Eugene Peterson

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by CoJoJax, Dec 22, 2009.

  1. CoJoJax

    CoJoJax
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    Can you all give me a little insight or general opinion on Eugene Peterson .. the guy who put together 'The Message'?

    I've been reading this Bible a lot lately as a Reading Bible at home and I've REALLY enjoyed it.

    I just want to make sure this guy doesn't believe in any crazy stuff before I really, REALLY start using this Bible as a daily little Reading bible.

    I'm just curious after I posted asking questions about that 'Shepherds Chapel' show (I think that's what it's called) and then figuring out the host believed in all of these different crazy things - wouldn't have known if it wasn't for this board.

    Thanks a lot!

    CJ

    P.S. I use the KJV Study Bible (my personal favorite!) and NIV Life Application Study Bible otherwise -- just sayin'. Don't wanna make it seem like this is gonna be my new end-all be-all Bible or anything like that!
     
  2. SolaSaint

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    I don't know much about Peterson himself, but his Message bible isn't a translation but instead it's considered a paraphrased version of scripture. He really has just taken the bible and tried to make it sound like me and you talking on a street corner. Some of it is OK, but there are many verses that he has taken out of context and put in place some very wacky wording. I would not suggest this bible solely as a study bible. I have used it only in a side by side comparison (parallel).

    Rick Warren is a big Message bible proponent if that tells you anything.
     
  3. preachinjesus

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    Peterson is a good guy. I know a lot of people will drum up stuff and call him a lesser Christian or whatever, but he's a good guy.

    His paraphrase has some good parts. If it is edifying you than I highly encourage you to continue. Anytime you can read the Bible and grow you should be encouraged to continue. I know Peterson's paraphrase isn't regarded by some as good, but I don't mind it occassionally. Just remember it is a paraphrase and not translation.

    As a side note, he was pastor of a church where I attended preschool when I was 4 and 5 years old. I can still remember sitting in the sanctuary of the church and listening to him teach us tikes a Bible lesson. Weird I know, but sort of neat (well for me anyways.)
     
  4. Forever settled in heaven

    Forever settled in heaven
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    I like Peterson's The Message Bible for its refreshing, strangely defamiliarizing (not in the expected archaic language I've grown used to but more colloquial) tone of voice.

    However, I'm concerned with its leanings toward feminism in certain passages. These include 1 Peter 3:1, Ephesians 5:22, 1 Tim. 2:11-12.

    Notwithstanding this shortcoming and other forms of "meanness," it's the Word of God no less, and I've given it to friends who are native speakers of American English, who were grateful for its impact.
     
  5. Marcia

    Marcia
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    I definitely would not use The Message as a main Bible for Bible study; only for comparison with good translations. Many have valid concerns about The Message. Read these (You may have to cut and paste them into your URL, just clicking on them may not work but I was able to get all 3 just now by clicking and pasting):

    (This comes from a Word doc I have in my files)

    Links on The Message:

    [FONT=&quot]http://www.bible-researcher.com/themessage.html[/FONT] [FONT=&quot][/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]
    [/FONT][FONT=&quot][/FONT][FONT=&quot]
    [/FONT][FONT=&quot]http://jdlarsenmn.tripod.com/message_problems.htm[/FONT]
    Also see
    [FONT=&quot]http://www.merrylandsbaptist.org.au/index.php?option=com_myblog&show=The-Message-by-Eugene-Peterson-a-The-Bible-or-Heresy-.html&Itemid=0[/FONT]


    [FONT=&quot][/FONT]Additionally, Peterson has endorsed The Shack.

    [FONT=&quot][/FONT]
     
  6. Amy.G

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    Based on the examples Marcia gave, I don't see why any serious bible student would read the Message.
     
  7. Forever settled in heaven

    Forever settled in heaven
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    I don't know, but bible-researcher, et al., seem to put the dimmest possible view on The Message. While I would agree with some of their criticisms, none of which are fatal to its validity (cf. John 1:1; Titus 2:13; 2 Peter 1:1 in the New World Translation). So I would still emphasize the benefits of this particular translation, which fill a gap in terms of readability and reader response.

    We can deal with its shortcomings the way we deal with the King James or ESV's--reverently.

    But The Message is a great first Bible to consult before heading off to a more literal version. It gives you the flavor and direction of the argument, the drift if you will, before you delve into the micro. And for a preacher, it provides the actual language you'll be using in the sermon proclamation.

    I wouldn't endorse that book either, or any other thing that the ESV or KJB translators or their sponsors might've endorsed.
     
    #7 Forever settled in heaven, Dec 26, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 26, 2009
  8. SolaSaint

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    The only reason I can think of to read it, is to be able to warn those who are studying under it. I know Rick Warren uses it often to make scripture fit his purpose driven agenda.
     
  9. Dr. Bob

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    The Message is a paraphrase, not a translation from the Greek/Hebrew. Similar to the Living Bible and about as poor.

    It is sad to call such paraphrases "Bibles", since they are really man's interpretation of what God said instead of God's Words faithfully translated. Kind of like being assigned to read "Macbeth" and using the Cliff Notes instead. You miss a lot.

    BTW, Rick uses about 40 translations and paraphrases in his books and preaching. Christmas Eve he used John 3:16 from the KJV (with the "believeth" changed to the more normal "believes". Whole 40 minute Gospel message from KJV.

    Will report back tomorrow as to what his "new year's message" used for text and translations/paraphrases. Probably will be 40 again!!
     
  10. Robert Snow

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    why not take the Message for what it is, a paraphrase. It is not meant to be used as a study bible or as a substitute for the Bible itself.

    A few years ago I purchased and read the book, The Book of God by Walter Wangerin, Jr. I never considered it to be more that it was, a novel based on God's Word. I enjoyed it.

    I don't see nothing wrong with the Message if used as a bible aid, and not as a bible.
     
  11. Marcia

    Marcia
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    Every time I say it's a paraphrase, people correct me and tell me that no, it isn't, it's a translation. I've even seen both of those views here on the BB.

    The bottom line for me is, after comparing several passages in The Message to the same passages in other versions such as the NASB, NKJV, NIV, NLT, and others, I found that often words or thoughts were added or worse, completely changed! Sometimes there are statements in The Message I do not see at all in other versions, nor even implied there.

    So I would never recommend The Message except for a mature Christian already familiar with the Bible who is using it for comparison purposes or as an aid (though I am not sure how helpful it would be).
     
  12. SolaSaint

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    You're right on this Marcia, it is a paraphrase, and there are complete verses that are in no way intact as the original autograph intended. Of course most any Bible isn't, but the Message takes this a step further and truly distorts the context of many passages. As you said I would never suggest a new Christian to read this.
     
  13. greek geek

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    Compare 1 Cor. 2.13 in the Message with the NAS, KJV, or other such translation.
    Peterson remove the Holy Spirit from the verse and replaces it with Jesus. The Holy Spirit is a distinct person of the Trinity, just as Christ is. The way in which he handles the trinity is enough to make me not use the Message.

    That being said - I don't hate Peterson or think he's a horrible person. I think he's a person who had good intentions - but allowed his purpose (making it more "readable") to override what the Bible actually says in some places. Good intentions does not mean it is a good thing. This is why bible translations use big committees - with lots of people checking the translation compared to the Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic. Peterson did have an "editorial" board - but I'm not sure what their function was considering what some of the paraphrase does to the original text.

    There are portions of the paraphrase that are good paraphrases - that do not change the meaning of the scripture. But there are numerous places that do.
    Thus I would highly recommend that if you do choose to use the Message - *always* use it with an actual translation open right beside it so you can compare.
     
  14. Marcia

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    Here is 1 Cor. 2:10-13 in The Message:

    I don't like the statement about the Spirit "not content to flit around on the surface."

    "Flit around?"
     
  15. CF1

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    The Bible teaches us to not add or take away from God's Word.

    Deuteronomy 4:2 (New American Standard Bible)
    2 "You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

    Hebrews 4:12 (New American Standard Bible)
    12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

    Revelation 22:18-21 (New American Standard Bible)
    18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book;
    19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.
    20 He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming quickly " Amen Come, Lord Jesus.
    21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

    Consider how the Levites made copies of the OT Bible:
    They developed elaborate and meticulous rules for transcribing. They decreed that when a person was making a new text, he had to copy the original page with such exactness that the number of words on a page could not be changed. If the original page had 288 words, then the page being copied had to have the same 288 words. Each line on a new page had to be the exact same as the line on the old page. If the first line on the original page had nine words, the first line on the copy page had to have nine words. After a page was copied, the number of letters on that page was counted and compared with the original. After a page was copied, each letter was counted and compared with the original. After a page was copied, someone would check to see what the middle letter was on the copy and the original.
    Source of above quote-Hope of Israel Baptist Mission

    As other posts in this forum indicate, there are people who believe the King James Version is the most literal because it more often follows something called the majority text rule of tranlsation, compared to modern translations. New American Standard (NAS/NASB) is often considered a modern and very literal translation, as well as the English Standard Version (ESV). I use the NASB usually for this reason. I desire something modern and literal. It can be beneficial if you speak non-English languages to compare translations to discover the richness found sometimes in different languages. For example in German, the Elberfelder version is consided a very literal translation. Sometimes different languages draw out thoughts in a deeper way. In the same way, comparing versions, can have benefit in English as well. Some languages have certain vocabulary and words that are more precise or go deeper than other languages, which can be beneficial as long as it does not distort by adding to or taking away from the Holy Bible.

    We should desire that the Holy Spirit guides us to truth in the Bible that changes our hearts and daily conduct and helps us to love others more and to be more like Christ. Commentaries or paraphrases should not be the regarded as highly as the actual Word of God.

    1 Thessalonians 5:19-21 (New American Standard Bible)
    19 Do not quench the Spirit;
    20 do not despise prophetic utterances.
    21 But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good;

    Since the Word of God is a living and active document, with supernatural power to change hearts, it seems most likely that we should primarily desire to most often use an accurate and literal, translation of the living Word of God, in whichever language we are reading, speaking, or meditating.

    Matthew 24:35 (New American Standard Bible)
    35 "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.
     
    #15 CF1, Dec 30, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 30, 2009
  16. Deacon

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    From The Message Preface
     
  17. Marcia

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    Deacon, I don't think that the reasons Peterson gives are good ones.

    We shouldn't change the Bible to get people to read it.
     
  18. Deacon

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    Marcia, those are the very reasons we translate the scriptures from the original languages, to make them more assessable to the people that need to use them.

    I don't disagree with many of the comments here but the version does fit its stated purpose.
    Since its introduction a while back other translations have been developed that fill the spot better.

    It wasn't that long ago I said similar things about the New Living Translation
    Yet now I find that it is the first version I give to anyone unfamiliar with reading the bible.

    As Peterson says, The version is a starting place for further study.

    Rob
     
  19. CF1

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    It seems most would have to agree that the book The Message is not really a true accurate translation of a Bible. It's more like story telling, kind of like in the way Max Lucado makes a story about the Bible that might have happened but is not in scripture.

    I think there is great value in making a very clear distinction between a translation of the Bible and a story about the Bible.

    Confusion can arise and people can start mis-interpreting what they take to be a true representation of God's Holy Word.

    I'm sure there are people who would disagree, but I believe it would be mis-representing the facts to say The Message is a serious attempt at a true and accurate translation.

    When I read a story of The Three Trees at Christmas to my kids by Max Lucado, I'm careful to point out that this is just a story and it's not the same as the Bible.

    The Bible is Holy. Max Lucado's stories are not Holy by themself.

    I don't mean to show any disrespect for your right to hold your own belief about these matters. I just ask you to understand I am holding a different belief, based on trying to use the Bible itself to interpret other parts of the Bible, and, in the same way, to interpret how to view stories about the Bible.

    If The Message leads people closer to Christ, then whatever means can be used to preach to them can be beneficial. Just so they eventually realize the distinction of the true Holy Bible. People need to see the true Bible as Holy.

    Philippians 1:18 (New American Standard Bible)
    18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice,
     
  20. Marcia

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    I was hoping you wouldn't say that - it's sort of patronizing. Like "duh." There is a difference between translating and changing the meaning of a text.

    Please note what I said:
    We shouldn't change the Bible to get people to read it.


    But it's a translation. And as far as the passages that I've read in the NLT, they do not change the meaning the way I've seen in The Message.
     

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