The Message (by Eugene Peterson)
& other comments concerning the validity of God's Word
See also What kind of message is The Message
From "BJ": If we are seeking God with all of our hearts we will find Him as He has promised! (Hate to think how Message has interpreted that one) I think I am a seasoned Christian, however, the more I read my Bible (happen to use NKJ mostly) the more I am made aware of my total dependency on Jesus. I love being nothing without Christ. He means the very breath I take. The more I seek Him, the sweeter He grows. Life is not about me, it is all about Him and I love it that way. If my eyes are on Him my whole perspective changes.
I say all of this to say that if we do not seek Him with all of our being, motivated to truly want to know Him for who He truly is, or we will always be looking for something new and hopefully exciting to fill the void -- the void that only He can fill. He and only He knows what we need. HE makes Himself known to us if we believe that "In the beginning, God...". First things first.
The Message is the kind of version I was looking for years ago when I THOUGHT I was a Christian. I went to church and tried to be good and do right, Couldn't do right and was always looking for maybe a new version of the Bible that would make what I was doing look okay to God and He would still like me. Do you know what I mean? I was sinning and wanted to see if I could find an excuse to do it. I just wanted in the back and made to believe that somebody else for my problems and reasons to sin. Blame and shame on me!. Jesus carried all of my sins on HIS shoulders to the Cross and then suffered horrifying pain and humiliation for me. Died after shedding His precious, powerful Blood to cover them so that Holy God, my Father, could now look on me and see my sin no more. HALLELUJAH!
The Message is pathetic, yet people believe it's The Word of God. How very so sad that we can be so easily duped by Satan's tactics. The closer we get to The Lord though, the easier it will be to recognize the lies of the evil one. I will be praying for those who need to seek God with all of their being and so that means all of us!!!
P.S. "We love Him because He first loved us"
P.S. Comment to person who referred to you as a "purist". "Blessed are the PURE in heart for they shall see God".
From Cheryl Cobb: I have recently approached members of my church who read the Mess (that's how I refer to it) and questioned them about their use of this book. My Pastor's wife calls it the greatest book she's ever read and her son-in-law says it's still Gods word no matter how you interpret it. The scripture that got me was Psalm 8:5 where Peterson quotes it as "Yet we've narrowly missed being gods, bright with Edens dawn light."
I also told a few others in the church and thankfully they all agree that it is a perverted version and NOT the word of God. Thank you for your ministry and for exposing the devils lies. In Luke where Satan tempts Jesus he too quotes the scripture but he twist it as he did with Eve. Pray for my Pastors wife and that her eyes will be opened to the truth.
Thank you Cheryl, for calling attention to this twisted version of Psalm 8.
Here is the Message version of the first 5 verses. Compare it with your own Bibles, while remembering Proverbs 30:5-6: "Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar."
"God, brilliant Lord, yours is a household name.
Nursing infants gurgle choruses about you;
toddlers shout the songs that drown out enemy talk,
and silence atheist babble.
I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous,
your handmade sky-jewelry,
Moon and stars mounted in their settings.
Then I look at my micro-self and wonder,
Why do you bother with us? Why take a second look our way?
Yet we've so narrowly missed being gods,
bright with Eden's dawn light."
From Josh: My girlfriend has a Message bible, and I was reading through a few passages the other day. It is totally bogus and a blatant changing of the word of God for the authors own opinions, which are definitely not Christian. My girl says, much like a young lady on your site, that itís easy to read and who cares if some words are changed? I try to tell her that not just words, but ideas and scriptural truths about God, Jesus, man, and their relationships are changed. If it does help people come to Christ, Iím afraid it is a false Christ they come to. Thanks for your site -- keep it up!
Second letter from G. C.: It is not the theology or doctrine of the Reformation that I take issue with. It is the heirarchial denominational aspect that has carried forward from it that bothers me. It is that same denominational aspect of Christianity, no matter the flavor, that causes a herding to occur, and many false conversions with it. There is only one true ecclesia (the Body of Christ) which should manifest itself in local assemblies as the saints forsake not gathering together, in what ever way that may happen--whether it be in a church house somewhere, or just house to house.
From G. C.: I stand with you Anonymous, to rebuke all who would make Christianity out to be some "doctrinal thing." We have been much to unduly influenced by the self righteous reformed thinkers, who strain at a gnat and swallow a camel. Their head knowledge of Christ may be right, but their heart is far from Him. You don't need some program. You, we all need the Living Son of God. If you haven't repented of your unbelief in this Person, and His saving Grace, it is not to late to do so now. He will take you just the way you are, and proceed to make a new person out of you.
Anonymous. I really have no idea why I'm taking the time to write this e-mail except that I'm angry with your purist approach to religion.
I've recently started a program called ALPHA that is providing me a pathway back to God and religion. We spoke of the bible last night and I went online today to find The Message Bible because it seemed like a good step in the right direction. Your analysis starts to provide me the positional Christian purist attitude that turned me off from religion years ago. You have a right to your opinion, but is it so important to be right? Is there a little flexibility in allowing people to find their individual paths back to Christ? The bottomline is I think Christ would APPLAUDE Petersen for writing a book that can broaden Christ's messgae. Isn't that what's it's alll about?
You need to step back and evaluate your motivations. You're missing the point in a major way.
I'm commited in my quest and I will read The Message Bible, and I won't lose sleep that "perhaps" a few words we changed so that the "common" man, like me, can grasp the "context" of the bible.
I'm sorry our convictions upset you so much. But, keep in mind, you are free to do and read whatever you want. We don't force anyone to read our warnings or articles -- or to visit this website.
From Tiffany (You can find the rest of this letter at Multiple Topics): You guys seem like strong followers of Christ...however, the constant negative nit-picking at things like "the Harry Potter" movies and "the Message" translation really don't help anyone come to Christ. You come across more like politicians on you website and I feel like your missing the whole point.
The "Message" may not be a literal translation, however, being of a younger generation I understand the Message and it really hits home. Several young folks read it and get a better understanding of what being a Christian is really about, and when Christ is moving in the heart of a young person because they read "the Message" than how can it be wrong?? Please don't put God in a box because he is much larger than that. Don't waste precious time & energy pointing out the negatives of things because it doesn't help bring anyone to the Lord...in fact it it's a turn-off to the lost when they read your criticisms. I know you mean well but I felt led to write this as fellow believer.
Tiffany, if I present a gospel or a message other than what God has given me in His Word, I wouldn't be helping anyone find the true Savior and Shepherd, Jesus Christ. Today's postmodern leaders promote all kinds of imitation truths and popular christs, but these imitations won't bring genuine salvation or peace. Only the Biblical Jesus can do that, and He can't be marketed. His message has never been popular in the world. That's why He told us,
"If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.... If they persecuted Me they will persecute you... for they do not know the One who sent Me." John 15:19-2
"Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division. For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three. Father will be divided against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother." Luke 12:51-53, 56-57
From S.E. Coleman: Greetings in the mighty name of Jesus.
I have been a missionary in Central America the past 10 years and away from many of the Christian "fads" that have passed through the church and spread around the country. I am in Florida for a few months staying at my parent's winter home and started attending a church here after visiting 5 different ones altogether.
I started the weekly women's Bible study and a new series has just started. It is being taught by a 71 year old women who appears to be knowledgeable and loves the Lord. BUT one thing has bothered me, she makes use of "The Message Bible". I had never heard of this until I started this group and I have found it to be sooooo incorrect. Once I assessed this for myself I have not read handouts she has given of chapters at a time and there is a verse she has used as a theme where the last verse is "and don't take yourself so seriously". In the New King James which I have used for years the line is "and walk humbly with your God".
Today I had time to do some research on line and typed in "The Message Bible", first I just got reviews that raved about it, then I FOUND YOUR SITE!! IT said you posted this back in 1993. Welllll what can I say I have been away for awhile!! :-)
Your research, analysis confirmed to me what I was feeling in my spirit!!! THANK YOU....
And thank you, dear sister in Christ, for sharing our concerns about the Message. I have older friends who love it, too. They don't want to hear about any of the problems with it. It saddens me, and I usually keep quiet. I'm so glad I can post these concerns on the Internet, so that all who are open to God's warnings concerning Scriptural changes and cultural adaptations of His Word can find them.
From Robert: I have read the Bible more than once. I try to follow it's teachings. However, i understand that they are teachings meant to guide us. Not every word printed in the Bible can be taken as words directly from God. Humans wrote the words down on paper. Humans who aren't perfect. Humans who make mistakes. Then long after the Bible was written down, it was translated into other languages. The people translating it also weren't perfect and may have made mistakes. There is also something called "poetic license" in which writers change certain things to make stories sound the way that writer understood it. If words in the Bible are not in quotation marks, then they are not truly His words, but instead are one persons interpretation of His words.
To take every word in the Bible as words spoken by God Himself is naive. Naive isn't an insult, it is simply a lack of knowing or understanding something. This is, of course, my opinion. As all people have one.
Robert, I am glad you have been reading the Bible and try to follow its teachings. But the Bible is far more than a set of guidelines. If it was merely a collection of documents and letters written by imperfect men using "poetic license," it would hardly be worth following. Why would anyone give their life and willingly face persecution, torture and death for its message, if it were nothing more than the opinions of imperfect people?
Yes, the words were written down by fallible humans. But behind the words stands the sovereign King of heaven and earth. He is more than capable of guiding people -- even those who don't know Him -- in ways that fit into His plan and timeline for all of humanity. That's why we see such amazing consistency -- a continuous thread of revelation throughout the Bible.
The historical record demonstrates the fulfillment and validity of Old Testament prophesies written hundreds of years earlier. (If you do an Internet search for Biblical prophesies, you will find several lists of prophetic Scriptures that were clearly fulfilled.) No human mind could foresee such events -- especially not the birth, birthplace, crucifixion and triumph of the promised Messiah -- our Savior and King.
May I suggest that next time you read your Bible, you pray that God open your eyes to see and know this wonderful Book as His personal message, inspired by the His Spirit, so that you might truly know and delight in His unchanging character and ways. As He tells us,
"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:16-17
ďIn the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men." John 1:1-4
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