The New Age of Christianity
& NavPress Promotions
"Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I
hate every false way. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet,
and a light unto my path."
In April 2006,
the Christian Booksellers Association (CBA) listed the ranking
of Versions/Translations by actual sales in Christian retail
stores in the United States during February 2006. Eugene
Peterson's The Message ranked number seven. The NIV was
first, followed by NKJV, KJV, New Living Translation, Holman
Christian Standard Bible and Reina Valera 1960, which is a
NavPress is the publishing
arm of The Navigators. On their website list of their
various ventures, the promo for NavPress is: "This
ministry of The Navigators publishes books, Bible studies,
periodicals and The Message Bible to enrich the spiritual walks
of some four million people annually."1b
According to NavPress,
publisher of Eugene Peterson's
Message The Bible in Contemporary Language, there have been
over 10,000,000 readers of The Message. Although it is a
paraphrase based on Eugene Peterson's opinions and beliefs, and
not a word for word or thought for thought translation, many today are using it as
their main source of study or as a secondary source of what they
would call God's Word.
Pastors are preaching from
The Message, and people of all
walks of life and beliefs are reading it as a source of
inspiration. Many firmly believe it is the Bible in
modern American language, regarding it with the same
authority as their other various translations. Others believe it tears down
barriers and allows this book to be understood by
Believers in Jesus Christ as well as those who do not
believe that, for example, the language of the King
James Bible is archaic and people cannot understand it,
and Eugene Peterson's words clarify and make it all easy to
understand. However, it is also viewed as an easier
version to understand than the NIV, NASB and so on,
making those versions, also promoted with the idea of
modern language and easier to understand, suddenly
The NIV for example, although using different
manuscripts for their sources than the KJB, from their
site stated the purpose of the NIV to be, "...The NIV
was created and is maintained with the mandate to
accurately and faithfully translate the original Greek,
Hebrew and Aramaic biblical texts into clearly
understandable English. The NIV is the most widely
accepted contemporary Bible translation today..."
The NASB makes a similar
claim concerning it being translated in understandable English.
The idea that Peterson's
"American street language" is better
understood, and for many, more accurate than the
'archaic English' of the King James Bible or even the
'clearly understandable English' used in NIV and other versions, needs to be
addressed. Things not understood in the Scriptures has nothing to do
with language used, according to the Word of God.
3:15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own
'archaic English' used in the KJB, is the same English
used in Shakespeare's writings, that is, Early Modern
English or Elizabethan English. Shakespeare, who lived
about 1564-1616, wrote his many plays and stories in the
same time period as when the 1611 King James Bible was
published. In fact, Beowulf, is 'Old
English' (500-1100 AD) while Chaucer's Canterbury
Tales, studied by many, was in 'Middle English'
(1100-1500) and both are studied in schools. The
Shakespearean and similar writings are
also studied in schools and understood.
Shakespeare's archaic English stories are used in
movies, theater and drama and actors ply for the 'honor'
of being in a production of a Shakespeare tale. And
remarkably, all seem able to understand the vernacular.
Oddly the many thousands of individuals, including young
people, that choose to read and study the KJB also
seem able to comprehend it, as do those who choose to
read the contemporary English of the NIV, regardless how
one views those versions.
of the most commonly used words in modern
English roots, which
was spoken from about 500-1100 AD. Early Modern English,
which included the 1611 King James Bible, was spoken from
about 1500-1800 AD. According to one website discussing
the History of the English Language, "American
English is closer to the
English of Shakespeare than modern British
English is. Some
"Americanisms" that the British decry are actually
originally British expressions that were preserved in the
colonies while lost at home."
of fact, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy not only
English, but several invented languages as well as words
tied to Finnish and other languages, and yet, we see it
not only craved by readers but now movies are made for the
anything but 'modern English' connoisseur.
that Believers and non-Believers in Christ will flock to read a
fable or book of fiction using
the same 'archaic' KJB language or even contemporary English, while their Bible has to be in common
or 'easy' language in order to be understood, is a false
not the 'archaic' English that is the problem. It
is the desire for Truth and the obedience to God's Word
that is a problem. We
are told that the things of God are foolishness to those
who do not know Him.
Corinthians 2:14 "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
Corinthians 4:2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.
3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
stated in one promotion of Eugene Peterson from 2001, "Biblical scholars recognize his
intimate knowledge and understanding of Greek and Hebrew languages. These scholars have observed
an authenticity and freshness of insight in The Message that comes only when a translator is not
biased by the influence of English translations."
article by an Associated Press writer, it was noted that
other scholars do not view Peterson's paraphrase as an
actual Bible, nor his paraphrasing to be solid.
"....Vern Poythress, a New Testament professor
at Westminister Theological Seminary in Glenside, Pa.,
says he and fellow conservatives may quibble with many
of Peterson's renderings but have leveled few attacks
because "The Message" isn't a Bible and
isn't presented as such.
He sees it as useful for evangelism among people
who know nothing about the Bible, so long as they
realize it's merely one writer's interpretation of the
He says Peterson's work "is at the far end of
the spectrum, not only in paraphrasing but cultural
Peterson translated the Bible directly from the
Greek and Hebrew and avoided earlier English
the idea that The Message is not presented as a Bible, is not entirely true. The title itself states, The
Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language.
Some have remarked that it says that it is a paraphrase
on the cover. But that also is not entirely true.
It depends which
version of it that one is looking at. For example, the front
cover of the 1993 edition published by NavPress, and found at our local library states:
The New Testament in Contemporary English, Eugene
H. Peterson The Message. On the back of the book it is
stated in its entirety:
"It is commonly assumed
that a book dealing with a holy God should sound elevated,
stately, and ceremonial. If this is how you've always viewed
the New Testament, you're about to making a surprising
One of the most striking
features of the New Testament is that it was written in the
street language of the day. The idiom of the playground and
marketplace--not the formal, lofty language of government
decrees and historical documents.
Written in the rhythms
and idiom of contemporary language--the way you'd talk with
friends, write a letter, or discuss politics--The Message
brings about the expressive, earthy flavor of New Testament
Greek. Which means, whether you've been reading the Bible for
years or are exploring it for the first time, The Message
will startle you and surprise you. And it will allow you to
experience firsthand the same power and directness that
motivated its original readers to change the course of history
many centuries ago."
That is followed by
endorsements from various individuals who refer to it as a Bible
version, New Testament and so on, with no mention from any of
the scholars cited there, or in the flaps, that it is a
paraphrase. Nor is that word used on the title page. However in
the Introduction on page 7, Peterson stated, " acting as a
translator, providing the right phrases, getting the right
The Message is
sold in the Bible section of NavPress, as well as
in the Bible sections of many bookstores, Christian or
otherwise. NavPress states in their BibleProducts
section of their website:
publish one of the best selling contemporary versions of
the Bible—The Message® by Eugene Peterson."
In an email to NavPress, Tuesday, December 16, 2003, concerning
manuscript sources used for The Message, the reply
to the family of manuscripts that Mr. Peterson used in his
work, I checked with his editor and he said "Eugene
Peterson uses the latest Greek Testament from the United
Bible Society, which purports to be the 'earliest and
noteworthy that Eugene Peterson utilized the same
manuscripts as those used for most versions today,
including the NIV which is published by the
International Bible Society, although the NIV states the Greek texts
used for it "was an eclectic one." and "The best current
printed texts of the Greek New Testaments were used."
Message Bible Translation
Eugene Peterson and NavPress both have called The Message a "Bible translation", which
it is not. It is a paraphrase, which is also stated,
interview, Eugene Peterson stated that The Message
writing, it's translating. When you write you may work
for an hour or two on a sentence and suddenly it's
there. you feel that nobody's ever quite done it like
that before and they're never going to do it again.
There is a sense of "A-hah! I did that." But I
never get that with The Message . I'm always
second rate to Paul, second rate to Mark, and John. I
remember telling Jan once just after I had finished The
Message , "I'm so tired of coming in
second." I didn't want to do it anymore..."
The biography at
The HighCalling.org, where Eugene Peterson's daily devotionals can be
obtained and where he is a member author, states:
The Reverend Dr. Eugene H. Peterson
writes full time from his home in Montana. A pastor for most
of his life, he is professor emeritus of spiritual theology,
Regent College (Canada) and Translator of The Message.
History and Faq's about The Message, NavPress relates:
"In 1992, after 29 years of service at Christ
our King Presbyterian Church in Bel Air, Maryland.
Eugene Peterson began his paraphrase of The Message.
Today more than 10,000,000 people are readers of this
inspiring version of the Bible."
"....5. Is The Message a translation or a
When Eugene began his work on The Message, he looked
at how scholars had translated Homer from Greek to
English. Some had tried to match word for word; others
attempted to recreate the poetry of Homer in English.
The Message leans toward the latter.
Since Eugene Peterson worked with the text strictly from
Greek and Hebrew to English, he did what a translator
does by choosing contemporary English words that best
express the meaning of the original language. As all
translators do, he used interpretative skill in choosing
those English words. ... he "paraphrased"
the original by selecting language that communicates the
style and flavor of the original in Bible times rather
than trying to achieve word-for-word correspondence. The
Message, then, is a paraphrase from the original
languages. Translation is generally thought of as
bringing the meaning from one language to another,
whereas a paraphrase is usually a rewording of a
document within the same language. Yet in one sense all
translation involves paraphrasing. There is no clearly
distinct line that can be drawn between the two.
Sometimes, it takes five English words to bring across
the meaning of a single Greek word; other times only one
English word is required to communicate five Greek
So is it a translation or a paraphrase?
probably most accurately called a "translation of
tone" or a "paraphrase from the original
languages." It is a bridging of the gap between
the original languages and English, and between
centuries of time and language change, to bring to us
the New Testament as it originally sounded.
....it is designed as a reading Bible...."
11 [bolding added]
NavPress stated purpose for publishing The Message then was,
"to bring to us
the New Testament as it originally sounded."
Which is an odd statement when the promotions state it
is in 'contemporary language' or 'American street
language'. If being fully candid, one would have to
admit that many words and phrases that are part of
'American street language' are vulgar and unprintable.
NavPress website promoting this "Bible", we
see such phrasing as, "The Message—Eugene
Peterson's easy-to-read, contemporary Scripture
translation", "The Message paraphrase
of the Bible...", "The Message is a
contemporary paraphrase of the Bible from the original
NavPress website promotion in 2004, we also see the
much used reference of "Bible", including
promotion of the New Testament and the whole "complete"
Bible. Please note that the
links no longer work and have been removed, as the NavPress website was
You are Here:
Message Bible (Genuine Leather—black
is a refreshingly unique Bible-reading experience.
With no formal language and no verse numbers, this
Bible reads like a letter from an old friend...
: The Message Bible
(the complete Old and New Testaments
in one volume)...
The Message Bible
Published by NavPress"
phrase, " The Message Bible (the complete Old and New Testaments
in one volume") implies that all verses and doctrine
will be found within The Message Bible that are
found within other versions.
NavPress promotion for 2005 includes, "The Message®,
...The Bible in Contemporary Language",
for The Message® has boosted its
popularity as the most reader-friendly Bible available
November 2005, "...The Message® is a refreshingly unique
Bible-reading experience. With no formal language and no
verse numbers, this Bible reads like a letter from an old
Message: Numbered Edition [Black Genuine Leather]
The Bible in Contemporary Language >
of Hope for you
Drawn from The Message®—Eugene Peterson's easy-to-read,
contemporary Scripture translation—The Message® of
the 2005 promotion of The Message with a union to the
music industry with the release of The Message: Psalms,
which coincides with the re-release of the The Message
Bible, with the specific targeting of young people and
Word Distribution is a division of Word Entertainment, a
Warner/Curb company which represents "some of Christian
music's top performers":
"NavPress and BHT are
partnering on this companion music product which will
accompany The Message Bible re-release in October. THE
MESSAGE, a modern paraphrase of the Bible, ... Utilizing The Message's
established brand awareness, NavPress has committed
extensive marketing resources for the re-issue, with
half of it co-merketing this music companion product.
The project targets an
18-34 audience represented by ... Relevant
Magazine, the Passion events community and the rapidly
growing 'Emergent Church' network of congregations that
...meets the needs of today's student and
songs using lyrics from the Psalms and text taken
directly from The Message, this fresh and eclectic
project will provide a unique way for listeners to
experience the words of the Bible in a modern,
relevant setting. ...
-Official co-branded product in association
with THE MESSAGE, ...
-New songs written specifically for this project using
lyrics from the Psalms taken directly from the Message....
-THE MESSAGE has found a vast and wide
audience that includes lay people, pastors, authors,
theologians, rock stars and heads of state.
-Target audience 18-34 age group -
Relevant Magazine, Emergent Church, Passion Conference
-Online marketing targeted to Relevant/Emergent/Passion
audience through emails, web banners, music clips, etc.
-On-campus marketing via Navigators campus chapters as
well as partner para-church groups such as Campus
Crusade, Young Life, Inter Varsity, etc.
-Direct marketing campaign to NavPress database of
-1x2 Flats ...One side is for ... the CD
directing people to the Message Bible, and the other
side is for ...the Message Bible
directing people to the cd in the music section."
sources have also promoted The Message as a Bible:
"...Released in July,
NavPress sold 320,000 copies in advance and ordered an initial
print run of 500,000, the largest it has ever had for a Bible,
NavPress spokeswoman Kathleen Campbell said.
Testament, published in 1993, sold 2.5 million copies, and his
other "Message products" - more than 20 in all - have sold 4.5
than 10,000,000 people are readers of this inspiring version
of the Bible..."
"In order to
understand the Message right, the language must be a rough and
earthy one that reveals God's presence and action where we
least expect it."
is in a contemporary idiom that is current, fresh, and
understandable in the same language that we use in all our
With all the
NavPress documentation, we can conclude
that The Message is viewed
by it's many readers and by NavPress as a Bible and as an accurate
Bible, simply by their own promotions. That does
not mean all academics or reviewers endorse The Message
as accurate and faithful to the original manuscripts. It does
mean that endorsements are meant to authenticate
The Message as being accurate.
The Needed Questions
Scripture is it that requires the Word of God and the
Message of the Truth of Jesus Christ to be understood only
if, "the language must be a rough and earthy one that
reveals God's presence and action where we least expect
Is it not true
that to understand the Word of God one must have the indwelling
of the Holy Spirit or be seeking God with the whole heart and He
will open the individual's understanding?
Is it not true that
the Scriptures state,
2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but
the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that
are freely given to us of God.
13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's
wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing
spiritual things with spiritual.
4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them
which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of
Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. 5 For
we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and
ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.6 For God, who
commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in
our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of
God in the face of Jesus Christ.
1 John 2:26
These things have I written unto you concerning them that
27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in
you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same
anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no
lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.
Romans 10:17 So
then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
The Message Doctrine
& Foundations of the Faith
Peterson's Opinion of The Bible ;
Message and Dr. Eugene Peterson
Peterson & His Ecumenical Connections ;
& NavPress Promotions
The Message Doctrine
& Foundations of the Faith
The Message Doctrine & Gnostic or
New Age Terms and Concepts
The Message Doctrine & Gnostic or
New Age Terms and Concepts Cont.
Message, Who Endorses and Promotes Eugene
Peterson's Opinion of the Bible
3. http://www.wordorigins.org/histeng.htm A (Very) Brief History of the English Language; http://www.who2.com/williamshakespeare.html
4. NavPress 2001 http://www.navpress.com/message.asp#1
http://www.decaturdaily.com/decaturdaily/religion/020803/paraphrase.shtml. THE DECATUR DAILY;
paraphrases Bible in everyday language By Tom Laceky
Associated Press Writer
Tuesday, December 16, 2003
Mars Hill Review , A Conversation with
Eugene Peterson, By Michael J. Cusick; Copyright © 1995
Mars Hill Review 3 Fall 1995 · Issue No. 3: pgs 73-90.
link November 2005 >
You are Here:
Message Bible (Genuine Leather—black
: The Message Bible
H. Peterson >http://www.navpress.com/AuthorInformation.asp?mscsid=LG9TG6P7D2M58LEUKFWPLATG3B9X0R89&id=38
Message Bible >http://www.navpress.com/Store/Product.asp?SKU=1576832899&mscsid=LG9TG6P7D2M58LEUKFWPLATG3B9X0R89
13. November 15, 2005
Aug. 9, 2002,
Contemporary translation, 'The Message,' finds huge
audience; By TOM LACEKY
Explorer - The Message Bible Library
All Scriptures from the KJB
Copyright . All articles are the sole property of SeekGod.ca and Vicky Dillen. All Scripture King James Version unless otherwise stated.
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