The MESS-AGE Bible – God’s inspired word to us or simply a “MESS” that reflects the AGE we live in?

Ever since The Message Bible was published back in 2002, I have felt a great unease about man’s need to find an alternative version to God’s own message so that other men find it easier to digest and process.  It is one thing to translate the original manuscripts into all the different languages, but to come up with a new text, new terminology which is fitting with the times we live in, that is just preposterous, bordering heretical and an offence to the Lord Jesus who has blessed us with the presence of the Holy Spirit precisely so that as we meditate, read and pray over the word of God in as close to the original a form as possible,  we seek the Holy Spirit’s touch, His voice and His guidance; we ponder over what it is that God is communicating to us through a particular passage or book.

What is this obsession with having to ensure that we use every method and way possible to make reading the bible as easy and worldly an experience as possible? Why do we insist on feeding ourselves with milk, when we know we are ready for something more substantial, something much more exciting and mysterious than a man’s interpretation of what he feels God is trying to say in His word?  I can understand to a point that there is a need for children to have access to more simplified versions of Bible stories and teachings, but to see, hear and read about pastors, elders, and mature Christians all around us using The Message Bible as their primary source of developing a personal relationship with God and as a primary source to teach those who yet do not know Him at all, makes me tremble, quite frankly.

In the past I have only been exposed to other people reading extracts of this version.  I have never owned a print of this version and I never will.  The little I have ever heard was enough, and I never took the trouble to look into this further.  I felt it was everyone’s personal choice what they put on their hands as the primary source of knowledge of their God.  But in these past few weeks, I have strongly felt called and burdened  to look into this in further detail, and so today I did some research on the net and read various reviews done by other Christians on this subject and on the book itself.

Here are two links to get you started:

http://www.morethancake.org/2007/09/the-message-is-not-a-bible-translation-part-1.html and http://www.av1611.org/kjv/mess_bible.html

If you happen to read, learn or teach from The Message regularly, I would be interested in hearing your thoughts and specially why it is you think that you enjoy reading that book better than the Bible itself.  Thank you!

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6 thoughts on “The MESS-AGE Bible – God’s inspired word to us or simply a “MESS” that reflects the AGE we live in?

  1. Thank you for your thoughts here. My $.02:

    Having studied both Hebrew and Greek, I am still unable to consistently read and understand the original texts. Therefore I am thankful for translations in my native tongue (KJV included). My favorite and, I believe, most accurate is the ESV (which is an essentially literal translation).

    Now The Message is a different story. It really is not a translation but a paraphrase and seeks to use idiomatic “street language” that does great injustice to the original texts. Eugene Peterson took very dangerous liberties and, in many cases, completely undermined the message of the Biblical languages in the name of “modernization”. Therefore, I would not recommend it for reading or study as is has moved us so far away from God’s Word in its original form (the Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic) that it frighteningly reminds me of Galatians 1:6-10 (ESV): ” I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel– not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ”.

    Finally, the great interpreter of Scripture is the Holy Spirit. In all that we read, hear, and watch may we constantly ask Him to communicate God’s message and discern between truth and falsehood.

    In Him,

    Linden

  2. Wow Linden! You have studied Hebrew and Greek. Did you do ancient languages at university or something like that? I only did one year of Greek at school and three years of Latin, but it was primarily grammatical knowledge of both languages.

    I really appreciate your feedback. Forgive me, but what is the ESV Bible? If it is your favourite, I would like to check it out.

    I hope all is well with you.

    Thank you for leaving a comment.

    Blessings,

    • Trust me, despite 2 years of Greek and 1 year of Hebrew in grad school, I am no scholar – ha! The ESV is the English Standard Version and is more literal than almost any other translation that I know. Check it out and tell me what you think. You can always go to crosswalk.com and go to Bible study tools. There you can compare around 20 translations.

      Blessings to you, my friend. You remain in my prayers.

      • I will chekc it out as you suggested.

        thank you for your ongoing prayers which I can assure you are being answered. Off to Spain to day to see my mum. I am so excited and so grateful for the opportunity.

        God bless you and keep you

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