The Message behind "The Message" - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

11/17/2002 - Tyler

The Message behind "The Message"

Getting a couple of hundreds preachers, from all denominations together is not an easy task. But on this November the did come together to hear one man.

Eugene Peterson, a pastor himself, is better known in East Texas for his book "The Message." A contemporary translation of the Bible. A compilation of ten years of writing and as important, 30 years as a pastor.

"It certainly does feel like a lot of coming together in this. Sometimes it was quite effortless, sometimes I felt like I was walking through an orchard that I planted 30 years ago and I was just pulling ripe fruit off the stems. How did that get there? I didn't do anything to get that. But somehow it matured, the phrases, the idioms, were feed and fertilized by a lot of other people," says Peterson.

In less than ten years, "The Message" has sold ten million copies. Peterson, whose translation comes directly from the Hebrew and Greek text, believes "The Message" eliminates many of the misconceptions about the Bible.

"There are a lot of people who think it is a famous book," says Peterson. "Its a religious book, I don't know how to read it...I'm not qualified. Then they read "The Message" and they can understand it. I didn't try to make it easy. The Bible is hard in many places I didn't try to smooth out the hard parts, I just tried to make it accessible."

There are no chapter and verse numbers in "The Message." But there purpose beyond simply writing in contemporary style. Peterson says he relied an a very old idea when translating this Bible.

"I was trying to recover the ancient practice of spiritual reading of the Bible," says Peterson. "Letting the bible...just submitting, receiving the text. Not analyzing it, not figuring everything out, not arguing with it. That's why there are no verse numbers, which is the biggest complaint I get, to take us out of control so we are just there before it."

Peterson admits the message is not for everyone...but as millions pick up this book it is his prayer that through this translation the message of the bible can be heard and understood by a whole new generation.

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