The Message distorts John 3:16-17

I just found this very important article from Suspicious Berean. I’ve been wanting to put up some info on The Message but haven’t gotten around to it yet. But here’s a good starting place. It is not a “simplified” version of the word of God! It is written heresy by a man -Eugene Peterson -who is NOT a Christian. The proof of that is in the message of The Message itself.

The Message distorts John 3:16-17

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. John 3:16-17, KJV

This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. John 3:16-17, The Message

Some Bereans, such as Dave Hunt and T.A. McMahon at The Berean Call, have commented about how Eugene Peterson in The Message alters the meaning of John 3:17. “That the world through him might be saved” is changed to “put the world right again,” which makes Jesus Christ sound more a social reformer than a saviour.

However, it’s also worth taking a look at what Mr. Peterson does to John 3:16. This is perhaps the most beloved verse in the Bible, and one that directly led me to put my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as my saviour. The word rendered as “everlasting” in the King James Version and “eternal” in most modern versions is the Greek word aionios. According to An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words by W.E. Vine (1940), “…it is used of persons and things which are in their nature endless…” Which is to say, “everlasting” or “eternal” are correct renderings of the word. However, The Message changes “everlasting life” to “a whole and lasting life.” “Whole and lasting” sounds a lot less impressive to me than “everlasting” or “eternal.” It sounds as though Mr. Peterson is more interested in promoting a better life on Earth than in preparing people for eternity.

The reader will also note the absence of the word “begotten” from verse 16. I haven’t time to reprint it here, but Mr. Vine’s dictionary has a lengthy explanation of the phrase “only begotten,” which is the Greek word monogenes. The phrase is unique to the writings of John, and is found five times (John 1:14; 1:18; 3:16; 3:18; and I John 4:9), always in reference to Christ as the Son of God. I’ve already posted on The Message’s refusal to use the phrases “Lord Jesus” and “Lord Jesus Christ,” and I don’t understand how such a perverse paraphrase can be seriously regarded as a “Bible.”

52 thoughts on “The Message distorts John 3:16-17

  1. I’m glad to read this–I’ve been somewhat disturbed by some things I’ve heard about The Message, but haven’t taken the time to do any research for myself. I will have to take a look at the Suspicious Bereans site–thanks for the link!


  2. Sister, there is more if you compare John 5:6-9. The message totally denies the trinity, even leaves out the 7th verse. This verse alone can tell a false version from the true. so much can be siad about it, but i just can’t deal with it right now. But, yes, the Message is a lying deceiving version of the truth:

    1 John 5:7-9 (The Message)
    6-8Jesus—the Divine Christ! He experienced a life-giving birth and a death-killing death. Not only birth from the womb, but baptismal birth of his ministry and sacrificial death. And all the while the Spirit is confirming the truth, the reality of God’s presence at Jesus’ baptism and crucifixion, bringing those occasions alive for us. A triple testimony: the Spirit, the Baptism, the Crucifixion. And the three in perfect agreement.
    9-10If we take human testimony at face value, how much more should we be reassured when God gives testimony as he does here, testifying concerning his Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God inwardly confirms God’s testimony. Whoever refuses to believe in effect calls God a liar, refusing to believe God’s own testimony regarding his Son.


    • 1 John 5:6-10 (New King James Version)

      The Certainty of God’s Witness

      6 This is He who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth. 7 For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. 8 And there are three that bear witness on earth:[a] the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one.
      9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater; for this is the witness of God which[b] He has testified of His Son. 10 He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son.


      • It seems very many of the newer translations leave out most of verse 7 with a footnote regarding it not being in older maunuscripts or something along those lines. That is stating this as I remember it, so please check into it with other translations to be sure I have it right. I am just wanting to point out here that “The Message” isn’t the only one by far that makes this change. But I have seen so many others changes that are so drastic that there is no way I would have it or read it. (I don’t own a copy myself but it is available online and I have seen many side by side comparisons by folks that are concerned about this “Bible”.


        • You are correct, adding words for a verse 8 which is written as the end of v 7. (I checked NASB, NIV and NKJV (copied below))

          1 John 5:8 NU-Text and M-Text omit the words from in heaven (verse 7) through on earth (verse 8). Only four or five very late manuscripts contain these words in Greek.


  3. I picked up a used copy of The Message years ago at a thrift store when it was popular. I read just a few portions and saw that it was a piece of garbage, which is right where I threw it!


  4. Side by side comparisons of many portions of “The Message”
    with other Bible translations show how far off this so called “Bible” is. What boggles my mind is how many Christians that seem solid in other ways just can’t see any problems with it at all.


    • What is that old saying when we shot for the trashcan and missed -“close enough for hand grenades…” maybe their thinking is the same. Close enough, so why bother.


      • I don’t know Mkayla, there is actually a verse in “The Message” that speaks of “the God of green hope”! I don’t think that is close enough for hand grenades, horseshoes, or anything else! How bizarre is that?


        • Romans 15:7
          So reach out and welcome one another to God’s glory. Jesus did it; now you do it! Jesus, staying true to God’s purposes, reached out in a special way to the Jewish insiders so that the old ancestral promises would come true for them. As a result, the non-Jewish outsiders have been able to experience mercy and to show appreciation to God. Just think of all the Scriptures that will come true in what we do! For instance: Then I’ll join outsiders in a hymn-sing; I’ll sing to your name! And this one: Outsiders and insiders, rejoice together! And again: People of all nations, celebrate God! All colors and races, give hearty praise! And Isaiah’s word: There’s the root of our ancestor Jesse, breaking through the earth and growing tree tall, Tall enough for everyone everywhere to see and take hope! Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!



  5. I think the position these mutilators of the scripture have is that they don’t claim or intend to have an authoritative literal translation, so they wont be interested in listening to your objection, they will say that they never claimed to have an authoritative translation, but something akin to “notes” , like a commentary.

    So, with John 3:16, they probably wont disagree with you ( us ) but they will justify their translation by saying that they are just trying to help people see some aspects of it they may not have seen otherwise, a bit like an amplified version or a commentary. They would say, If its Ok to read commentaries, then its OK to read such a paraphrase.

    Its wrong, I know.


  6. If you wanted to paraphrase the Message, you could term it the ” Mess”, which is an apt description. I bought a copy some time ago in order to compare it with an authorised version, but after reading only a few verses had to put it down.The best explanation i could give to this ” mess” is that it’s an insidious affront to the true word of God.


  7. I’d like anyone’s opinion on “The Mirror Translation Bible” by Francois du Toit. It is being promoted by my (ex) Bethelized church as THE most accurate Bible translation ever written. You can google it to read the books he has translated so far.


      I went here and began to read their translation of Colossians. It is much different than my NKJV as much emphasis is placed on the person. It is much like The Message in that they include Jesus but don’t place the glory and honor deserving of a Savior – and all that entails – towards Him. I’d say it’s a bad choice. Take a look, and you will see what I mean.


  8. The Message sort of reminds me of The Living Bible which I don’t think is in print anymore.

    I agree with what you’re saying about The Message being totally OFF, but like The Living Bible, that I used as a BRAND NEW believer, it reads like a novel.

    (Don’t jump on me yet)

    I think for a believer to use it as their ONLY source for study is a HUGE mistake. But for a brand new believer, since it does read like a novel, it might serve to help get the person DAILY reading God’s Word. That’s what The Living Bible did for me.

    After a while the “growing” believer branches off into something a little more substantial. Like NIV or NKJV..

    (OK you can jump on me now)


    • The meaning of the gospel is downplayed tremendously in the Message. It’s even more dangerous for new believers who don’t know anything yet! The Living Bible is not as watered down at least in comparison with the same scriptures as this article speaks of. See what I mean )from biblegateway:

      New King James Version (NKJV)

      16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
      18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

      New Living Translation (NLT) previously known as The Living Bible

      16 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

      18 “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.

      The (dreaded) Message (MSG)

      16-18″This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.


    • annunk,

      I used to read The Living Bible a lot because of the ease of reading. However, I quit many years ago because I found it was not always true to what an acutal translation said as I understood it. However, and this is my point and to me it is huge, what I saw in The Living Bible was nothing to what I see in “The Message”. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. While some of it seems ok and harmless, other parts of it go so desperately far afield from the truth of God’s Word as given in an actual good translation that it could leave someone believing some very false things.

      I wouldn’t recommend The Living Bible anymore either, but like I said, I found it mild compared to the multiple blatant errors in The Message.


      • I did find a site that spoke against The Living Bible. I didn’t get into it because I didn’t want to spend the time. Sad to think it could be off, esp since my Grandparents bought me one when I was 14 – my Grandfather was very committed to bible reading and prayer. I know they would have been very upset to find that they gave us something bad. This just goes to show how easily anyone of us can goof up that way.


  9. Woops!!! My bad.

    Right now I feel like that government official talking about how bad Arizona’s immigration laws were…
    i.e. I hadn’t read it – just heard about it.

    Well, unlike him, and after reading that exerpt, YOU’RE RIGHT – and I’m wrong.


  10. I will have to agree with you, M’Kayla. I haven’t been able to make myself peruse (let alone study) The Message. I occasionally hear preachers quote it, and had no real objection to the particular texts they chose to quote, and I’ve tried to keep an open mind and be fair to The Message, but something in my spirit simply CAN’T STAND it.

    There have been many times I’ve ignored my spirit, to my sorrow, trying to be fair to this person or that book or idea, but reading through your comments, I’m realizing that this isn’t the time to ignore God’s warning me away.

    I do believe there is a place for simplistic renditions of God’s word. God doesn’t love people less because their education went to waste (or nearly to waste, anyway). I would hate to have to depend on the NCV, but at least I don’t feel I’ve handled something bad when I read it. The Message, I’ve never been able to stomach–even the little bits I’ve read.

    Blessings to you, Sis!



  11. This is ridiculous. The Message is being trashed on a technicality and Eugene Peterson’s name is being dragged through the mud with no justification. The Message was not written as a study Bible, it was written for people who wouldn’t otherwise read it. Are you people seeking the truth or on a witch hunt.

    I thought this blog was about exposing darkness masquerading as truth. Looking through the list of usual suspects I see its about dismissing the views of those who disagree with us.


    • The Message changes the meaning of the bible message in who Christ truly is. Study bible or no, (and I don’t buy them anyway) it is WRONG and so is Eugene Peterson. Read it in comparison with NKJV or one of the others and you will see it for yourself.

      No one here is on a witch hunt. If showing the differences in this deception cloaked as a bible is not exposing the darkness then I don’t know what is. The Message was not written for people who don’t read the bible, it was written and excused as one for those who can’t understand it, as tho so many are THAT undereducated. It is not an easier to read version, it is a deceptive one written again by one who comes in the name of the Lord but has nothing of him. The truth is there written in the words in comparison. Arguing this point if futile.


      • “The Message changes the meaning of the bible message in who Christ truly is”

        No it doesn’t. The Message says that Jesus is God’s one and only son. If you want a simple, concise definition of what Christ is you should check the Apostle’s Creed. The Bible is not a manual, dictionary or encyclopedia – it relies on the Holy Spirit to show us the truth.

        “Read it in comparison with NKJV”.

        The Bible wasn’t written in King James English. EP is a Greek scholar, he went back to the Greek and I think he did a good job of John 3:16-17.

        “It is not an easier to read version, it is a deceptive one written again by one who comes in the name of the Lord but has nothing of him.”

        That’s a rather bold and arrogant statement. What right do you have to question Peterson’s faith? Have you not read Peterson’s preface to the Message? He tells us that he wrote the Message because his congregation were ignorant of God’s Word. He wrote the Message because he loves God’s Word.

        “Arguing this point is futile”

        I agree with you on this point. Peterson is clearly condemned in your eyes. You are welcome to your club of heresy hunters.


        • Chris,
          As is stated at the beginning of the article – I did not write this – But I do agree with it. When you compare the verse side by side as the author has done, clearly The Message’s version is distorted. God did not send his son to set the world right again, he sent him that the world through him might be saved. This does not refer to the world, but to the people of the world as we can ascertain through other scriptures Christ died for sinners, He is the Savior. Those of the emergent faith, along with universalists, and those who are into dominion theology believe the word will be changed through their works. But in Revelation we are told the world will be created anew by God.

          I am fully aware that the bible was originally in greek/hebrew and was translated to the latin to the “kings english” thus KJV. None of the other translations or versions agree with Eugene on this verse – not one.

          John 3:16-17 (New International Version, ©2011)

          16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

          John 3:16-17 (New King James Version)

          16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

          John 3:16-17 (English Standard Version)

          16″ For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.


          • I meant to add – The Message has left out SAVED, removing Jesus as the SAVIOR. This is an important scripture which shows Jesus as the Son of God, the Savior.
            I don’t need to read the Apostle’s Creed to find out who Jesus Christ is, I get that in the bible. Jesus is the word – John 1. As to it not being a dictionary, encyclopedia, etc… well –
            2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.


  12. Chris said: “This is ridiculous. The Message is being trashed on a technicality and Eugene Peterson’s name is being dragged through the mud with no justification. The Message was not written as a study Bible, it was written for people who wouldn’t otherwise read it.”

    Every Bible is by its nature a study Bible! God didn’t give His Word for “people who wouldn’t otherwise read it”. If God’s grace and mercy through the atoning sacrifice of His Son for all the sins of the world isn’t enough to draw people to His Word, what is? What is the Message then?.. a bible for entertainment?…the “fun” bible?….the bible to read when you just want to “hang out” with the LORD?…I don’t get it.

    I do get this, however:

    7 times to the 7 churches Jesus says: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

    The Message? 7 times: “Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing through the churches.”

    1. Jesus didn’t ask if anyone’s ears were awake or not. He directed that he who has an ear (the faithful believer of His Word) should hear what was being said specifically to these 7 churches…both in encouragement and rebuke.

    2. What are “Wind Words”? All I can picture here are all those people in the “burn movement” going “whoooooaaaaa”.

    3. Jesus never once talks about the Spirit talking to the churches (through His precious Word as recorded by John) as “blowing through the churches”.

    This is a really minor, but specific, example of the twisting/adding/changing new age garbage going on in the Message.

    There is a really good discussion of the problems in the Message at:


  13. “God of the green hope”

    “The ceremony of initiation into the Druidical Mysteries required much preliminary mental preparation and physical purification. The aspirant was clothed with the three sacred colors, white, blue, and green; white as the symbol of Light, blue of Truth, and green of Hope.”

    This is from the online “Encyclopedia of Freemasonry”.


  14. There is a great discussion of “The Message” mess at:

    When I naively purchased a copy of this bible and started to read it to my kids, they all asked me to stop. They hated it! We read the Bible (usually NIV) together all the time, so their reaction really surprised me. I never tried to read it to them again. Praise God for the wisdom of babes!

    The LORD’s prayer (as twisted by the Message–I find this almost painful to type)

    Our Father in heaven,
    Reveal who you are.
    Set the world right;
    Do what’s best–as above, so below.

    (my note: “as above, so below”. This is a New Age, Oneness-Pantheistic mantra….it comes from the Emerald Tablet of Hermes and is widely held in the occult.)

    Keep us alive with three square meals.
    Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
    Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
    You’re in charge!
    You can do anything you want!
    You’re ablaze in beauty!
    Yes. Yes. Yes.

    If you’re interested, you can do a little search on “as above, so below” or “the Emerald Tablet of Hermes”.

    God, keep us safely in Your Word…


    • “You can do anything you want”. Well, according to many this is quite true. We can’t know God when He shows up or judge the gold dust, oil, falling down, crazy signs and wonders because God can do anything. Wow. According to the word of God, it is a lie.

      Amazing how your kids saw that, huh? Sorry this took so long to post. It went into the spam folder.


  15. The (Mystic) Message mutilation of the LORD’s prayer:

    Our Father in heaven,
    Reveal who you are.
    Set the world right;
    Do what’s best–
    as above, so below.

    “As above, so below” is a good phrase to search, if your interested. It originated in the Emerald Tablet of Hermes and is a widely held new age, occult mantra…oneness/pantheistic/theosophic garbage.


  16. Okay, I’m a bit late to this conversation; and this will end my “message” rant for the night:

    7 times in the first 3 chapters of the Book of Revelation, Jesus says: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

    The (lack of)Message, perverts this to:

    “Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing through the churches.”

    At least I finally understand all the ducks and “whoooaaa’s” coming out of the burn movement. It must be all those darn Wind Words.

    To the gentleman who said that the Message wasn’t intended as a study Bible…I couldn’t agree more. The less it is studied, the better.


  17. This from wikipedia:

    “The Master Jesus is one of the Masters of the Ancient Wisdom in Theosophy and is one of the Ascended Masters (also collectively called the Great White Brotherhood; with white being in reference to the light) in the Ascended Master Teachings, a group of religions based on Theosophy. The Master Jesus is regarded by Theosophists, was regarded by Alice Bailey and was later regarded by students of the “Ascended Master Teachings” as the Master of the Sixth Ray.”

    The (mess of a) message refers to Jesus as “master” but never as “Lord”. The WO(l)F church I was attending pushed this bible as being more “spirit-filled” than Bibles such as the NIV. The “spirit” it is filled with is that of the anti-christ. If a pastor is quoting out of it to you….RUN AWAY AND DON’T GO BACK!

    “Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.” (1 Cor 12: 3)

    The “Lord” that Paul uses in Greek is “Kurios”. In a Greek translation of the OT, this is the word used to translate “YHWH” (Yahweh). Jesus is Kurios. Jesus is YHWH. Jesus is Yahweh. Jesus is God. If they don’t have this teaching, they don’t have Him…period.


    • It is a very interesting topic to pursue if you have the time to do the digging. I gave up on it because I came to the place where I felt I was spending more time studying the occult/new age influence than I was the bible. There’s a balance there, and people really do need to know the truth. If this is something you are interested in putting together in an article I would be happy to have a look and possibly post here. Unfortunately, I no longer have the materials and links I piled up or I would offer them to you as well. You know that saying as soon as you throw something away you will need it? Well, here we have that same example in research material! Poo! LOL!


  18. I think that Chris pretty much said what I wanted to say, so I won’t repeat, but I will say this.
    No, the Bible was NOT supposed to be a study book, it was supposed to be God’s love story to mankind in the form of Jesus Christ. The Bible shouldn’t be read as a study book, but as a narrative. I love Eugene Peterson’s heart of attempting a translation of God’s love into more of a narrative. The overall message of the Bible is God’s massive rescue plan for mankind through Jesus, and I don’t think that’s missing from the Message translation. Just because you don’t agree with the angle or some of the expressions that he uses, it doesn’t mean that it is wrong.

    I saw a mention of the Mirror translation in a comment above; same principle, different angle. The Mirror translation was written so that we could see who we are and who we were created to be, and I’ve read excerpts of it, and it is a beautifully written translation.

    I like these translations because it gives you a broader picture, and I think we need to approach Faith from the big picture down (to the details). That we are desperately helpless, that God loves us, Jesus died for us, rose again, we have lasting life, we are children, and we’ve been told to go and do as Jesus. I think that covers at least 90% of what God wants to tell us, all of which are in the Message translation – everything else follows on from there. If you are making the other 10% any bigger than it actually is, then I am afraid friend, that you are not succeeding in your quest to find truth or light, rather, that you are stuck in the darkness of religion.

    If Eugene Peterson claimed that his translation was the one and only, I would be very concerned. However, it is just one way the Holy Spirit has revealed scripture to one man, and he has made an account of it.

    I hope that, for your own sake, and the sake of others that stumble across this blog, that you have not been reading the Bible as you would for a literature exam, and critically analysing the texts of different translations to come to the conclusion that you have come to – I will repeat this because I think that it’s important; the Bible wasn’t written to be analysed – it was written to show us the person of Jesus. And if the Holy Spirit doesn’t reveal to us the deep truths in the Word, we run the risk making the Bible into a textbook, throwing aside and dragging through the mud, faithful, true brothers and sisters in Christ.


    • I don’t know where you are getting your ideas from. The bible is much more than a love story, it is a literary work revealing to us all that we need to know about God. It is to be deeply studied and learned so that when the wolves come preaching their other jesus we will be able to recognize them and warn others. Yes, it is about love, but it is about much more than that!

      If you believe you need more information to understand God you have stepped away from Him and His protection. This is the base of all gnostic belief that leads believers to apostasy. Sadly, this is widely embraced in many areas throughout Christianity today. Studying the bible doesn’t make us religious – don’t you understand why Jesus was against the Pharisees? It was because they had been entrusted with the knowledge to understand and teach others, yet instead they developed their own way, making rules and demands of men that no one could live up to. This is religion. Believers who spend time studying the word, who teach and warn others are not “religious”. They are simply carrying out the instructions found in the bible! Faithful believers in Christ do not make the bible out to say things that it does not say, they do not develop other versions to do the same.

      Eugene Peterson is not of Christ and he is his own proof. But what? Will we defend a man and call God the liar? There is much proof that The Message is not Holy Spirit inspired, simply because it does not portray the same meaning as the other versions do – far from it. This has been proven true already here. And if that is not proof enough, as side by side comparison will do the trick.

      There are many new versions of the bible coming out and some already on the shelves that deny the truth of the real bible. Some go as far as to claim they are the new message from God, replacing the old. Will we accept these books as truth as well? Many will – sadly! We must all be very careful to make sure our teachers and leaders support the truth of God and the only way to do that is to know the bible which is 100% of what God wants us to know.

      Yes, we are children of God. If we have repented and turned to Christ we are His! And we are told to go and preach the gospel. We are not child-like, but strong in the Lord, led by the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit. We are not on a quest for the light, Christ is the Light. I think your understanding of scripture is a bit twisted. It will do you well to lay aside these paraphrases and spend some time with a good version. Peterson’s mumbo jumbo is preaching nothing but a new age “Master” jesus, who is not the same as the Savior and those who have believed the bible it hard to understand, is out of date, is too judgmental have welcomed it and him with open arms.


  19. Jisang said “the Bible was NOT supposed to be a study book, it was supposed to be God’s love story to mankind in the form of Jesus Christ. The Bible shouldn’t be read as a study book, but as a narrative.”

    NARRATIVE: a story or account of events, experiences, or the like, whether true or fictitious. (first definition in “Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language”)

    The WORD OF GOD (ie. “The Bible”):

    “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1)

    “The Word became flesh and made HIs dwelling among us.” (John 1:14)

    “For the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Heb 4:12)

    No, the Bible is not simply a narrative. I have a house full of narratives…fiction and non-fiction…a library. None of those narratives are living and active…none of them are sharper than a double-edged sword…none of them can divide soul and spirit….and none of them can judge the thoughts and attitides of the heart. The Bible is the living, breathing Word of God. Jesus is the Word of God made flesh. Those who treat lightly the Word of God, the Bible judges clearly enough:

    “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.” (Rev 22:18-19)

    Eugene Peterson has clearly taken words away from this book (and added a few interesting things to boot). “Jesus as Lord”…”Lord Jesus”…occurs NOWHERE in the message. “Master” is not good enough. LORD…YHWY…Kurious….God…It is NOT a minor point, but rests at the very heart of the Gospel.

    If you really love God, then you study at the feet of His Son…His Word. You study with love, reverence, wonder, and a yearning desire to please Him…and your life is changed forever. To trivialize this study as if “for a literature exam” is a very revealing comment. Here is one of many things the Bible has to say about studying the scriptures:

    “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” (Acts 17:11)

    Would you refer to the Bereans as studying as if “for a literature exam”? Would you accuse them of trying to analyze the Bible, because they were testing Paul’s teaching diligently against the Word? As Jesus is the Word of God made flesh, which 10% are you willing to leave behind?
    Dear friend, please take the warning to heart.


  20. ive read many of peterson’s books and don’t believe he was trying to obfuscate, but rather use everyday language -— something the everyday man could understand. street talk maybe. i agree it’s not for exegesis. when i first read THE MESSAGE .. i thought ” does it say that?” i’d get my NASB and sure enough… in a way it did and MADE ME ponder. BUT I would always rely on something closer to the hebrew/greek original if i wanted to REALLY dig in for a clearer meaning. i’m not quite sure of the motive behind some of these comments, some not scholarly. e.g. everyone knows what green behind the ears means or the use of green as ‘young’. the message is not a translation. remember that when comparing apples to oranges.

    so just get a cup of coffee set down and read and be open to the Holy Spirit to speak through it. dont worship the word. worship God.yes His word is truth. His message is love. and please don’t rip that apart

    on the whole….The Message is the messagel that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them..
    see the good and not the bad. i do admire the Bereans checking out heresies but this is not one of them.


    • Jesus is the Word – John 1. Don’t worship the Word? How is it they can be separated given this scripture?! Here you have simply repeated a overly used phrase of the emergents. There is much more to God than love, there is expectation, there is judgement, and you lean too far on one end without considering the other. Men’s sins are not counted against them when they are repentant.

      You have done nothing but make excuses for a dangerous book and a dangerous man whose claimed education has been formally proved a lie. The only guidance the Lord would give one of His followers is guidance OUT from reading The Message. The work others have done to expose the danger proves this most vividly.


  21. Melanie Magee,
    There are no apples to oranges with the Word of God. Jesus is the Word of God made flesh (as M’Kayla answered you). What part of Him would you “dumb down” to make Him more popular? Those who fear and revere God in the Truth that is His Son are correctly appalled at any “translation” of His Holy Word that would play so loosely with meanings. The book of Revelation warns us of what God will do to those who either add to or take away from His Word.

    I sat in a church where “the message” was being used heavily with the youth. It is confusing and misleading….godlike, but NOT Godly…and that is the behavior of those in that church, especially the youth. I’ve seen that “fruit”. It is rotten to the core. Praise God that you know enough to search out a real translation of the Bible to understand it. What of those who don’t?

    You said, “so just get a cup of coffee set down and read and be open to the Holy Spirit to speak through it. dont worship the word. worship God.yes His word is truth. His message is love. and please don’t rip that apart.”

    I ONLY understand the scriptures because of the Holy Spirit inside of me. It is HE who led me to the Word of God, HE who pulled back the veil, and HE who warns against all falsehood and lies. (see 1 John 2) It is the power of the Holy Spirit of God through Jesus Christ that brings men to repentance….and only those men (women and children) will be saved. Jesus paid a price for the sins of the whole world, but the whole world will not be saved. Salvation is the “narrow road”, lest you forget. And that is why we all make such a big deal about these things. The souls of many are at stake…and a watered down, confusing, misleading gospel is no gospel at all. I love people enough to tell them the truth. It is “the message” that has ripped that apart, not I.


  22. MM said, “Don’t worship the word” (I assume you mean scriptures as recorded in the Bible) This is a phrase used to set up a false conflict. There is no conflict between the scriptures and the Lord Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the Father. None. One does not have to choose between the word and the Word. How is it that you know what Jesus said? The scriptures. How is it that you learn what is the Father’s plan of salvation? The scriptures.

    So at what point do you decide to lessen the weight of those written words in favor of what you THINK up in your own (according to scripture, deceitful) heart?

    If, by that comment you mean, ‘don’t bow down to an actual physical book’ maybe that phrase has some merit. But if you are implying the words of God are in need of adjustment, not entirely correct, or open to new additions (gold tablets, anyone?), it is revealing of a small view of Almighty God.

    If we believe the scriptures to be the inspired words of God and Jesus is the Word made flesh, then shouldn’t we believe God, in His wisdom and power has perfectly and ultimately revealed to us exactly what He wants us to know, exactly what we need for instruction and edification? Is God so weak He forgot a few things and only just now decided to add some finer shades of meaning?


  23. Thanks for posting this. I know this is mainly about The Message, but you blog popped up when I search for criticism of The Mirror. These a deceptive tricks to steal from us God’s word. We need to be careful about this modern translations, especially The Mirror.

    The Mirror is not a translation. It is a very loose paraphrase, and I would suggest that its not even that. The author has essentially re-written the Bible and called it a translation.

    The Mirror denies:

    Justification by faith is denied. As the first commenter pointed out, we are not justified by faith, according to the Mirror, we only “realize” that we have been justified. The author teaches a view of the cross that has ALL people being saved by Christ at the cross. ALL people are therefore now justified, its only that they haven’t “discovered” the new way that god sees them. See Romans 3-4 and Galatians passages.

    Eternal punishment in hell. Texts that mention hell are mutilated in the Mirror version so that they don’t even mention the reality that people will be judged for there sins forever. Early in Church history, denial of hell was something that barred people from being considered Christians.

    Since god has already justified ALL people through Christ, he no longer hates their sin. What about Romans 1? You should see what he did to that chapter. The god of the Mirror is instead so sad that the unbeliever has not “realize” what he already believes about them.

    The Mirror “translation” is an abomination. Yet it is judgement upon a perverted and twisted generation who only wants God on their terms. There’s a reason why so many people on amazon give it positive reviews: it feeds the lusts and self-glorification that the unregenerate craves. I’m not trying to be malicious and I hope none take this that way. This is a serious threat that I hope doesn’t lead whoever reads this astray.


    • Ryan, it is true there are numerous “bibles” available that will lead people to the ruin of their faith. I appreciate the information on the Mirror. When we look into a mirror we see ourselves. When we look into a REAL bible, we should see God. Big difference. Thanks for your input!


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