He is the only one who genuinely cares for you the way I do. All the others are thinking only about themselves, not Jesus Christ. But you know Timothy. He has proven himself by working with me to spread the gospel, like a son with his father. So I hope to send him as soon as I see how things turn out for me, and I am trusting the Lord that I will come to you soon myself.
For now, I think it is time to send Epaphroditus back to you. He is my brother, colleague, and fellow soldier. But he is also the messenger you sent to take care of me, and he misses you. He was very distressed that you heard he was sick. (He was actually so sick that he almost died. But God had mercy on him, and on me as well, in sparing me even more heartache.) So I am very eager to send him back to you. You will be happy to see him again, and I won’t be so worried. Welcome him warmly as a brother in the Lord. People like him should be highly honored. He almost died working for Christ, risking his life to come and serve me in person, something you were unable to do.