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The Message (Bible)

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The Message
Full nameThe Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language
NT published1993
Complete Bible
Translation typeParaphrase
CopyrightTHE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved.
Religious affiliationPresbyterian[1]
First this: God created the Heavens and Earth—all you see, all you don't see. Earth was a soup of nothingness, a bottomless emptiness, an inky blackness. God's Spirit brooded like a bird above the watery abyss. God spoke: "Light!" And light appeared.
"This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.

The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language (MSG) is a paraphrase of the Bible in contemporary English. Authored by Eugene H. Peterson and published in segments from 1993 to 2002.[2]

A Catholic version, The Message – Catholic / Ecumenical Edition, was published in 2013.[3]


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".[4] 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".[4]

Translation consultants[edit]

The publisher states: "Peterson's work has been thoroughly reviewed by a team of recognized Old and New Testament scholars to ensure that it is accurate and faithful to the original languages."[5]

Old Testament team:[5]

  • Robert L. Hubbard Jr., North Park Theological Seminary (chair)
  • Richard E. Averbeck, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
  • Bryan E. Beyer, Columbia International University
  • Lamar E. Cooper Sr., Criswell College
  • Peter E. Enns, Eastern University
  • Duane A. Garrett, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Donald R. Glenn, Dallas Theological Seminary
  • Paul R. House, Beeson Divinity School, Samford University
  • V. Philips Long, Regent College
  • Tremper Longman, Westmont College
  • John N. Oswalt, Asbury Theological Seminary
  • Richard L. Pratt Jr., Reformed Theological Seminary, Third Mill Ministries
  • John H. Walton, Wheaton College
  • Prescott H. Williams Jr., Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
  • Marvin R. Wilson, Gordon College

New Testament team:[5]

  • William W. Klein, Denver Seminary (chair)
  • Darrell L. Bock, Dallas Theological Seminary
  • Donald A. Hagner, Fuller Theological Seminary
  • Moises Silva, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
  • Rodney A. Whitacre, Trinity School of Ministry

Catholic version[edit]

Deuterocanonical book translator:[6]

  • William Griffin, St. Lawrence Seminary

Comparison to other translations[edit]

The Message was translated by Peterson from the original languages.[2] It is a highly idiomatic translation, using contemporary slang from the US rather than a more neutral International English, and it falls on the extreme dynamic end of the dynamic and formal equivalence spectrum. Some scholars, like Michael J. Gorman, consider some of Peterson's idiomatic renderings unconventional.[7] The work was awarded the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association Gold Medallion in 2003 for being the title retailers prized.[8][9]

Psalm 23:1-4[edit]

New International Version:

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.

King James Version:

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 Living Bible:

1 Because the Lord is my Shepherd, I have everything I need!
2-3 He lets me rest in the meadow grass and leads me beside the quiet streams. He gives me new strength. He helps me do what honors him the most.
4 Even when walking through the dark valley of death I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me, guarding, guiding all the way.

The Message:

1–3 GOD, my shepherd!
    I don’t need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
    you find me quiet pools to drink from.
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.

Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13)[edit]

New International Version:

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 And 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.'"

King James Version:

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 Living Bible:

9 “Pray along these lines: ‘Our Father in heaven, we honor your holy name.
10 We ask that your kingdom will come now. May your will be done here on earth, just as it is in heaven.
11 Give us our food again today, as usual,
12 and forgive us our sins, just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us.
13 Don’t bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the Evil One. Amen.’

The Message:

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!
    Yes. Yes. Yes.


Old Testament:

  • 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:



  1. ^ "Bible Translation Spectrum". Logos Bible Software Wiki. Archived from the original on January 7, 2023. Retrieved January 7, 2023.
  2. ^ a b "Version Information". Retrieved 2011-06-03.
  3. ^ "The Message - CatholicEcumenical Edition". The Message - CatholicEcumenical Edition. Retrieved 2023-04-12.
  4. ^ a b "Introduction to the New Testament, from The Message". Retrieved 2008-06-03.
  5. ^ a b c "What's Unique about THEMESSAGE". messagebible.com. Retrieved 2020-07-17.
  6. ^ "Catholics get 'The Message' in new edition of Bible". National Catholic Reporter. 2014-07-26. Retrieved 2020-01-17. Griffin said he used the Catholic-approved New Latin Vulgate as the basis for his translations.
  7. ^ Gorman, Michael J. (2008). Elements of Biblical Exegesis: A Basic Guide for Students and Ministers. Baker Books. p. 51. ISBN 9781441232830. Retrieved 8 January 2016.
  8. ^ "About Christian Book Award". Christian Book Awards Retrieved 5 July 2022.
  9. ^ Robert D. McFadden. (23 October 2018). "Eugene H. Peterson, 85, Scholar Turned Homespun Pastor, Dies". New York Times website Retrieved 5 July 2022.
  10. ^ "2006 Christian Book Awards Winners - Bibles category". Retrieved 2008-06-03.

External links[edit]