The Message Bible Product Review
On a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest I would rate The Message Bible a 10.
Why was the Message Bible written ? The best answer to that question comes from the publisher himself Eugene Peterson. “While I was teaching a class on the book of Galatians, I began to realize that the people in my class were not feeling the vitality and directness that I sensed as I read and studied the New Testament in its original Greek. I tried to bring into English the rhythms and idioms of the original language. I knew that the early readers of the New Testament were captured and engaged by these writings and I wanted my congregation to be impacted in the same way. I hoped to bring the New Testament to life for two different types of people: those who had not read the Bible because it seemed too distant and irrelevant and those who had read the Bible so much that it had become “old hat”.
Eugene Peterson’s parishioners simply were not connecting with the real meaning of the words and the relevance of the New Testament for their own lives. So he began to bring into English the rhythms and idioms of the original ancient Greek writing straight out of the Greek text without even looking at other English translations. As he shared his version of the Galatians with them, they quit stirring their coffee and started catching Paul’s passion and excitement as he wrote to a group of Christians whom he was guiding in the ways of Jesus. For more than two years, Eugene Peterson devoted all his efforts to The Message Bible New Testament. His primary goal was to capture the tone of the text and the original conversational feel of the Greek, in contemporary English.
Language changes, New words are formed. Old words take on new meaning. There is a need in every generation to keep the language of the gospel message current, fresh, and understandable the way it was for its very first readers. That is what The Message Bible seeks to accomplish for contemporary readers. It is a version for our time designed to be read by contemporary people in the same way as the original Greek and Hebrew manuscripts were savored by people thousands of years ago.
The Message Bible strives to help readers hear the living Word of God the Bible in a way that engages and intrigues us right where we are.
Some people like to read the Bible in Elizabethan English. Others want to read a version that gives a close word for word correspondence between the original languages and English, Eugene Peterson recognized that the original sentence structure is very different from that of contemporary English. So he decided to strive for the spirit of the original manuscripts to express the rhythm of the voices, the flavor of the idomatic expressions, the subtle connoations of meaning that are often lost in English translations.
The goal of the Message Bible is to engage people in the reading process and help them understand what they read. This is not a study Bible, but rather “a reading Bible”. The verse number, which are not in the original documents, have been left out of the print version to facilitate easy and enjoyable reading, The original books of the Bible were not written in formal language, The Message Bible tries to recapture the Word of God in the words we use today.
The Message Bible is a personal paraphrase work of the Bible by Eugene Peterson and published in segments from 1993 to 2002. It is a simplistic translation of the original languages of the Bible. It is a highly simplistic translation, using contemporary slang from the US rather than a more neutral international English, and if falls on the extreme dynamic end of the dynamic and formal equivalence spectrum.
Eugene Peterson says that in the course of the project, he realized this was exactly what he had been doing in his thirty five years as a Pastor “always looking for an English way to make the biblical text relevant to the conditions of the people”.
Eugene saw that they were “two worlds” the world of “Greek and Hebrew Scholarship” and the world of our “everyday language”. The two seemed to be millions of miles apart so he began to think of how can I get people to see, love, appreciate the Scriptures in the same way that the people in bible days did ? His answer was a Bible that has to be written that speaks to contemporary people in contemporary language. There cannot be a divide between the two.This was the goal of the Message Bible. So he set out to bring the richness and quality of the Scriptures into the world of the every day English speaking person. He set out to “paraphrase the spirit” of what the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures were saying instead of a “word for word translation”. The Message Bible is a text shaped by the hands of a working Pastor
Eugene feels that just “reading the Bible” is the first step to building a relationship with God.The Message Bible is not designed to replace “study bibles”. A person can used studying bibles later. His focus was first of all to get people just to “read the bible” leisurely,thoughtfully and begin a relationship with God. Begin to get a feel for the stories,songs,prayers and conversations and converse with the Creator of the Universe get to know him and His love,justice,ways,precepts,commands and as the relationships grows and desire for reading the bible grows then using “study bibles” will be the next obvious step.As we read the Bible we begin to “get it” we are in conversation with God. We find ourselves listening for answers in matters that concern us: who we are, where we came from,where we are going,what makes us tick,the texture of the world and the communities we live in, and most of all the incredible Love of God among us,doing for us what we cannot do for ourselves.Through reading the Bible we see there is far more to life, more to us, more to what we see,more to what we do not see,more to everything ! Than we ever dreamed of and this more has to do with God ! So read the Message Bible and open yourself up to Him who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that you can ever ask or think !
The Message Bible has sold over 15 million copes worldwide.
Some scholars consider some of Peterson’s idiomatic renderings unconventional.
Eugene Peterson passed away in October 2018 and he was an American Presbyterian minister, scholar, theologian,author and poet.
As was mentioned above The Message Bible is not a ‘study bible” but it is a “reading bible”.Every Bible has a focus some focus on Study Aids,Concordances,Dictionaries,Maps,etc. Some Bibles focus on being as close to the original Hebrew and Greek texts as possible. Some Bibles focus on Amplifying the Scriptures to bring out as much meaning as possible. No Bible can be everything to everyone. The Message Bibles focus is reading in our everyday English language.
If you are looking for a Bible that has a focus on “reading in your everyday English Language” The Message Bible is for you !