The Cotton Patch Gospel
Restore columns
Exit Fullscreen


Cotton Patch


Clarence Jordan

Smyth & Helwys Publishing, Inc.

6316 Peake Road

Macon, Georgia 31210-3960


©2004 by Smyth & Helwys Publishing

Jordan, Clarence.

The cotton patch gospel / by Clarence Jordan.

p. cm.

Originally published separately in 4 vols.:

The cotton patch version of Matthew and John, 1970;

The cotton patch version of Luke and Acts, 1969;

The cotton patch version of Paul’s Epistles, 1968;

The cotton patch version of Hebrews and the general Epistles, 1973.

ISBN 1-57312-422-2 (v. 1)

1. Bible. N.T. Matthew–Paraphrases, English.

2. Bible. N.T. John–Paraphrases, English.

3. Bible. N.T. Luke–Paraphrases, English.

4. Bible. N.T. Acts–Paraphrases, English.

5. Bible. N.T. Epistles of Paul–Paraphrases, English.

6. Bible. N.T. Hebrews–Paraphrases, English.

7. Bible. N.T. Epistles–Paraphrases, English.

I. Title.

BS2577.J65 2004





Matthew and John




Luke and Acts


Jesus’ Doings [Luke]

Happenings [Acts]

Hebrews and the General Epistles


The Letter to the Hebrews

The Letter of James

Letters from Rock [1, 2 Peter]

Letters from Jack [1, 2, 3 John]

A Letter from Joe [Jude]

Paul’s Epistles


The Letter to the Christians in Washington [Romans]

A Letter to the Christians in Atlanta [1 Corinthians]

The Second Letter to the Atlanta Christians [2 Corinthians]

The Letter to the Churches of the Georgia Convention [Galatians]

The Letter to the Christians in Birmingham [Ephesians]

The Letter to the Alabaster African Church of Smithville, Alabama [Philippians]

The Letter to the Christians in Columbus [Colossians]

The First Letter to the Selma Christians [1 Thessalonians]]

The Second Letter to the Christians in Selma [2 Thessalonians]

The First Letter to Timothy

The Second Letter to Timothy


The Letter to Philemon


By Millard Fuller

I had the wonderful and blessed privilege of knowing Clarence Jordan personally. I first met him when my wife Linda and I, along with our two children, Chris and Kim, went to Koinonia Farm in December 1966 at a time of deep personal crisis. Linda and I had decided to leave our life of affluence in Montgomery, Alabama—to divest ourselves of our wealth—and to seek a life of Christian service.

When we arrived at Koinonia, a Christian communal farm near Americus, Georgia, I had never heard of Clarence Jordan and I knew practically nothing about Koinonia.

Within a few hours of our arrival, I strongly sensed God’s presence there and Linda and I both felt that God had directed us to that special place. Our intended visit of a couple of hours lasted a month. Clarence and others at Koinonia were so encouraging and supportive to Linda and me as we were seeking to know and follow God’s will. They affirmed us and gave us spiritual strength for the great change in our lives at that time.

Clarence Jordan captivated me. I had never met anyone quite like him in my life. He was incredibly intelligent. When he spoke, everyone ...

Content not shown in limited preview…

About The Cotton Patch Gospel

The Cotton Patch Gospel recasts the stories of Jesus and the Apostolic letters into the language and culture of the mid–20th century South, bringing the New Testament to life in the context of where people actually live today. Millard Fuller, founder of Habitat for Humanity, thought of Clarence Jordan as a man of relevance. “He made God’s word relevant. Every situation in life was measured against the life and teachings of Christ.” Jordan says of his translation, “While there have been many excellent translations of the Scriptures into modern English, they still have left us stranded in some faraway land in the long–distant past. We need to have the good news come to us not only in our own tongue but in our own time. We want to be participants in the faith, not merely spectators.”

Modern translations change the wording to fit modern language, but leave the setting, time and place in ancient history. What is unique about the Cotton Patch Gospel is that it brings the language, setting, time and place into current history. The “cotton patch” approach to the New Testament is to help the modern reader have the same sense of participation in them which the early Christians must have had. Jordan would be remising if he didn’t acknowledge that his translation must not be used as a historical text. There are other great translations available for that, he tells us. The purpose of this version is to put Jesus and first century Christianity in the midst of our own world, “living where we live, talking as we talk, working, hurting, praying, bleeding, dying, conquering, alongside the rest of us.”

Jordan’s idea of evangelism was rooted in the declaration that God is changing people and the world right now. For him, evangelism required not only “preaching the gospel,” but living out the kingdom of God “in community” and in social action. Clergy, students, teachers (including those who teach Sunday school), and laity will find in this renewed edition not only an inspired translation that reveals Jordan’s imaginative gifts and Greek scholarship, but it will also stimulate us to ask what Jesus would say and do if He walked among us today; how His message would be applied to our consumerist culture; and how we, members of the modern world, can become part of the movement He initiated.

Support Info


Table of Contents