The Message (Bible)
|Full name||The Message|
|Translation type||Idiomatic/Dynamic equivalence/Paraphrase|
|Copyright||Copyright 2002 Eugene H. Peterson|
|The Bible in English|
The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language was created by Eugene H. Peterson and published in segments from 1993 to 2002. It is an idiomatic translation of the original languages of the Bible.
Peterson states the reason The Message was written was:
|“||While I was teaching a class on Galatians, I began to realize that the adults in my class weren't feeling the vitality and directness that I sensed as I read and studied the New Testament in its original Greek. Writing straight from the original text, I began to attempt 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 hadn't 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.'||”|
Peterson also states "And then one day (it was April 30, 1990) I got a letter from an editor asking me to work on a new version of the Bible along the lines of what I had been doing as a pastor. I agreed." 
According to the Introduction to the New Testament of The Message, its “contemporary idiom keeps the language of the Message (Bible) current and fresh and understandable”. Peterson notes 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.”
The Message was published piecemeal over a nine-year period. The New Testament was published in 1993. The Hebrew Bible Wisdom Books were published in 1998. The Hebrew Bible Prophets were published in 2000. The Hebrew Bible Pentateuch were released in 2001. The Books of History came out in 2002. The entire Bible was released the same year and follows the traditional Protestant Biblical canon.
Although The Message is used commonly in congregations, Peterson stated his uneasiness with this in a Christianity Today interview:
|“||When I'm in a congregation where somebody uses [The Message] in the Scripture reading, it makes me a little uneasy. I would never recommend it be used as saying, "Hear the Word of God from The Message." But it surprises me how many do.||”|
Comparison to other translations
The Message is often considered a paraphrase and fits the definition of a paraphrase exactly. The Message was translated by Peterson from the original languages. Thus, it is a highly idiomatic paraphrase, and as such falls on the extreme dynamic end of the dynamic and formal equivalence spectrum.
For purposes of comparison, here are two passages from The Message, along with the same passages from the four most popular translations as of 2012, listed in order of popularity - the New International Version being the most popular. The Message is the tenth most popular translation.
1. The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,
3. he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
4. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
1. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
- The Message
1. GOD, my shepherd! I don't need a thing.
2. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from.
3. True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction.
4. Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I'm not afraid when you walk at my side. Your trusty shepherd's crook makes me feel secure.
The Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13)
9. “This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
10. your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
11. Give us today our daily bread.
12. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’
9. After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11. Give us this day our daily bread.
12. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
- The Message
9-13 With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. Like this:Yes. Yes. Yes.
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!
- Hebrew Bible
- The Pentateuch: ISBN 1-57683-196-5
- The Books of History: ISBN 1-57683-194-9
- The Wisdom Books: ISBN 1-57683-126-4
- The Prophets: ISBN 1-57683-195-7
- New Testament
- Entire Bible
- With verse markings (The Message Remix): ISBN 1-57683-434-4
- Without verse markings: ISBN 1-57683-289-9
- With verse markings (The Message: The Numbered Edition): ISBN 1-57683-673-8; this edition was recognized as an ECPA Christian Book Award winner.
- "Introduction to the New Testament, from The Message". Retrieved 2008-06-03.
- "Version Information". Retrieved 2011-06-03.
- The Message 2004
- "'I Didn't Want to Be Cute' - Christianity Today". Retrieved 2009-10-10.
- "2006 Christian Book Awards Winners - Bibles category". Retrieved 2008-06-03.
- Publisher's History & FAQ (most recently available archived version)
- The Message text online
- Eugene Peterson interview at a U2 fansite