The Message as read from The Message

| Zack Newsome | | Leave a Comment

I recently purchased a very-cool leatherbound version of Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase translation of the Bible for both Kelli and I. Now this is my first purchase of a message translation and I will admit I was for many years a Message critic. “It’s not as accurate to the original texts as the NASB.” or “I won’t trade readability for accuracy!” are both statements that have come from my mouth on this subject.

But I am a changed man. Much to the chagrin of some of my more “theologically” cautious friends, I have adopted a new mentality towards the fleshing out of my faith.I will be open to practices, methods, traditions, and yes, even doctrines that I haven’t in the past identified with. By being “open” I don’t necessarily mean embrace, but I mean experience and consider.

This includes, charismatic practices/theology, more holistic/eastern expressions of Christianity (including Celtic faith practices), and even translations of the Bible that are outside of my CPC (Christian Politically Correct) bubble.

If you struggle with my decisions, let me share my thinking with you. It’s can be said with a simple statement:

“I don’t want to miss the complete expression of God in the universe because of my stubborn, pre-conceived, and biased opinions of how he should work and interact with me as his creation.”

My filter continues to be (and always will be) the Scriptures as I encounter new practices and beliefs, but I will be open to the fact that God is bigger than my systematic theology.

As for “The Message:Remix”, I read it often. #1)It reads more like the meta-narrative God’s story truly is and I am beginning to value that. As a culture, we have entered into a new era of language and tradition that staples like the NASB and NIV fail to effectively communicate in. and most importantly I would argue, #3) It uses language that revives the beauty of the narrative. It is inspiring language that begs you to read more and the mystery and beauty of God and his creation are revealed.

Check it out.

And for those of you still not convinced that it holds enough biblical accuracy to be valued: I recently met an irishman who is one the front lines pursuing peace in Ireland and is very much a follower of Jesus. He and I were talking of the beauty of the Message translation and and it’s critics. He told me that he was once at a conference where Eugene Peterson was speaking and someone in the crowd questioned him saying, “If you stand by your Message translation strongly, then tell us Dr. Peterson, what translation do you use in your regular devotion?” My new friend told me that Dr. Peterson hesitated as if almost embarrassed for the man, and calmy said, “Well I don’t use the Message if that’s what you’re getting at. I use the original greek and hebrews texts in my time alone with God.”

Crazy stuff and worth our consideration at least as the translation we read (rather than to study).


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