Wednesday, November 28, 2007

give me your opinions, please

What do you think of The Message?

See, I grew up under some legalistic preaching and remember well how evil The Living Bible was. It was as if a person reading that were doomed to eternal damnation because surely all good things had been removed.

Now, I don't have a problem with The Living Bible as a paraphrase. Use it to get someones personal interpretation of the Scriptures, or as a supplement to a real translation, no problem.

I feel the same way about The Message. It is Mr. Peterson's unique interpretation and paraphrase of God's Word. What I have trouble with is people referring to it as a translation. People also refer to Eugene Peterson as the author of The Message. How can it be the Bible if Eugene Peterson wrote it? If it's the Bible then God is the author. If Mr. Peterson is the author, then it isn't the Bible, right?

So, I am not against reading it or using it for study or reference. But I don't like the idea of it being used as one's sole "Bible." I also don't think doctrine should be determined by it.

But I believe that a person can still come to know God and accept Christ through reading this. God can use His truth and His words, even if they are re-interpreted.

But I would never give this book the standing of being infallible, inerrant, God-breathed Scripture.

I'm wanting to avoid that old legalism stance, but maintain foundational integrity at the same time. Does that make sense?

And what do you think?


  1. I'm not big on paraphrases simply because I think the NIV translation is as readable as any paraphrase and is more reliable.

    However, I'm with you--as long as people read it for what it is and don't use it as a translation, then no harm, no foul. God can certainly use it.

    Even though Mr. Peterson might have been anointed when he put it together, as a paraphrase which, if I'm not mistaken, was written with the purpose to modernize and make it easier for people to read the Bible, it remains his "reduction" into a culturally-friendly paraphrase.

    As for my personal reading, no thanks.

  2. Yes, I don't really care for the actual language of it, either. It's a bit too... casual, or something.
    I have read the New Living Translation, which was done by a host of scholars and I liked it. It is about the loosest translation you can get without being a paraphrase. And it is very easy to read.
    Now I use the NASB -- very literal translation.

  3. I have found the New Living Translation to be a Godsend (pardon the pun) for introducing people to the Bible.

    Let's face it, as beautiful as it is, the Shakespearean King James Version is hard work to read, much less understand.

    I do rather NIV as a closer reflection of KJ.

    My favorite Bible is a parallel edition. It has the King James on one side the page and NLT on the other.

    My personal conviction tells me to stay away from the Message. But that's just me.

    If truly taken as you and Nicole have described then okay, but I'm concerned that those intentions will soon be forgotten by the reader.

  4. I think you said it Kay. It is a great resource, but not the choice of scholars.

    I absolutely love the New Living Translation and the Holman Christan Standard, those are almost exclusively what I read out of and write my Bible studies from.

    I don't care for the KJV or the NIV, I have one of each and refer to them at times, but nah, I prefer the other two I mentioned.

  5. I agree with what you are saying. I personally use either the Amplified or the NKJV and like to use the NLT as a reference. I really dislike the NIV..but that is my own opinion of it and have no problem with others that like it. If I saw a believer reading the Message and growing in the Lord and showing a lot of fruit...I do not think I would get onto them for having/reading it.

  6. I've never read the Message, so I have no idea.

  7. I dont like the casualness of the newer bibles.It makes me feel like I am not being reverant.I use an NIV but want to go back to King James

  8. Hi Kay
    Thanks for the info on Aromaleigh.I checked them out and they have the primer and the setting spray that I love.Will blog when I try it out

  9. I believe God can use ANY form He wants to reach those who diligently seek Him. The KJV is but one of many translations into English, but it is not THE only translation. Remember, fellow believers, there are other languages on Earth. Our Lord himself did not speak to His disciples in American/Elizabethan English, but in Aramaic. As Americans, we need to be a bit less self-focused and stop freaking out so much about various translations, etc. After all it is God who is the author and finisher of our faith!!

  10. Hi Kay, I have never used The Message, but I am in agreement with what you said that it would be good to use as a study guide or supplement to help understand verses. I mostly use the NIV, but I like to sometimes compare verses in different translations to make sure I get the full meaning.

  11. I like the Message. The Bible I use all the time is the New International Version, but I like the Message. It's like watching a movie of the Bible and it brings certain Scriptures imagery that I have never thought about.

    I like it!

  12. I use it in study. But I use the AMP or NIV mostly. I probably use my NIV most because I can find things fast in it.

    For gift giving, especially for new Christians, or someone under 30, I would give the Message. But sure to get the version with the verses or it's just way too frustrating to use.

  13. I've never actually read through The Message, but have been in Bible studies where it was used to help explain a passage of Scripture. While I admit the "word pictures" it paints is nice, I don't like the casualness of it. Seems irreverent to me, I guess. I have been using the ESV for about two years now, and I really like it. It is very similar to KJV, IMO, without being so formal.


I love to hear your thoughts!