The Message Bible: New Testament

The Message Bible: New Testament

3.4 31
by Eugene H. Peterson, Kelly Ryan Dolan

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"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 by destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life."  Those familiar with any part of the Bible will recognize John 3:16, with a mind-altering difference.  The words are fresh, new, and sound like the

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"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 by destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life."  Those familiar with any part of the Bible will recognize John 3:16, with a mind-altering difference.  The words are fresh, new, and sound like the 21st century.  That's because they are from The Message, a presentation of the Word of God crafted for the modern age.  Eugene H. Peterson, translator and editor, learned from his years of teaching and pastoring that most people, through familiarity or frustration with the Bible, were missing the whole message of Scripture, "the Word that God uses to create and save us, heal and bless us, judge and rule over us."  So, he set out to give us that Word in language we use every day - an audio Bible that would penetrate our hearts and minds, transforming us day by day into the person God desires us to be.  For more than 6 million readers, Eugene Peterson's unique style has opened up new understanding and insight into God's Word.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The Bible is great reading, and The Message is very good listening. Peterson, a pastor and scholar, spent 12 years translating the Bible into contemporary language, and the audio version of his critically acclaimed book is storytelling at its best. Kelly Ryan Dolan's narration is fired with enthusiasm and excitement, although hearing Jesus respond to Satan's desert challenge with "Beat it, Satan," is a bit disconcerting. In a 2002 Christianity Today interview, the author admits to being a "reluctant participant" in this work, preferring Greek and Hebrew translations for his own devotional reading. As a pastor, however, he began this paraphrase translation as a way of making a difficult work more accessible to the people he served, and he has succeeded masterfully. The reading is far from your average Sunday rendering, different enough for the listener to find new and clarifying meanings in what is often difficult text. An excellent introduction to the New Testament, as well as a way to invite reluctant students into a deeper understanding of the book, this is recommended for public and school libraries, especially young adult collections.-Barbara J. Kenney, Roger Williams Univ., Bristol, RI Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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Oasis Audio
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Read an Excerpt

The Message-MS

By Eugene H. Peterson

Navpress Publishing Group

Copyright © 2002 Eugene H. Peterson
All right reserved.

ISBN: 1576832899

Chapter One



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'strash."

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-MS by Eugene H. Peterson Copyright © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The Message Bible 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I believe The Message bible is an extrodinary tool for the lifelong convert to the new follower of our Lord Jesus. Our modern American English language contains multiple idioms and terminologies related to our current timeline and culture, as well as euphemisms that would not be understood if translated word for word, phrase for phrase to another time period and culture. There would need to be an equivelent phrase for that culture. The same is true for the first century. The first century language used in the New Testament, as well as the Old Testament Hebrew enact the use of idioms which are rich, with exponentional added meaning behind each word in comparison to our modern language English. The language barrier coupled with idioms and cultural understanding can make the Word have less than intended meaning for the reader. The Message, I have found is an excellent translation, capturing the deep meaning behind the rich literature of the bible. I use NKJV/KVJ most of the time, but I find that when I read The Message, I read it as if it were a novel, flowing and comprehensive. A gripping read, that is more fluent in understanding than of other iterations. I recommend this translation, but with strong caution to have NIV/NKJV/KJV handy for clarification.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm not an expert, just a Mom whose been saved for 8+ years and would have no problem with my young children reading this translation. That's just the point here...this is a translation just like all the rest that we're going to find today. We also have to remember that the original Bible was highly edited, there are Gospels (of Peter and Thomas firmly rejected) letters (of Barnabas) and Acts (of Andrew and John also firmly rejected) for example that have not been accepted. The earlier translations we have do an ok job, but really don't explain what verses mean and leave a lot up to each individual's interpretation and if you don't have someone who has been highly educated that you trust to take you through the Bible, that can be pretty intimidating and a bit scary. Many Pastors today (from what I've been told) have stopped indepth teaching of the Bible, I'm not certain if they offer Bible studies or not, but those who used to learn what the Bible means in Church services are no longer receicving that education on Sunday. Also, don't forget about the young believers, and I'm not just talking about age although that is a huge point as well. Many new believers in Christ will get bogged down in language and it doesn't have to be that hard, The Message Bible is a wonderful learning tool for new believers and young readers. I would rather my children read The Message than watch T.V.. Rick Warren (and my Pastor as well) use this translation as well as several others simply because certain translations say it better than another. It's Ok for you to have a favorite translation of the Bible, that doesn't mean it will be everyone else's. Also, if someone were truly worried about reading The Message without having an older translation, they have this revolutionary thing called a Paralllel Bible - It has The Message on one side and the NIV translation on the other...problem solved. I would highly recommend having more than one translation to refer to anyway, the differences are often interesting. It's all about the language...if you were one of the people who wrote a condemning review on this Bible or are thinking of doing so, ask yourself this question...would Jesus get that uptight about his message of love and how to live a good life for His glory being translated into words a child could identify with? If you still are considering writing a bad review please read Matthew 18:1-9 in any translation that pleases you :-D And remember what dear old Mom likes to say, if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. God Bless, and keep talking to our Lord...He will respond if you only take the time to hear Him!
Guest More than 1 year ago
My husband was having a difficult time reading the bible. I recommended 'The Message Bible' to him b/c he can get the idea of what God was saying. This book is NOT intended to replace the Bible, it is a beginning point for those who need it. I'm happy to say my husband loves this easy to understand translation and I do not anticipate problems with him moving to the real Bible later. This is an excellent starter bible. Some people need milk before meat, why is that so hard for people to understand. God Bless all who are reading anything about the love, life, and words of Jesus Christ are Savior.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If this bible leads any person to a personal relationship with Jesus.....then I don't understand why people who call themselves Christians can insist that it is a misleading translation. There is not a single translation into the English language that is going to be 100% perfect....the only perfection you can find is by learning the language and reading it in the original text (to the reviewer who is using quotes from revelation to back up the claims I hope you realize that you would have to use the same claim for every english translation because none of them are perfect.....also re-wording for comprehension is not adding or taking away). This translation is a great starting point for anyone who is searching or wants to strengthen their relationship with Jesus. God created us to worship every minute of every day, and every day we divide ourselves over things like a translation that could lead one of us to a new life in Christ. How sorry I feel for those of us who choose to divide the Church of Christ rather then to unite and stand firm in the absolute truth. If you are searching.....then I hope with all my heart that which ever translation you choose, you find God....because he's waiting for you. God Bless You!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is not a Bible!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a good translation of the Bible. It puts things in todays terms. This Bible SHOULD NOT be used as your only Bible. It should be read along with an NIV or KJV version. This is more for comprehension than anything. Understandability. So do not throw out your NIV or KJV version of the Bible, use them together.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This bible is a mistranslation luring christians into new age thinking and preparing them for a world religion. It mistranslates the lords prayer. It even uses new age terminology. Don't read this bible, if you own it throw it out. I urge you to please take me seriously. I'm only 15 and realize the deception in this book. If you compare the verses in this bible to other translations you will see it too. The only message this bible is teaching is the new age message.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This translation of the Bible is eminently readable. I am surprised by a couple of comments here. First, one of the great treasures of the translation is how nice the cadence is for much of the wisdom literature. It comes closer to capturing the poetic rhythm of many of those books than any other translation that I can think of. The Psalms just pour over you as you read them. Second, this translation has been worked over with Peterson by some top-notch scholars. While I'm sure that there are places where the translation could better capture nuance and detail, there are NO egregious errors in the translation, i.e., where the text has just plain been mistranslated. (Caveat: there are passages in the Bible about which there is general controversy on how to translate them. But such a worry would apply to *all* translations, not just The Message.) It is truly disappointing when so-called experts claim that they have found errors, but never provide any citations or examples, or provide their credentials to suggest why we should believe them over, e.g. Tremper Longman, John Walton, Darrell Bock, Donald Hagner, Moises Silva, and the many other first-rate Bible scholars who served as consultants.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have quite a few bibles in my house, but, this is brilliant. It breaks downs the thus, thee and thou's into 2003 language. Its a must for anyone wanting to study the word of God, but got lost in the many other versions. Be blessed!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is possibly the most dangerous product available to new Christians. It waters down the truths spoken by the original authors and refuses to acknowledge both the deity of Christ and many sins which are explicitly mentioned in the original text. As a recent student of Greek and Hebrew (and knowing and speaking with many with their graduate degrees in these languages), I can safely assert that there is no possible way to call this abomination a "translation". It actually physically pains me to see so many professing Christianity saying that this "translation" is the best that they have read. To preach on it... how much more proof do we need that we are in trouble? I could go into many of the textual and translational problems with this work, but that would take far too much time and likely solve close to none of the problems. Because of this, I will only spend a short time on one of the major flaws: the Lord’s prayer. How the Message can so blatantly change and corrupt this into such a useless and error-ridden travesty is absolutely beyond me. The NKJV translation says in the second line, “Hallowed be Your name”, but the Message says “Reveal who you are”. Why would Jesus pray this ever (or even ask His disciples to pray this) since He told Phillip later on “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.” (John 14:9-11) 3 lines later, where the NKJV says “On earth as it is in heaven”, the Message uses a NEW AGE OCCULTIC phrase, “As above, so below”! How can you possibly say that this is a translation of God’s word if it implies New Age magic terminology to explain the Lord’s prayer? The blasphemy here is of such a level that would have me worrying for this author’s soul. The fact that the cadences of the wisdom literature are somewhat captured by this work offers no salvation to its already reprehensible alteration of many verses which are vital to understanding the basic tenets of Christianity. I would imagine that (because of these alterations), this work would do more harm than good (much like the blasphemous Hollywood renditions of “Exodus: Gods and Kings” and “Noah”) to any new Christian. For example, removing the husband’s role as head of the marriage (as seen in 1 Peter 3:1-7, too long to quote here) is an abominable distortion of the Scriptures. The marriage covenant as originally described is a picture of the church’s relationship with Christ (Ephesians 5:21-33, Colossians 3:18-19). Because of this, how can you read that and get that Christ is the head of the church? A husband is supposed to lead his wife in marriage just like Christ is the head of the church. Otherwise, if marriage is a picture of Christ’s relationship with the church and the husband is not the head of the marriage, Christ is not the head of the church.  All of these are not slight alterations, but major alterations to biblical truisms which have withstood the test of time. Satan appears as an angel of light, and in this “translation” we see his work at corrupting the word of God at its prime. May God help us all.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I have been enjoying reading the Message Bible, but agree that you MUST read it along with the KJV to compare. I was reading it by itself for awhile, but found an error in the book of Exodus.

I noticed it when I later read Deuteronomy 10 where it says: '1. GOD responded. He said, 'Shape two slabs of stone similar to the first ones. Climb the mountain and meet me. Also make yourself a wooden chest. 2. I WILL ENGRAVE the stone slabs with the words that were on the first ones, the ones you smashed. Then you will put them in the Chest.''

But earlier when I was reading in Exodus 34 it seems like the writer is saying that God had MOSES write the words on the stone this time when they were really written by the finger of God both times.

''Exodus 34 1. GOD spoke to Moses: 'Cut out two tablets of stone just like the originals and engrave on them the words that were on the original tablets you smashed.'

It seems to imply that God told Moses that Moses was to engrave the words onto the tablets instead of God. I compared it with KJV, NIV and New Century bibles and they all said that God said 'I will write' the words on again, not for Moses to write them.

This is the KJV: 'Genesis 34: 1. And the LORD said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest.'

Before I found this error (or ommission?) I had told some children at church that Moses had to write the words God wanted him to on the second tables, so now I will have to tell them I was wrong. This scared me, because I don`t want to mislead anyone about anything in God`s Word!

I will still read the Message, but I will be closely comparing as I go through the whole book this year. And when I finish I will go back to the beginning and compare Genesis etc with KJV, too.

I have seen many passages that are very different in the Message Bible compared to other bibles. For example: 'Deuteronomy 16 : 21. 'Don't plant fertility Asherah trees alongside the Altar of GOD, your God, that you build. 22. Don't set up phallic sex pillars--GOD, your God, hates them.'

KJV says: don`t plant ANY trees there and only says 'any image which the LORD thy God hateth'


I don`t know much about new age word usage, but be very careful. Never trust a paraphrase completely as you would the KJV, even a good preacher or bible teacher will warn you to even check out what they tell you with the Bible.

God bless you and pray for the Peace of Jerusalem!

If you haven`t asked Jesus Christ into your life and heart, do it today : )

Isaiah 55:6 'Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near'

Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a very good piece of work. I recommend this bible for everyone, even those that read other versions and are happy using them. My only critisism is that the poetic parts of the bible don't really work in this version, in my humble opinion. otherwise, you can't go wrong.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This version of the Bible is easy to read and understand but I have found that many parts of this book are incorrect translations.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was at Barnes & Noble a few days ago and spotted this Bible. Although I did not buy it at the time, I glanced through it and liked what I saw. I flipped over to a passage that was hard for me to comprehend, and after reading the passage in 'The Message Bible', I understand the selection clearly! I am planning to buy this product as soon as I possibly can!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Having just recently come back to Christianity, I tried reading an OLD family Bible that my Mother sent me. It just didn't help me. So, off to Barnes and Noble and a search in the Bible section, which brought me to The Message Bible. After buying it, I went to have my car fixed, and brought the book with me to the waiting room. While sitting in a GARAGE waiting room, I became enlightened!!! I started taking notes. Starting in the New Testament, with Matthew, I began reading, learning and, most importantly, understanding God's word! I recommend this Bible to any person who wants to perceive God's word as if it were written today. Beautiful, calming and enlightening.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Today was the first time I had ever heard anyone read from this Message Bible. When the man of God read from the Message Bible it made the meaning so much clearer to understand in today's language. Now I cannot wait to buy the Message Bible to help me understand God's word so I can live more closely to Him. I plan to go to the Barnes & Noble Book Store in the morning to purchase one. What a masterpiece of divine inspiration!
Guest More than 1 year ago
MY "MESSAGE' is simple. What a joy to use this sweet bible along with my New American Standard. I have always used every translation I can and now this one. Today I found James1:21b and just wept with the picture it painted. I believe Pastor Peterson is an artist with words. If there was a version to paint word pictures, this is it. GOD bless Pastor Peterson.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have just begun reading The Message and I find myself enjoying it immensely. Unlike most translations, it does not have chapter or verse address notation and reads very much like stories and letters, as in the original Biblical texts. The wording is fresh and I have frequently found my self saying "ah ha, that particular statement makes things a little clearer than what I've been reading all these years." I don't believe the author's intent was or reader's expectation of The Message should be to replace a reputable translation. However, used alongside a reputable translation, The Message can shed new light on what we've had access to in the past.