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The Message: The New Testament in Contemporary Language
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The Message: The New Testament in Contemporary Language

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  1,232 ratings  ·  59 reviews
The message preserves the authentic, earthy flavor and expressive character of the Bible in contemporary language. With more than six million copies sold, Eugene Peterson's unique paraphrase has opened up understanding and insight into God's Word. This new easy-to-carry format is great for carrying or for giving away. This new format brings the life-changing power of the N ...more
Paperback, 544 pages
Published March 5th 2000 by NavPress (first published January 1st 1993)
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Average rating 4.32  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,232 ratings  ·  59 reviews

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May 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I love how The Message reads so smoothly, takes me into large sections of text, and makes me laugh when I recognize a verse and how appropriately Eugene Peterson expressed it with creative, insightful language. I recently read the intro to the Promise Keeper's edition and fell in love with his pastoral heart for us. I love how an author I've never met can feel like a personal mentor.
Apr 27, 2008 rated it liked it
For someone concretely atheist, I must admit that if anyone were to want to understand the gist of the Christian bible in a tolerable way, this would be it. I got my hands on this book thanks to the well-intentioned aunt of a boyfriend during high school. Written as a novel about the life of Christ, this version of the New Testament is highly readable (compared to the alternatives).
Jul 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My second time through this version of the New Testament. It is easy reading and am now reading The Message Bible by Eugene Peterson. I've learned that to really gain insight into The Word, you keep rereading the Bible, whatever version you're comfortable with. As soon as you read the last page of Revelations, you turn to the first page of Genesis and start again.
Jan 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I love to read The Message, OT and NT, for my daily Scripture reading. It is a paraphrase, and I would always confirm the meaning with ESV, Greek NT, etc. before teaching a passage. However, I love to read The Message.
Sep 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The message is not only The Word of God, it also brings lots of laughs! Like Jesus saying shut up... Haha!
Paul Cockeram
Feb 10, 2015 rated it liked it
The Good Book has been enshrined in its King James version so long that, for most of my life, every time I heard quotations from the Bible, the language sounded medieval--a bit stilted, though definitely poetic. The poetry of the King James edition, a preacher friend once told me, is what he associates with the Bible. But that same man went and bought me this edition, which has been translated into the idiom of our day, in order to show both of us something important about the Good Book: It's al ...more
Jan 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read through the Bible every year, but I chose this version for 2013 because I think for personal growth it is important to at least occasionally explore something different than my normal NIV. While there were sections that really brought new insight, for the most part I didn't enjoy this particular translation. The modern, everyday language often felt too modern, too laid back, too secular. At one point during the year, I told two of my daughters that I was reading The Message for my daily Bible re ...more
Mar 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Truly love Peterson's creative, insightful translation. Masterful, and imminently helpful. Recommended to all. I have read it again and again, and will continue to do so.

It's not a word-for-word translation, wasn't intended to be, and doesn't need to be. But when you need a break from standard Bible versions, or a fresh approach to the Bible for any reason, The Message can be just the thing. It has reignited my love of the Bible time and again when it was needed, or carried me when my heart
Dec 31, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes called a paraphrase more than a translation, Peterson's The Message has none of the omissions and other problems that plague true paraphrases like The Living Bible. I've read elsewhere that The Message is actually superior to many "pure translation" Bibles in its fidelity to the original Greek and Hebrew. In my own reading, I've found it compares favorably with the New King James Version, and I can say personally that its breezy, colloquial phraseology saved my life at a time when I ne ...more
Lene Pienaar
Feb 01, 2013 rated it did not like it
I'm sorry if this upsets people (that's not my intention) but the fact of the matter is that a serious look into "The Message" reveals some devastating changes to the original meaning of the scriptures. This takes ad lib-ing to a whole new level and the fear of God should at least make others look into the matter with honesty. It's colorful language and easy to read style does not excuse it's total lack of often even a vague similarity to the original text.
Jul 03, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: religion
This is just a horrible translation - it turns the Gospels into a self-help book. One of the most political things that Jesus is said to have uttered is: "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled." (Matthew 5:6, NIV). This translation renders it as: "You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat." That completely liquidates it of its meaning and renders it into a mushy affirmation. Not ...more
Oct 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed the contemporary language style . . . But sometimes I miss the more poetic phrasing and more accurate interpretation from an NIV. Best to keep one on hand. But overall, a much easier read. Oh yes!
TAKE 2: just read it again. Not only is it a good book, but it's THE Good Book! Everyone should read it once. At Least! 😀😇
Jan 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this translation of the New Testament it makes it easier to go back and I now know the overall idea of what was going on in each book.
Rose Parke
Apr 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is not a translation, but paraphrase, so it doesn't need to be your only bible. That being said, the use of modern idioms and imagery brings many difficult passages to life and sheds light on subjects that are sometimes difficult to grasp. If you're looking for a supplement to spice up your hunger for the word, this may be the book for you. The paraphrase of Romans seven alone is worth the price of the book.
Robert Thibodeau
Jan 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a very, casually read, Bible. It is easy to read - although I do not always agree with the phraseology used (which is why I bumped one star down). But I try to read a different version of the Bible every year (for the last 20 years). This is one of the Bible's in the rotation. I do use some of the verses from this Bible in my teachings, whenever the phraseology provides a clearer understanding for the listener (especially when compared to the King James Version).
Kylie Abecca
Apr 19, 2019 rated it did not like it
I tried. Really I did. But after reading the same 15 sentences over and over and over again just put in a different order I couldn’t help but be not only bored out of my mind, but I felt like this book was more an elaborate attempt at brainwashing. I got a quarter of the way through and was ready to ditch it into the fireplace. Not willing to continue reading.
L.T. Kodzo
Apr 29, 2017 rated it liked it
It's hard for me to give The Bible only 4 stars. I've read through the NIV, NLT and NRS in my life, and this year decided to try The Message only to be disappointed with the writing. While some passages are lovely, I find it is sprinkled with too much purple prose and cliche. It sometimes distracts or even eliminates areas of scripture.
Alex Apostol
Sep 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This has been my favorite version of the bible so far! It is easy to read in contemporary language, which means I am grasping all that is trying to be taught to me. I would recommend everyone read this version at least once!
Nicholas Matthews
Oct 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
A breath of fresh air
Sep 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this translation of the NT on my walks! I love Eugene Peterson and will read more of his work.
Aunt Edie
Oct 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The audio version of The Message narrated by Kelly Ryan Dolan and Carol Nix, with an introduction by Eugene Peterson, is my favorite audio version of the Bible so far. I don't listen to the Bible for deep word studies or specific, detailed theological exploration. That sort of study requires books and colored pencils and the increasingly helpful computer search. I would never suggest that anyone own this as their only Bible. However, it is a wonderful addition to anyone's collection. The narrati ...more
Apr 20, 2010 added it
Shelves: religion
I'm going to avoid giving a star rating to this volume, but it isn't what I'd recommend to people. I very much liked the Peterson translation of the Wisdom Books because of the layout of the text--the poems were spread out like poetry is supposed to be. It had room to breathe. The layout is less essential here since little of the New Testament is written as poetry.

The colloquialisms are fine with me, but the introductions to each book don't really tell us anything about the history/context/cult
Mike "Poet"
I got this book as a gift from my church friends. They all signed it after I studied the bible with them in 2007.

I was going through a few challenges in my life in 2006 and I met up with a good friend from high school. We drifted apart and weren't friends for 15 years, yet it was God's way of letting me know there are people who care. I know I am not perfect, I am just appreciative of people who help me learn to trust again and learn to be a better person.
Justin Cameron
Nov 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
So glad I finally got round to reading the New Testament - given how central it is in my faith as a Christian. Was very appreciative of the contemporary idiom in which Eugene Peterson writes. Should have read it sooner, but better late than never. Maybe one day I will read the Old Testament from start to finish as well.
Trish Boese
3* This version of the Bible is very unique. The plain language is easy to understand, and the message comes through loud and strong. It is paraphrased, so the verses don't exactly parallel the King James Version. I like reading this version for fresh inspiration, although it lacks the poetry of the KJV that I grew up with.
Sean Jacobs
May 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Forty years in the pulpit preaching the Word of God! Eugene Peterson has used his creative style of writing to present God's Word in easy to understand words and phrases, a fresh voice to the scriptures indeed. I read the book through and through before becoming an elder in the First Presbyterian Church.
Feb 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
I have mixed feelings. The rewording of the prose really works for me - it really makes me think about the text, and helps clarify the intent of some of the verses - but I love the familiar wording of the Psalms from the NIV. This new version just doesn't seem to flow, or have the beauty of language, that I'm used to.
Jun 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good modern interpretation of the bible. More entertaining in laymans language. Good reference tool to use for comparison purposes or to help you understand more complicated verses and books of the bible.
Scripture: read the verses, ponder and consider them, pray them, live them. Such is lectio divina, a practice I first learned in a women's study that met every other Wednesday morning at 4:30am. A richly blessed time.
Jun 17, 2019 rated it liked it
possibly too idiomatic for my liking- maybe I fetishise the demoded phrases a little too much. For an example, take a look at Peterson's rendering of the Lord's prayer vs the KJV version- his is a little bit too song and dancey for me...
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