The story began in June 2014: I meet with a Christian friend who is a former bank manager and we discuss business and other matters every few months. At our meeting on June 12, 2014, we had finished the main business and he and I discussed motives in Christian service. As a follow-up to our meeting, I thought I’d look at 1 Thessalonians 2, in which I knew Paul discussed motives.
I looked up 1 Thessalonians 2:1-10 in all the Bibles and commentaries I have. I focused particularly on 1 Thessalonians 2:12 and the three verbs that Paul uses to refer to how a father treats and deals with his son. The verbs are translated variously as ‘encourage’, ‘urge’, ‘plead’, ‘comfort’, all of which are fair but I don’t think they had much impact on me. One book even suggested ‘stimulate’ but that word is completely inappropriate today. I then thought, ‘What do fathers do?’ They seek to motivate their children and then the thought occurred to me, why not put verses 1 to 12 into contemporary English? I also knew that the best way to see if you’ve really understood a passage is to explain it in your own words to someone else. So I did that and then I felt there was something almost pulling me to continue. I then did the whole of 1 Thessalonians, showed that to friends and they encouraged me to do more.
A further friend then urged me to work on John’s Gospel, and that is what I worked on from late 2014 to end 2015. That has just been published digitally and is available on Kindle and other digital outlets.