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3 Problems With The Message Bible

The Message Bible translation by Eugene H. Peterson is a paraphrase of the scriptures using modern English, the author claims he is trying to make the Bible understandable to the average person. There are many issues I have with the Message translation, but for the sake of space I am only listing three of them.

1)It is often presented as being a Bible translation in modern language. This is wrong; it is not a translation it is a paraphrase, which makes it a commentary at best. Modern language Bibles are the ESV, NIV, NASB, NKJV… The Message is one man’s ideas on what he thinks the scriptures say and not the actual word of God. I know the author of it got parts of the Bible so right it blows your mind, but there are entire sections where he is dead wrong and injects false doctrine into it. Like I said, it is a commentary, not a translation and it should be treated as such.

2) When pastors preach from it, it encourages people to use it, this is dangerous because the Message is full of errors, false doctrine, and occult philosophy.

For instance, the English Standard Version, a word for word literal translation puts the Lord’s Prayer, from Matthew 6 as:

“Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name.

Your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,

and forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.


Whereas the Message puts it as:

Our Father in heaven,

Reveal who you are.

Set the world right;

Do what’s best—

as above, so below.

Keep us alive with three square meals.

Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.

Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.

You’re in charge!

You can do anything you want!

You’re ablaze in beauty!

Yes. Yes. Yes.

The Message completely changes the meaning of the scriptures, for instance there is no mention of the holiness of the name of God. Then there is the line “as above, so below”, which is from the Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus an occult text from the school of Hermeticism, that has influenced every aspect of the new age movement, from Asatru to Satanism to Wicca. Further the Message adds to the text (something forbidden by scripture) there is nothing in there speaking about any of God’s attributes at the end to the prayer, and I have no idea where he got that “Yes. Yes. Yes.” from.

The Message is a spiritually dangerous book, especially for new Christians who don’t know anything about the faith or are just starting to investigate it and as it is there is already a huge amount of false teaching out there, like the Word Faith movement, the New Apostolic Reformation, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Hebrew Israelite’s, and so on. Pastors should not be encouraging people to us such a book, since it fills peoples’ heads with error.

3) The Message encourages laziness in Biblical interpretation, since it reads like a novel it does not force the reader to slow down and think things through and is a completely inappropriate book to use in the study of the scriptures. Even the most liberal seminary would fail a student who turned in an essay full of Message quotes (at least I hope they would).

Since it is more of a commentary than a real Bible, it does not have the same effect of cutting into the depths of the heart. One need only look at how the cultural mindset of those who use the Message tends towards a theologically liberal or completely postmodern way of looking at things. Those who promote use of the Message tend to deny the sinful nature of man and the exclusivity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ alone for salvation. It is a popular book to use in liberal churches that are more focused on creating social change than on Jesus Christ, His saving act on the cross and His resurrection from the dead.

It would be smart to not confuse the Message with the actual word of God, it is a commentary and should be treated as such, meaning it is not divinely inspired and is full of errors. I admit it can be useful in bringing clarity to certain passages, but one must learn to work through the actual scriptures, which takes effort, dedication and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

How hard are you working at understanding the scriptures? Are you relying on the Holy Spirit to guide your understanding?

About Jonathan Kotyk

Jonathan Kotyk is a student, self taught philosopher, recovering addict and born again Christian. He has spent time on both the far Left and Far Right side of the political spectrum and lives in Canada.

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  1. Your article caught my eye because The Message has never sat well with me, precisely because, as you point out, it is a paraphrase and not a formal translation. This should be emphasized whenever a preacher or teacher quotes from it, I believe. I saw new believers using The Message as their actual Bible during a study, and felt like The Message was robbing them of some choice meat when they read passages from it that were flowery but so watered-down.

    What The Message did to The Lord’s Prayer as you outlined here is startling — all the revolutionary meaning has been sliced and diced away. One academic I read said it this way, “Peterson has confused the mission of a Bible translator with the mission of the Holy Spirit.”

    • Absolutely my spirit not going well with it n yes. I believe that God’s people searchin n praying to Holy Spirit to guide us in understanding. We run to God to understand who he is n to lead us n trust in his word
      Not the way man tryed n break it down not like this
      Blessings my brothers n sisters stay in prayer n God Bless you all

  2. Dear Jonathan,
    I just recently found your article that was written in 2017 as I was searching for errors in the Message. I read through your points and paused when I came to your 2nd point bottom of the 2nd paragraph you say that Eugene Peterson did not speak about God’s attributes when saying “there is nothing in there speaking about any of God’s attributes at the end to the prayer.” If you look up NIV Matt. 6 the end of the Lord’s Prayer is about forgiving not God’s attributes you may be confusing scripture with the Doxology/song. I would challenge you not to believe what I say but to look it up for yourself. Ultimately, God is the judge and we are not. I am thankful that God’s grace is sufficient enough for you, me and Eugene Peterson because God is the only one that knows the heart. Keep pressing into the Lord! I wish you all the best!

    • Hello Heather,

      Just want to point out that Matthew 6 commonly includes a footnote now where it used to continue the prayer. Some manuscripts add, “for yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.” This is clearly what Eugene Peterson is looking at, since otherwise the prayer should end after ‘deliver us from evil,” or as the ‘paraphrase’ puts it (I hesitate to call it a paraphrase, since a true paraphrase keeps the original thought intact), ‘keep us safe from ourselves and the devil.’ I would point out that there’s a huge difference between deliverance and keeping safe. One implies that the one being delivered is actually out there engaging the enemy (the devil), while the other gives more of a picture of holing up away from other people and not bothering to engage.

      Jonathan, I definitely agree with your take here. There are sections where the message really brings an idea into easy-to-understand language, but for me there is far too much dumbing down and softening of scripture. We should remember that “a little leaven leavens the whole lump.” It’s an important doctrinal point that the modern church seems to have largely forgotten.

    • Heather, there’s more to it than that. Good people are going to perish. If you desire the truth then and only then will it be reveiled. Okay to get to the point, desire for the truth even if it means finding out everything you ever thought to be true was not, and you will, then asking Yahweh (God) to unblind you and guide you to the truth as you search for it and for protection from satanic deception so you won’t be deceived. You’re not going to fond the truth any other way. Only you can discover it. Don’t take any minister, pastor or friend’s word for truth. Some do know the truth but you will only know that by discovering it yourself. Remember almost the entire word is deceived. Don’t let your guard down or forget that at any moment you can be deceived. Keep that in mind constantly and before searching for the truth, every single time don’t forget “You reject me therefore I will reject you”, not only does satan deceive but also it’s God that blind’s unbelievers, but will unblind if he chooses, so desire, ask Yahweh ( God) to remove your veil and guide you on your search for the truth and for the protection from satanic deception so you’ll not be deceived. Speaking of deception, the Sabbath day is the 7th day. Not the first. Where is Sunday on the calender? It’s the first day. The Sabbath day is Saturday. Seventh day Adventist’s is wrong. Almost all of Christianity is deceived and doesn’t know the truth.

      • I would like to say that if someone reads the message and asks Christ into his life does not mean they will perish.

    • He did not say Peterson did not speak God’s Attributes in his rendition of Lord’s Prayer, he said the original text did not so there-for Peterson should not have added it to the prayer

  3. I just read your comments on the message bible and I agree that it is dangerous for Christians who are not seasoned in the word. It seems the phrases “You are in charge, you can do anything you want, you are ablaze in beauty” is meant to replace “for thine is the kingdom the power and the glory” and the “yes yes yes” is meant to be a translation for amen. It certainly water’s down the living word and I can’t see anything in that text that would convict anyone. That’s why the bible says we’re should study to show ourselves approved.

  4. tyler ann harrison

    Thank you for your comments on The Message, although not very well versed in the bible something in my gut told me that it was wrong. Especially when our own pastor prayed the Lords prayer in Peterson speak. I was appalled and immediately went home and read A LOT . It was then I got on the internet and read A LOT more and studied LOTS. I reached the conclusion that it was very bad and going to deceive a lot more people. Thank you so much. I am not alone.

    • It’s because you have the spiritual gift of discernment!

    • The Message Bible has become a field manual for false teachers. While some good pastors may use it by mistake, many wolves love it’s language and use it to manipulate the flocks.

      A confused sheep relies more readily on the institution for support.

      Keep reading and studying.

  5. I had never heard of this Message until a couple of weeks ago when the leader at the church I attend put up verses on the front screen with the abbreviation after the scripture. I always have my NKJV Bible with me and when I saw what was on the screen it did appear correct from what I read in the NKJV. I was very surprised to find significant meanings.

    What is more alarming is that the church congregation relies on the over head screen to read the scriptures presented. Rare a member that actually brings a Bible and there are none available in the pews. The leader does not state the source of the paraphrased writings so I believe that many are deceived not knowing the Word of God, especially new believers.

    We are in a dark time. The shepherds and leaders are deceived.

    This Message book should not be used at all.

  6. I read your article, with interest. Often when I’m studying the scriptures, I will read 3 or 4 versions (and I use the word “version: to include Versions, Translations and Paraphrases or Commentaries). However, I found that often The Message is a wonderful commentary as it helps gel the other versions in a better light for me. Would I use it as my only version? No. But I do prefer to use it to add clarity. God bless.

    • I so appreciate your comment, when reading the message bible which is use In my church along with the NIV and both are use, I found it to be valuable to understanding God’s word it not replacing the Bible , it all about evolving period!

      • The Bible, and His word, are not “evolving”, they are static. You should seek understanding through the Holy Spirit, not through the eyes of man. You are really understanding man’s word, not God’s by using this commentary/paraphrase. This man’s interpretation is not always correct, nor is it always what the Spirit wants YOU to get from it.

        Christians should only “evolve” to be more in line with His word. We must reject contemporary culture, not change to fit in. We are called to be His examples, His disciples. Not to lower ourselves to the call of whatever is popular at the moment.

        A church that uses the Message, is a church that has let culture invade the Kingdom. And not a great church to go to if salvation is paramount.

        • The same would be true for other versions or translations of the Bible, no? King James translated the Bible so that it would be relevant for the time that he lived in, to bring in more people into the faith, and to oppress others, namely the Puritans, who didn’t adhere to the practices of Christianity. And there were other translation before the KJ Bible. So every version that we read from is a translated interpretation. Finally, I have to say, the attitudes in a lot of these comments and from the opinion of the author is why many people are leaving the practice of Christianity. People are not running from the word of God or Jesus, but the judgement and hatefulness of some Christians. People come to God on their own terms, and if the Message helps them get to him, then it’s done its job.

        • Did anybody read the article. The Message is not from God

  7. Excellent observations on The Message. You are right-on! Thank you!

  8. This is something I’ve had some trouble with at my church because speakers were prone to read out passages from The Message as part of the church service.

    When I first began to object – due to the occult phrases and New Age terminology of The Message, in addition to its distortions of scripture – my concerns were discussed with the church minister behind closed doors. Readings from the book continued the same as before with the problems swept under the rug.

    I got the phrase “As above, so below” which appears in The Message and googled it alongside the word “Satanism” in the presence of the minister. I showed him the many websites that spring up connecting this phrase to Satanism and other forms of the occult. I also showed church leaders other occult words in The Message such as “Light-bearers” and “Divine Guardians”. They concluded that Eugene Peterson had indeed made a decision to insert occultic words into the book but they still chose to read from it! They would just avoid the passages that had those words in them.

    I continued my protest. At one point, I emailed as many people in the church whose email addresses I could find, showing the problems with the book. I began to show up where The Message had taken from, added to, and twisted scriptures in the particular passage that had been recited during the church service — also explaining why those changes fitted a New Age and politically correct agenda.

    Although I was never rude in my emails, seven people complained about me to the church office in one day. About ten people in total complained about me that week. There were phone calls and emails to the minister, as well as people appearing at the church office to complain about me to him in person. None of those individuals ever identified themselves to me and to this day I don’t know who they were. People at my church had seemingly fallen in love with The Message and I was chucking a big rock in their pool.

    I think my actions sent out a shockwave in the spiritual realm. One lady, a former church leader, reportedly lay awake all night wrestling with the issue. Apparently, she told the minister that she couldn’t see why it mattered that Eugene Peterson changed God’s words.

    I remember feeling like a pariah with no support or friends in that church for some weeks. I would sit alone on a sofa with no one ready to converse with me. I had to sit through two church services tailored to support the church’s use of The Message. One person stormed up to me and demanded that I send her no more emails. I replied that as part of the body of Christ, she was responsible along with everyone else for ensuring that an authentic Bible gets used and not a book that misrepresents God’s word.

    Later, when I started dating a woman (now my wife) at the church, she was warned that I was at the centre of controversy.

    I reminded the church that Jesus said if we love him, we will obey his commands (John 14:23). In his book the Bible he expressly commands us not to change his words (Proverbs 30:6, Revelation 22:19). I reminded them that we are told to have no fellowship with darkness (Ephesians 5:11) which should mean we don’t use that book as a resource.

    I ended up hearing The Message defined as all kinds of things to try to dismiss the problem that it tampered with scripture – a practice which the Bible itself condemns. The Message, I was told, is a “paraphrase”, a “commentary”, a “rendition”, a “transliteration”, etc, etc. But whatever it is, it STILL shouldn’t be twisting scripture.

    In some places, The Message actually alters the gospel. Galatians 1:8 condemns in the most severe terms the one who changes the gospel message of salvation. I remember complaining that if the church hall was hired for a function, as it often was, a member of the local community could come in, pick up the copy of The Message from the bookshelf and read a false gospel in it.

    I found it helpful to cobble together a resource from various websites showing examples of how The Message has tampered with Bible verses, misrepresented the gospel, and added occult and New Age words. The pdf file can be accessed at https://tinyurl.com/exz3t6bm and printed out. I gave the leaders and some church members paper copies of this resource.

    Eventually – and with prayer – other people in the church started to get disquieted by The Message. Copies of it appeared on the bookshelf as people chucked it in. A couple of church leaders also began to express concerns about the content. I got some belated support and encouragement. I told the minister that if they kept on reading passages from this book over me, I would stand up in the service and expose it. Speakers were lacking in integrity to feed people from this book without first explaining the many problems with it.

    The minister told the other speakers not to use The Message anymore. They still didn’t admit that it was a dubious practice to incorporate this book into a church service, but instead gave the reason that “it was causing offence in the church”.

    Today we have a different minister and new faces among the leadership. The Message is generally avoided but there is no hard and fast rule. On the two occasions when I have since heard it used, the speakers haven’t disclosed the name of the book they are reading from. They read a passage of The Message that they’ve written down or read it from an app on their cell phone. People don’t see the name of the book.

    In my opinion, The Message is a bit like the ring in Lord of the Rings: there’s always someone who thinks it will be all right to use it and who doesn’t want to let go of it. Some people explode when they cannot have it. However, with a number of passages warning of the erosion of faith in the last days, there’s a rather strong motive to contend for the faith by insisting on an accurate Bible (Jude 3).

    Every blessing,


    • Joe, this is an incredible story that you shared. Would love to hear more. Reach out to [email protected] when you have time.

    • Let’s all be careful and remember William Tyndale who first translated the bible to English but encountered fierce opposition and was killed(burnt at stake) but his work has a very large impact on the King James Version (the most accepted version of the bible)
      Eugene Peterson might be the William Tyndale of the 21st century or just an individual who wants to distort the bible or some who sincerely want to make the bible easy to read but making some mistakes.

      • Compare Micah 3:5 in the MESSage bible to the King James Bible and others. The last words in the MESSage are enough to convince me this book is not for me

        • Tyndale was killed by the Catholic Church because the Catholic Church did not want the common person to have a Bible. This eventually led to the Reformation led by Martin Luther. Tyndale got a Bible into the hands of the common person. He translated from the original languages. This was the only Bible they could get.

          Eugene Peterson made his translation when there were already 20 Bible versions out there. The only significant addition Peterson added was changing what the Bible actually said.

          To be fair, a more accurate comparison might be to the Jehovas
          Witnesses, who also changed the Bible around to fit what they wanted to say, they created the NWT Bible.

    • Thank you for standing up for truth. We are to contend for the Gospels, as God’s world alone is Spirit & Life. We are also His Ambassadors in Christ Jesus; who make us one in Christ. Well done on your courage for Christ.

    • Thanks for telling about your fight for righteousness! I just went to a church that part of my family attends in their area, same thing happened. The Message was used on the screen rather than a translation. My heart sank and I couldn’t hear much else that Pastor said. The thought came to me, How could he not know about The Message and the new age lingo written in it. How did he not get the memo???
      I left my church of 22 years because I got tired of the fight. There was always some New Age crap getting in. Sometimes I do feel like I’m the only one who says anything.
      You stayed the course, I bailed out to a solid Bible teaching church. They are getting harder to find.

      • I know how you feel in that regard. I am usually the only one speaking up too in my circles too. I’ve been told I need deliverance for standing up for truth and that it isn’t my job to point out evil. They said I should let evil sort itself out so I don’t ruffle feathers. I was having my tires all slashed multiple times, fecal matter spread on my home’s doorknobs and into the locks and a lot more. Definitely a spiritual battle. They really went into a rage when I pointed out some of the false prophets they follow and how often they have been wrong. I said they were like false John the Baptists for the antichrist (I caught one of them even hissing like a serpent multiple times as well) and they were practically foaming at the mouth. That was it. After over an hour of them yelling at me about how wonderful these people are, not to touch God’s anointed and that Trump would save them – in Canada pfft, that was last they talked to me.
        As it stands, my family and friends have cut me off, )blessing in disguise), but the Lord has brought me new brothers and sisters that believe sound doctrine is critical and haven’t replaced Jesus with a false idol in their hearts. I am enjoying the peace in my life and despite grieving the loss of what was left of my family, (having lost majority when I decided to follow Jesus and was disfellowshipped by Jehovah’s Witnesses as a kid) God had given me so much grace to finish this race strong. You’re not alone Vicki. ❤️

        • Sounds like you escaped two cults.

          Not surprised those people attacked your house and property. Fake religious people are the worst and will use all types of lies and deception to defend themselves.

          There are still some good churches out there though.

    • Congratulations for speaking up as you did. I probably would’ve moved on to another church. I’m sure you’re aware that not everyone who goes to church and hears sermons is truly saved or if they are, some aren’t diligently studious of the Word, rightly dividing the truth. The western church appears to be the most complacent, convenience-seeking group. When I post spiritually-related articles or describe current unpleasant events as a story on Facebook, 2-3 friends will view them. If they are specifically about the Holy Spirit, only 1, if any, will respond. But when I post cute, family, or memorabilia photos, I get 22+ likes. I’m still praying for the Church to wake up and get serious

  9. This is the latest development: a 16-page booklet available on Ebay.com that anyone around the world can order and give out:
    Hoping it will appear in Google listings in time.

  10. Firstly, ALL Bibles such as NKJV, NIV etc are paraphrasing. Translation is from one language to another. The purpose of those are the same as the Message, which is to make it more understandable to the reader. Becoming a scholar is the job of the church leader SO they can speak it upon any person of any intelligence. HIS thoughts are above our thoughts, HE himself did not TRANSLATE because they all spoke the same language, but HE did PARAPHRASE to speak to everyone on every level. will not get you closer to GOD. Do you believe that the KJV did not paraphrase. There are words in every language that does and does not exist in another language. Remember, Noah built the Ark, scholars built the Titanic.
    When he stated “beauty”, again, that is a synonym of glory. He was speaking about HIS physical attributes. When bestows glory on anything, it’s beautiful.
    Taking away and adding to ie Going to the casino is a sin. Smoking cigarettes is a sin. HE never said that. HE speaks of things to steer clear of because they will more likely than not lead you to sin. IE. Abortion isn’t a sin if you can’t hear a heartbeat or if the BABY was conceived via rape or incest. HE did say murder is a sin, which is ending the life of another human. No one can argue that if Mary was 1 day pregnant with JESUS, they would be hollering women’s rights.
    Also Amen means something different in every denomination. Some people are more religious than GOD. This is why HE he stated that the Sabbath was made for man, man wasn’t made for the Sabbath. When people began to put emphasis on things that are not important, it alienate people from the things that are. Their hunger outweighed concrete religion. There was no malice in eating and therefore not offensive.

  11. I have read and listened the audio of many different translation of the bible.
    I have enjoyed listening to Peter Hobbs reading message audio on youtube.
    I still get what The Holy Spirit is teaching me and have benefited Spiritually by it.. I
    Trust God to reveal truth to in Love,
    I also like Watchman Nee’s Normal Christian Life also.
    That’s my journey at the moment and I am trusting My Lord to guide me, not man!

  12. I agree The Message and other interpretive commentary, and modernized Scriptures of the Bible, are not best for study. I believe the intent, published by The Navigators, was to produce the late Eugene Peterson’s work as an evangelical outreach to people who had been preconditioned against Olde English King James style interpretations that got in the way of letting them hear the “message”. How many times have learned preachers over a couple of centuries, with over 32,000 denominations of The Way (the early name of Christianity in the days of the Early Church), read from Scripture and then got the context wrong in the rest of their message somewhere else? However, the Holy Spirit has still moved newcomers to the congregation to hear the necessary elements of the Sword of Truth in their message, that leads them to surrender to His Divine Will. I think we judge too harshly. There is a tool for every job. The Message is a tool that, while not subjectively perfect for some, is quite ideal for others. I admire your article and agree with the recommendation not to depend heavily on it alone. Like you, I too have had a past of far left and far right exposure politically and spiritually but these days I am where Jesus was “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what us God’s…” Follow the Great Commission. That is our job.

  13. Jonathan Kotyk, your concerns, here expressed on The Message Bible are based on a fallacy. A paraphrase of the Bible is drawn from an English translation of the Bible and rephrased in a more contemporary rendering to make it more intelligible. This is not the case with Eugene Peterson. “The Message” is a contemporary rendering of the Bible FROM THE ORIGINAL LANGUAGES, crafted to present its tone, rhythm, events, and ideas in every day language. Peterson was a biblical scholar who worked for 29 years as a pastor and was extremely proficient in the languages of Old Testament Hebrew and the Koine (Commonly spoken) Greek. The Message was more a thought-by-thought translation of the Bible, as compared to a word-by-word translation of the Bible; as I understand it. To say that it is “full of errors,” is not true. I have been reading it in my morning Bible reading and am presently in the Psalms. While I don’t compare it with modern translations, like the ESV (which I use in my ministry and when I teach) constantly; every time I do compare them, I find Peterson’s translation faithful to those translation’s rendering of the original Hebrew. I think Jonathan Kotyk has been way too hard on The Message and would be willing to bet that he has not read it through and really considered the benefits of Peterson’s work.

  14. The KJV includes this at the end of the Lords Prayer: Matthew 6:13 … For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

  15. Hello Jonathan, and thank you for these explanations. I just stumbled upon this page while investigating the issues that theologians have with The Message.

    Which proper translation would you recommend to get someone familiar with the Scripture? One that is actually as accessible as the Message claims to be.

    • A good translation is ESV, but it can get hard to understand. When this happens I usually look up interpretations and if I find multiple I try to think about which is the most reasonable answer, or compare the verse to other versions I see as trustworthy.

  16. I just found your article after reading that exact scripture from Matthew 6 from the Message in an app (popped up as verse of day and I’d never read it in The Message before). I was disturbed enough to see if anyone else had something to share about it. It was the ‘as above, so below’ phrase that set off an alarm for me especially among the other things you also shared. This commentary of the Bible always made me uncomfortable, but when I read this on the app just moments ago, I became even more alarmed and you summed up my concerns perfectly. I’ve even heard people that call themselves Christians using this phrase quite often lately. I pray that our Heavenly Father will increase the discernment of those of us that seek His face even more in these last days. Wow.

  17. The interpretation of “give us this day, our daily bread” as 3 square meals? Jesus is the bread of life. Deliver us from evil (NIV) compaired to deliver us from the evil one (KJB) has always bothered me, the message says “keep us safe from ourselves and the devil” is so far from deliverance it’s blasphemous. As above so below is occultism.
    God’s word, the truth, does not need interpretation. Holy Spirit gives us eyes to see and ears to hear his word.

  18. Dear Jonathan,
    I applaud your desire to work hard to find the true meaning of God’s word. That is something that takes enormous discipline, meditation, listening to God, prayer, study, consulting with others and probably a million other things I haven’t mentioned. But your criticism of the Message caught my eye and I wanted to ask you some questions.

    Did you happen to read the Eugene Peterson’s “Preface to the Reader”? In there he says he taught the biblical languages of Greek and Hebrew in a theological seminary. Right there he is miles ahead of me. I know I have never studied Ancient Greek and Hebrew and therefore could never look at original scriptures to see how they were translated. Have you? If not, we both know that translating is a gnarly business since some words could be translated more than one way, and some words have no direct translation. For that we need to rely on those who do study and not on what we want the scripture to say, which I think is a trap we can all fall in. Don’t we all look for sources that reinforce our own positions? And, he also states that this is NOT THE BIBLE! People who disagree with some of his writings are free to do just that! But I would hope it would be with a questioning tone and an open heart and mind. I tend to shy away from those who say they know the only right way, because I believe God is so complex, mysterious, and surpasses anything any human brain could comprehend, that I don’t believe someone who says they have the only answer. I also believe we learn more by sharing ideas, than by shunning them. God will guide us in the right path if we listen..

    Best of luck on your journey to God and Jesus Christ!

    • Stella,

      You brought up a few good points.
      Eugune Peterson was a great scholar and a great writer. As you stated, Eugune made it clear that this was not a Bible and he also stated he felt uncomfortable when pastors used it as an actual Bible. And that is a good thing. But the problem is that many people use it as an actual Bible.

      But there are a few problems with some of your statements. First, even if Eugene is the greatest Ancient Greek and Hebrew scholar of all time, it doesn’t give him the authority to change the words of the Bible. We have many Bible translations out today. These translations were also composed and translated using hundreds of the top scholars, translators, and theologians. While me and you might not be language experts, these guys are. They came up with some great versions. The KJV, which is now a touch dated, but it was replaced with the ESV. We also have nonliteral versions like the NIV or the more modern NLT. Today we have over 20 Bible versions composed by numerous language experts that say different things than the Message does. So either all of these experts are all wrong and missed a lot of things or the Message is wrong.

      The Bible is the word of God, you can’t just change it. The Message has changed that meaning. It adds a liberal slant, changing salvation issues and the atonement, adding new age and environmental messages. Sexual issues have been muddied, Homosexuality being a sin is eliminated from all of the New Testament verses. Any mention of sin has been muddied along with the idea of a holy and righteous God. We are left with a God that does not match that of the Bible, but rather Eugune’s version of God. He could be the greatest scholar and language expert of all time, but in this case, he fell short.

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