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J. B. Phillips (1906–1982)

Author of Your God Is Too Small

72+ Works 7,543 Members 47 Reviews 1 Favorited

About the Author

John Bertram Phillips (1906-1982) was a Bible translator, writer, and clergyman. His work translating the New Testament made him one of Britain's most famous Bible communicators. He talked of the revelation received as he translated the New Testament, describing it as "extraordinarily alive"-unlike show more any experience he had had with non-scriptural ancient texts. He referred to Scripture speaking to his condition in an "uncanny way." Phillips was a masterful apologist and defender of the Christian faith. He upheld the basic tenets of the faith, and was able to present them as fresh to the modern reader and hearer, much as he had done with his translation of the New Testament. show less

Works by J. B. Phillips

Your God Is Too Small (1952) 1,864 copies
The Gospels (1952) 421 copies
Ring of Truth (1661) 381 copies
God Our Contemporary (1960) 170 copies
Making Men Whole (1703) 148 copies
New Testament Christianity (1956) 148 copies
When God was man (1950) 97 copies
Plain Christianity (1954) 96 copies
Appointment with God (1954) 89 copies
Peter's Portrait of Jesus (1976) 64 copies
Is God at home? (1957) 58 copies
The church under the cross (1956) 49 copies
The Price of Success (1984) 41 copies
Wounded Healer (1984) 13 copies
ST. LUKE'S LIFE OF CHRIST (2012) 10 copies
One Way for Modern Man (1957) 8 copies
Your God Is Here and Now (1997) 5 copies
GIVEN 1 copy
isiah 1 copy

Associated Works

Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas (1996) — Contributor — 742 copies
The Great Books Foundation: Set One, Volume Six: (1958) — Translator, some editions — 11 copies
Greek-English New Testament — Foreword — 1 copy


Acts (27) Advent (87) Amos (40) Apologetics (65) Bible (511) Bible Study (64) Bibles (76) Biblical Studies (43) Christian (100) Christian living (125) Christianity (200) Christmas (91) Christmas--Meditations (18) Commentary (44) Devotional (66) Epistles (45) faith (33) God (128) Gospels (35) Hosea (40) Isaiah (32) J.B. Phillips (22) Jesus (24) Meditations (23) Micah (40) New Testament (314) non-fiction (69) NT (48) Old Testament (33) paraphrase (30) Phillips (62) Phillips Translation (19) reference (32) religion (220) Revelation (20) Scripture (30) spirituality (56) Theology (217) to-read (22) translation (39)

Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Phillips, J. B.
Legal name
Phillips, John Bertram
Date of death
Barnes, Surrey, England, UK
Place of death
Swanage, Dorset, England, UK
Emmanuel College, Cambridge University (BA | 1926)
English Bible scholar, translator, author and clergyman.
Church of England (ordained 1930)
Short biography
He was ordained an Anglican clergyman in the Church of England in 1930.



Short essays on Christian topics.
PendleHillLibrary | Aug 23, 2023 |
SrMaryLea | 12 other reviews | Aug 22, 2023 |
First sentence: No one is ever really at ease in facing what we call "life" and "death" without a religious faith. The trouble with many people today is that they have not found a God big enough for modern needs.

I first read Your God Is Too Small in 2010. I didn't love it then. I gave it the rare two stars (as I found out on GoodReads). I had forgotten how I felt about the book--apparently. I decided to reread this one namely because it was short and still on the shelf. (Horrible reason, I know).

This one has TWO sections. It first deconstructs the small "gods" from society. (Or at least society circa 1950s). Each "small" god or "false" god is given a few pages. It is deconstructed or proved false. That is Phillips argues that that version of god, that concept of god is NOT the actual God. The second constructs (briefly--oh so briefly) the "bigger" God. Namely, Phillips is saying if you want to meet the actual God, you need to meet him in JESUS CHRIST.

The premise of this one is solid enough. Phillips makes some good points in his sections. There's nothing in them that feels particularly off or wrong. I think my biggest complaint is that while it makes a few initial good statements as to who God isn't and who God is, it doesn't go far enough, deep enough. I wanted MORE, not barely enough.

Yes, there are hundreds if not thousands of books about who God is, about his attributes, about his works, about all the essential doctrines of the faith. But I wanted this one to go there at least a little bit. He says more about who God is not then who God is. The second half covers the bare basics of Jesus. But it doesn't seem enough. I'm not saying that it couldn't be enough. The Holy Spirit doesn't only work through long-winded sorts. (After all, there is something to being concise and straightforward). But I wanted the section on Jesus to be more engaging, more soaked/saturated in the Word.

This one I believe was written for a certain audience (at a certain time in history). I think the intellectual (dryer) tactic might have appealed to agnostics, in-name-only-"Christians", skeptics, theists, deists, etc. I definitely think that was Phillips intended reader. I don't necessarily see this one as being written FOR those already in the faith that have a relationship with Jesus. And that's okay. Again, I think the Holy Spirit can use this one to reach the lost or the deconstructed.

Would I still rate it two stars? Probably two-and-half or three stars.
… (more)
blbooks | 12 other reviews | Aug 1, 2023 |
When the true God is unknown, that combination of awe, love, respect, admiration and wonder, which we call worship, becomes diverted toward human beings who exhibit unusual gifts in the public eye. Without the spirit of the living God the public conscience is capricious and ill-informed.
PendleHillLibrary | 2 other reviews | Jul 14, 2023 |



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