Eugene H. Peterson is a pastor, scholar, author, and poet. He has written more than thirty books, including Gold Medallion Book Award winner The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language. Peterson earned his BA in philosophy from Seattle Pacific University, his STB from New York Theological Seminary, and his MA in Semitic languages from Johns Hopkins University. In 1962, Peterson was a founding pastor of Christ Our King Presbyterian Church in Bel Air, Maryland, where he served for many years before retiring in 1991. He is Professor Emeritus of Spiritual Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. He now lives in Montana with his wife, Jan.
This edition of The Message has a unique verse-numbering system that makes it an ideal reading Bible.
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The MessageThe Bible in Contemporary Language
By Eugene H. Peterson
Navpress Publishing GroupCopyright © 2002 Eugene H. Peterson
All right reserved.
How well God must like you- you don't hang out at Sin Saloon, you don't slink along Dead-End Road, you don't go to Smart-Mouth College.
Instead you thrill to God's Word, you chew on Scripture day and night. You're a tree replanted in Eden, bearing fresh fruit every month, Never dropping a leaf, always in blossom.
You're not at all like the wicked, who are mere windblown dust- Without defense in court, unfit company for innocent people.
God charts the road you take. The road they take is Skid Row.
Why the big noise, nations? Why the mean plots, peoples? Earth-leaders push for position, Demagogues and delegates meet for summit talks, The God-deniers, the Messiah-defiers: "Let's get free of God!
Cast loose from Messiah!" Heaven-throned God breaks out laughing. At first he's amused at their presumption; Then he gets good and angry. Furiously, he shuts them up: "Don't you know there's a King in Zion? A coronation banquet Is spread for him on the holy summit."
Let me tell you what God said next. He said, "You're my son, And today is your birthday. What do you want? Name it: Nations as a present? continents as a prize? You can command them all to dance for you, Or throw them out with tomorrow's trash."
So, rebel-kings, use your heads; Upstart-judges, learn your lesson: Worship God in adoring embrace, Celebrate in trembling awe. Kiss Messiah! Your very lives are in danger, you know; His anger is about to explode, But if you make a run for God-you won't regret it!
A David psalm, when he escaped for his life from Absalom, his son.
God! Look! Enemies past counting! Enemies sprouting like mushrooms, Mobs of them all around me, roaring their mockery: "Hah! No help for him from God!"
But you, God, shield me on all sides; You ground my feet, you lift my head high; With all my might I shout up to God, His answers thunder from the holy mountain.
I stretch myself out. I sleep. Then I'm up again-rested, tall and steady, Fearless before the enemy mobs Coming at me from all sides.
Up, God! My God, help me! Slap their faces, First this cheek, then the other, Your fist hard in their teeth!
Real help comes from God. Your blessing clothes your people!
A David psalm
When I call, give me answers. God, take my side! Once, in a tight place, you gave me room; Now I'm in trouble again: grace me! hear me!
You rabble-how long do I put up with your scorn? How long will you lust after lies? How long will you live crazed by illusion?
Look at this: look Who got picked by God! He listens the split second I call to him.
Complain if you must, but don't lash out. Keep your mouth shut, and let your heart do the talking. Build your case before God and wait for his verdict.
Why is everyone hungry for more? "More, more," they say. "More, more." I have God's more-than-enough, More joy in one ordinary day
Than they get in all their shopping sprees. At day's end I'm ready for sound sleep, For you, God, have put my life back together.
A David psalm
Listen, God! Please, pay attention! Can you make sense of these ramblings, my groans and cries? King-God, I need your help. Every morning you'll hear me at it again. Every morning I lay out the pieces of my life on your altar and watch for fire to descend.
You don't socialize with Wicked, or invite Evil over as your houseguest. Hot-Air-Boaster collapses in front of you; you shake your head over Mischief-Maker. God destroys Lie-Speaker; Blood-Thirsty and Truth-Bender disgust you.
And here I am, your invited guest- it's incredible! I enter your house; here I am, prostrate in your inner sanctum, Waiting for directions to get me safely through enemy lines.
Every word they speak is a land mine; their lungs breathe out poison gas. Their throats are gaping graves, their tongues slick as mud slides. Pile on the guilt, God! Let their so-called wisdom wreck them. Kick them out! They've had their chance.
But you'll welcome us with open arms when we run for cover to you. Let the party last all night! Stand guard over our celebration. You are famous, God, for welcoming God-seekers, for decking us out in delight.
Excerpted from The Message by Eugene H. Peterson Copyright © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. Excerpted by permission.
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