The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language was created by Eugene H. Peterson and published in segments from 1993 to 2002. It is a paraphrase of the original languages of the Bible. Peterson states that reason the The Message Bible was written was:
While I was teaching a class on Galatians, I began to realize that the adults in my class weren't feeling the vitality and directness that I sensed as I read and studied the New Testament in its original Greek. Writing straight from the original text, I began to attempt to bring into English the rhythms and idioms of the original language. I knew that the early readers of the New Testament were captured and engaged by these writings and I wanted my congregation to be impacted in the same way. I hoped to bring the New Testament to life for two different types of people: those who hadn't read the Bible because it seemed too distant and irrelevant and those who had read the Bible so much that it had become 'old hat.'
According to the Introduction to the New Testament of the The Message Bible, it was written in a “contemporary idiom keeps the language of the Message (Bible) current and fresh and understandable”. Peterson notes that in the course of the project, he realized that this was exactly what he had been doing in his thirty-five years as a pastor, “always looking for an English way to make the biblical text relevant to the conditions of the people.”
The Message Bible was published in piecemeal over a nine year period. The New Testament was published in 1993. The Old Testament Wisdom Books were published in 1998. The Old Testament Prophets were published in 2000. The Old Testament Pentateuch were released in 2001. The Books of History came out in 2002. The entire Bible was released the same year and follows the traditional Protestant layout.
1. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.New International Version
2. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
1. The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.The Message Bible
2. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,
3. He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
1. God, my shepherd! I don't need a thing.
2. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from.
3. True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction.
4. Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I'm not afraid when you walk at my side. Your trusty shepherd's crook makes me feel secure.
1. And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:New International Version
2. And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
3. Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
5. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
6. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
7. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
8. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
1. Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him,The Message Bible
2. and he began to teach them saying:
3. "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
8. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
1-2. When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said:
3. "You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.
4. "You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.
5. "You're blessed when you're content with just who you are—no more, no less. That's the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can't be bought.
6. "You're blessed when you've worked up a good appetite for God. He's food and drink in the best meal you'll ever eat.
7. "You're blessed when you care. At the moment of being 'care-full,' you find yourselves cared for.
8. "You're blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.
5. Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.New International Version
6. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
5. Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.The Message Bible
6. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.
5-6. Jesus said, "You're not listening. Let me say it again. Unless a person submits to this original creation—the 'wind-hovering-over-the-water' creation, the invisible moving the visible, a baptism into a new life—it's not possible to enter God's kingdom. When you look at a baby, it's just that: a body you can look at and touch. But the person who takes shape within is formed by something you can't see and touch—the Spirit—and becomes a living spirit.
4. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.New International Version
5. For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.
6. But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:)
7. Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)
8. But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9. That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
4. Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.The Message Bible
5. Moses describes in this way the righteousness that is by the law: "The man who does these things will live by them."
6. But the righteousness that is by faith says: "Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?'" (that is, to bring Christ down)
7. "or 'Who will descend into the deep?'" (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).
8. But what does it say? "The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart," that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming:
9. That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
10. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
4-10 The earlier revelation was intended simply to get us ready for the Messiah, who then puts everything right for those who trust him to do it. Moses wrote that anyone who insists on using the law code to live right before God soon discovers it's not so easy—every detail of life regulated by fine print! But trusting God to shape the right living in us is a different story— no precarious climb up to heaven to recruit the Messiah, no dangerous descent into hell to rescue the Messiah. So what exactly was Moses saying? 'The word that saves is right here, as near as the tongue in your mouth, as close as the heart in your chest.' It's the word of faith that welcomes God to go to work and set things right for us. This is the core of our preaching. Say the welcoming word to God—"Jesus is my Master"—embracing, body and soul, God's work of doing in us what he did in raising Jesus from the dead. That's it. You're not "doing" anything; you're simply calling out to God, trusting him to do it for you. That's salvation. With your whole being you embrace God setting things right, and then you say it, right out loud: "God has set everything right between him and me!"
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