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The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language

4.45  ·  Rating Details ·  5,661 Ratings  ·  326 Reviews

Many people assume that a book about a holy God should sound elevated, stately, and ceremonial. If this is how you've always viewed the Bible, you're about to make a surprising discovery.

The Message brings the life-changing power of the New Testament, the vibrant passion of the Psalms,

Paperback, 416 pages
Published February 15th 2007 by Navpress Publishing Group (first published March 1st 1997)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jul 08, 2011 Jenn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There is a lot of (unfortunate) debate about the validity of this translation of the Bible. Some refuse to call it any more than a paraphrase. Living in a foreign, non-Western culture (and having worked on some translation myself) helped me better understand the importance of context, the influence of culture, and the shortcomings of literal translations in writing. As I read Peterson's translation of the Bible, I am mindful that it is not a literal translation but am more than satisfied with th ...more
Apr 16, 2010 Alan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I admit that I didn't read this cover to cover. But I have read significant sections of this Bible and wanted to leave a review.

First, The Message Bible needs to be viewed in perspective. As Mr. Peterson notes, this is not a study Bible. It is not meant to be used to get deep down into doctrine. Instead, this is a reading Bible. Mr. Peterson's goal in his translation was to bring the same feelings to the modern reader that that were experienced by the original audiences to the Bible's message.

Steve Miyamoto
Have to love a Bible translation that says stuff like:

God went for the jugular when he sent his own Son. He didn't deal with the problem as something remote and unimportant. In his Son, Jesus, he personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all. (Romans 8:3a)
Jul 24, 2007 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
Have you ever longed to read the Bible but were put off by your memories of its language? This is your solution: an absolutely faithful translation in modern language. It almost makes Chronicles readable.
Feb 02, 2008 Jonathan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely fantastic. The Word of God in contemporary language without losing the true import or meaning.
Elizabeth Dyck
I like the way this Bible is set up for the most part. I would have liked to have all the verses separated from each other instead of having them in paragraphs.

More of a reading Bible instead of a study Bible, it flows from verse to verse in story like format. I kind of like that and I kind of don’t since it doesn’t give you the impression of having separate verses.

All in all though I think I will find myself using it again and again. It’s the perfect size to carry in a purse/bag or if you don’t
Dec 31, 2011 Tori rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
I did it!!!!! My goal was to read the Bible in a year, so I followed a schedule and just finished this translation of the Bible today! Whew! I had chosen The Message because it was in contemporary language. Previously, I had read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in here, and had been impressed with the images Peterson chose. Well - I am glad I read the whole Bible now, because over all, I felt cheated. Part of this, I'm sure, is because I am so used to reading the King James version. Yes, some of th ...more
Jul 07, 2015 Beth is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
I looked through this translation of the Bible a few years ago and initially disliked it. But recently I've been reading Praise Habit, by David Crowder, and he uses this version on his rumination of the psalms and I really liked the language. There's a sense of urgency and a poignancy that resonates with me now that didn't when I initially tried out this translation. So I'm reading this version in my goal to read through the Bible in one year. So far so good, however I don't think it's going to ...more
Jan 19, 2014 Leah rated it it was amazing
Eugene Peterson's "The Message" with its probing, dynamic interpretations of scripture often brings my own understanding of the possibilities and trajectories of the biblical texts to a new level. I bought this New Testament / Psalms for a friend whose first language is not English, although she speaks fluently and quite idiomatically.

This book is a delight! It's fairly thick and heavy because it's not printed on ultra-fine India paper and because (happily) they set it in an easily readable size
Jenna Leigh
Sep 25, 2013 Jenna Leigh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
I, like many others, had always avoided reading the Message Bible because of its supposed "heretical" leanings. However, recently I've been experimenting with some different translations. I have always read the NIV Bible, but the language style has become so familiar to me that I found that I was having trouble focusing while I was reading. I've got a Bible app on my iPhone, so every once and a while I would cross-reference verses from other translations with the NIV just to get a different pers ...more
Chris Suleske
Oct 30, 2011 Chris Suleske rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When Peterson's original Message transliteration was published, I eschewed it, taking my direction from critics who cherry-picked passages with which they took issue. By the time this version had been released, I'd mellowed in my take on such things. More than that, I'd come to appreciate Peterson's style of writing. It is easy to take passages with which we are accustomed and contrast them with the Message, producing instant dissonance. Psalm 23 is Psalm 23, in the KJV translation. Best to hear ...more
Dec 31, 2010 Legsoffury rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian
I would only consider it appropriate for somebody well-acquainted with a respectable translation of the Bible to read this. What do I mean by respectable; well I mean a translation that has stood the test of time and that is respected by a large majority of Bible scholars and Greek/Hebrew linguists. This is NOT a translation, but an interpretation. There is a big difference. This to me is more of a supplemental curiosity rather then a Bible I could actually make reference to.

As it is, there were
Phileo Truth
Jul 05, 2010 Phileo Truth rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This translation of the Bible renders the text unrecognizable to any word-for-word and most thought-for-thought translations. In its efforts to be conversational, the language is bastardized. It is a sad commentary on the state of the church that so many in Christendom teach from this Bible in the general assembly. This translation should have been shelved.
Jun 01, 2012 Robin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this version of the Bible. Written for his grandson, Eugene Peterson writes this paraphrase in such an easy to understand manner.
Amos Smith
Sep 18, 2015 Amos Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: top-books-other
I love this translation. It makes the Bible come alive in contemporary language. This is the translation I recommend to people who are unfamiliar with the Bible. It's fresh and accessible. I like how Eugene Peterson was a pastor for decades. I think his motivation for translating the Bible was to make it more accessible--to put the Bible into common language that people can readily understand. Peterson's translation is an excellent example of keeping our faith alive in the context of our times!
Benjamin Vineyard
The Message Reader's Edition (Book Reaction)

I enjoy reading *The Message* in longer reading sessions. The story flows more smoothly and I feel like I can grasp that arching story more securely when I can read for those longer sessions.

And that's just it -- *The Message* comes off more like you are reading a story. Or, as I sometimes imagine while I'm reading it, like you're sitting around a campfire and your grandfather is telling you something of the faith, something he memorized of Scripture,
Feb 12, 2014 Keri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been so blessed by reading through this paraphrase of the Bible. I am thrilled to have finally completed a lifelong goal of reading through the Bible. But more importantly than that, I've felt joy in reading and it has not simply become a task I "had" to do...instead something I looked forward to. As the Psalms say I "thrill to God's Word, you chew on Scripture day and night." (Ps. 1:2)

This is not the best for deep study but it is so readable and reminds us that the Bible is a story - the g
Becca Moss
Oct 29, 2014 Becca Moss is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Deuteronomy 15:10
10-11 Give freely and spontaneously. Don’t have a stingy heart. The way you handle matters like this triggers God, your God’s, blessing in everything you do, all your work and ventures. There are always going to be poor and needy people among you. So I command you: Always be generous, open purse and hands, give to your neighbors in trouble, your poor and hurting neighbors.

Hebrews 11:1
Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it give us assurance about t
The Youth at our church challenged everyone to read the entire New Testament by Lent. I am way behind on the "schedule" suggested, but working away nonetheless. I think I read the Gospels through as part of my confirmation back in high school, but otherwise I am really not sure that I have ever read the Bible through as a book (i.e., not just a smattering of verses here and there at a time). Needless to say, it gives you a different picture this way!

So far the translation is a little choppy to
Lee Harmon
Aug 10, 2011 Lee Harmon rated it really liked it
I love this contemporary Bible! It’s not the most accurate translation—it’s really not fair to even call it a translation, but rather a paraphrase betraying Peterson’s religious convictions—but I just find it enjoyable to read. It’s poetic and beautiful. Do not use it as a study Bible, but as an inspiring read.

I chose the book of John to highlight some of the translations, so you can get a feel for the wording. These aren’t my favorite passages, but they do highlight what I mean by a “paraphrasi
Nancy Snyder
Jul 17, 2009 Nancy Snyder rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This paraphrase of the Bible is arranged to pair a reading from the New Testament w/a section from the Old Testament. Each section is followed by some reflective questions. At times the sections go together, at other times they don't. The chapters do no necessarily follow the sequential order of the "regular" Message by Peterson or the regular order of the books of the Bible.
I have been able to finally read the Bible through this translation, to think about what I am reading, and to relate wha
May 30, 2013 Jerry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Synopsis: Called a "Bible in contemporary language," The Message is a paraphrase that updates the antiquated, archaic language found in most translations, whether the 1611 KJV or the 2010 NIV. This audio version features narration from experienced voice actor Kelly Ryan Dolan, as well as popular contemporary Christian music artists ranging from Steve Green to Janna Long (Avalon) to TobyMac reading selected passages, it's God's Word as you likely have never heard it before!

Production Values: 3.5/
Elizabeth  Holter
December 2010: Every year I read at least one classic book, and this year decided on the oldest book continuously in print. I picked this version because it is in contemporary language,from a translator who knows Greek and Hebrew. Halfway through, now, I find myself perversely comforted by the fact that, while human nature has not changed a bit over the last few millenia, there is a gradual upward movement in the way men view the world and their gods. It's enough to keep me going.
July 18, 2011:
Okay... I don't even know how to begin a review of a Bible. By the way I was given this book for Confirmation so I only read what was necessary to write a decent blurb.
Let's start with the name. "Remix"? Really? This is a modernization of the Bible not a Britney Spears song featuring Ke$ha and Nicki Minaj.
I'm probably really biased about this because in general I feel like something is lost in modernizations or abridged versions of anything. Reading Les Mis and seeing "is it ok with u bro" inst
Adam Johns
Nov 13, 2013 Adam Johns rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bibles, read-in-2013
Pastor Peterson gets it right more often than he gets it wrong, and anyone who has read his translation of the Holy Scriptures from the original language into contemporary English knows this very well.

There's a lot of controversy around this translation. Most people hold to the notion that it is a paraphrase. The thing about translations is that they are either word for word or thought for thought, and one is better for studying and one is better for reading and we need both. This is a thought
Mar 17, 2014 Melanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I come from an area of the Bible Belt where many will tell you the only valid translation of the Bible is the KJV. I personally feel that it's useless for me to read something with an expectation of gaining understanding if I'm caught up on the language. I have a very difficult time stumbling through the KJV, and I know that has a negative effect on my reading comprehension. The Message is contemporary language that is very clearly written. It reads much more like a novel and I'm able to glean s ...more
Sep 13, 2015 Brenda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Message Bible is certainly a different translation than what I am used to reading. First of all a bit about the construction of the Bible itself. The slimline edition makes this a very portable Bible, and the flexible leather like cover is nice to the touch and makes it easy to hold and read, oh and it's so flexible that it allows me to bend back the cover the same way I would do a paperback book. The single column style made me feel like I was reading a book instead of a Bible. There are no ...more
Ed Charlton
Nov 05, 2014 Ed Charlton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm finding this a useful book. It gets away from some of the beautiful-but-misleading wording of, for example, the King James version.

There's plenty to disagree with as you read. I found my self saying variously:
Is that what he really said?
Is that all?
Wow, that's sounds so prosaic...

But that's the point. When you notice the work of the translator you're inspired to learn more. We can't just take it for granted that what we have known is the best/most accurate version.

Apr 13, 2014 Sandy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religion
Back when I was doing Bible study on a regular basis, I really loved The Message. I would read it in conjunction with the NRSV, which is supposed to be one of the better translations. Better in the sense of closer to the original. It's not always better in terms of I want to get something out of this text. The Message was inspired in that area. It's a paraphrase more than a translation but that's OK. He got the gist in a readable fashion far better than anything else I've read.
I prefer to treat this as a contemporary commentary on the Bible rather than as a legitimate translation of the Bible, and I take it that is what Eugene Peterson intended it for since he says in his introduction to The Message that it was not intended to replace standard study Bibles, but unfortunately it is not marketed that way at all. It is helpful at times and obscures with goofiness or inappropriate light-heartedness at other times.
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Eugene H. Peterson is a pastor, scholar, author, and poet. For many years he was James M. Houston Professor of Spiritual Theology at Regent College. He also served as founding pastor of Christ Our King Presbyterian Church in Bel Air, Maryland. He has written over thirty books, including Gold Medallion Book Award winner The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language a contemporary translation of t ...more
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“You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world.
(Matthew 5:14, The Message)”
“You don't make your words true by embellishing them with religious lace. In making your speech sound more religious, it becomes less true.” 11 likes
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