Peterson - "When I am in a congregation where somebody uses it in the Scripture reading, it makes me uneasy. I would never recommend it be used as saying, "Hear the Word of God from The Message...I am detached from it. It wasn't my idea."
The Message - MS
The New International Version - NIV
King James Version - KJV
I am comparing The Message with the NIV, because the NIV is the most commonly used paraphrase bible. I am in no way endorsing the NIV, but I felt that if I used the KJV, then some may say that I am not using a modern version of the Bible. I do not use the NIV in my personal study.
KJV - Thou saith the LORD concerning the prophets that make my people err, that bite with their teeth, and cry, Peace; and he that putteth not into their mouths, they even prepare war against him.
NIV - This is what the LORD says: "As for the prophets who lead my people astray, if one feeds them, they proclaim 'peace'; if he does not, they prepare to wage war agianst him.
MS - Here is GOD's Message to the prophets, the preachers who lie to my people: "For as long as they're well paid and well fed, the prophets preach, 'Isn't life wonderful! Peace to all!' But if you don't pay up and jump on their bandwagon, their 'God bless you' turns into God damn you.
Eugene H. Peterson takes the Lords name in vain. This is not the only place where he does this.
Isaiah 53:2-6, Peterson calls Jesus scrawny, scrubby, and scum, and deletes "he was pierced for our transgressions"
KJV - ...because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was nnumbered with the transgessors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
NIV - ...because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
MS - ...because he looked death in the face and didn't flinch, because he embraced the company of the lowest. He took on his shoulders the sin of the many, he took up the cause of all the black sheep.
Jesus did flinch, in fact Jesus did alot more than flinch, he sweat blood, he cried out "My God why hast thou forsaken me." The lowest and black sheep are not the same as transgressors.
KJV - And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him...
NIV - who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him...
MS - who will mock and spit on him, give him the third degree...
Giving someone the third degree is not the same as flogging someone. Peterson gives a similar account in Luke 18:32,33 - here he adds that Jesus was "made sport off"
Diluting the Eternal Existence of Jesus Christ
KJV - In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.
NIV - In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, He was with God in the beginning.
MS - The Word was First, the Word present to God, God present to the Word, in readiness for God from day one.
He was with God in the beginning, not "ready" for God.
KJV - In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
NIV - In him was life, and that life was the light of men.
MS - What came into existence was Life, and the Life was Light to live by.
Jesus Christ did not "come into existence." Jesus has always existed.
II. False Doctrine
KJV - Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
NIV - Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
MS - Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ's love for us ? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture.
Peterson got this one wrong. Actually the Bible says in Rev. 22:19 - And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life...
KJV - For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.
NIV - For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.
MS - Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding your self, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you?
This is a reoccurring theme throughout The Message. Peterson trades life or salvation or reconciliation for "true self" or the "real you." Jesus Christ did not come to earth to make us our true selves, he came to give life. Peterson also does this in Rom 16:20 where he deletes "grace of our Lord" and adds "Enjoy the best of Jesus."
2 Corinthians 5:20
KJV - Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.
NIV - We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.
MS - We're Christ's representatives. God's work of making things right between them. We're speaking for Christ himself now. Become friends with God; he's already a friend with you.
Being reconciled to God is a spiritual work based on the cross, but Peterson repeatedly exchanges reconciliation, obedience, and other important doctrines for phrases like "Jesus gets along with us" or "become friends with Jesus."
KJV - Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
NIV - The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery: idolatry and witchcraft: hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy: drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
MS - It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion, paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved: divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions: ugly parodies of community. I could go on. This isn't the first time I have warned you, you know. If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God's kingdom.
Idolatry does not equal trinket gods. Witchcraft does not equal magic-show religion. This one of the many times that he makes light of the spiritual realm and evil spirits. Do the following people go to hell: paranoid loneliness, a divided home, someone with small minded lopsided pursuits?
1 Timothy 4:1
KJV - Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
NIV - The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.
MS - The Spirit makes it clear that as time goes on, some are going to give up on the faith and chase after demonic illusions put forth by professional liars.
Should we not take the spiritual realm seriously? Is it really just an illusion?
Acts 15: 16,17
KJV - After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.
NIV - "After this I will return and rebuild David's fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, that the remnant of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things," that have been known for ages.
MS - After this, I'm coming back: I'll rebuild David's ruined house: I'll put all the pieces together again: I'll make it look like new so outsiders who seek will find, so they'll have a place to come to, All the pagan peoples included in what I'm doing.
Pagan peoples and Gentiles who bear my name is not the same thing. Pagans are not Christians. Gentiles who bear his name are Christians.
KJV - ...it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
NIV - ...It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.
MS - ...You have to choose to live one-eyed or else be dumped on a moral trash pile. ...Better a bloody stump than your entire being discarded for good in the dump.
Moral trash pile and dump are not the same as hell. He removes the word hell repeatedly throughout The Message.
KJV - everlasting life
NIV - eternal life
MS - whole and lasting life
Whole and lasting life is not the same as everlasting life. A whole and lasting life is growing old watching your grandkids play in the yard. Everlasting life is assurance of eternal salvation.
KJV - The rod and reproof give wisdom
NIV - The rod of correction imparts wisdom
MS - Wise discipline imparts wisdom
Another attempt at making the Bible politically correct.
III. Sexually Explicit
Jeremiah 3:2 - MS - "Like a streetwalking whore"
Ezekiel 16:24 - MS - "spreading your legs for everyone who passed by"
Hosea 4:12 - MS - "they've replaced their God with their genitals"
There are hundreds more similar to this.
IV. Clouds meaning and adds confusion to the simplicity of Jesus Christ
(2 Cor 11:3 KJV)
KJV - For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
NIV - for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
MS - for there is no difference between us and them in this. Since we've compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us
There are different versions of the Roman Road to Salvation, but most begin with this verse. I could not imagine leading someone to Christ using The Message. Try it yourself, look up all the verses for the Roman Road, and see if it makes any sense. It doesn't.
KJV - But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
NIV - However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.
MS - But if you see that the job is too big for you, that it's something only God can do, and you trust him to do it--you could never do it for yourself no matter how hard and long you worked--well, that trusting-him-to-do-it is what gets you set right with God, by God. Sheer gift.
This is one of the most significant verses in the entire Bible, and Peterson has yet again clouded the meaning of a simple concept. To the casual reader, they could interpret this as God is helping them do a job, not providing salvation.
KJV - I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if you believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.
NIV - I told you that you would die in your sins: if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins.
MS - I told you that you were missing God in all this. You're at a dead end. If you won't believe I am who I say I am, you're at the dead end of sins. You're missing God in your lives.
Being at "the dead end of sins" is not the same as dieing in your sins. This is one of many times where Peterson clouds meaning and makes the Gospel more confusing than it should be.
KJV - Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing...
NIV - May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him...
MS - Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy...
Peterson claims that The Message is "The Bible in contemporary language." This is not contemporary language. This is confusing language. In my study of The Message, I have found hundreds of similar confusing statements. Here are a few more confusing passages:
Mat. 1:22 - "embryonic sermon,"
Duet. 32:8 - adds "divine guardians" to a verse for no apparent reason
Micah 7:14 - "lotus land" is added, and there are many, many more.
V. Provides Loopholes for Homosexuality and Alters the Relationship of Homosexuals and God
I googled "The Message bible homosexual". A website came up that was a forum for self proclaimed "Christian" homosexuals. They were praising The Message bible for translating the bible the way god actually meant it to be translated. Here is why they like it so much:
KJV - For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
NIV - Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones.
MS - Refusing to know God, they soon didn't know how to be human either --women didn't know how to be women.
According to the Word of God, there comes a point in a homosexual's life when God gives them over to their lust. Peterson changes this.
KJV - And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and recieving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
NIV - In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
MS - men didn't know how to be men. Sexually confused, they abused and defiled one another, women with women, men with men -- all lust, no love. And then they paid for it, oh, how they paid for it --emptied of God and love, godless and loveless wretches.
Peterson adds "all lust, no love," which could be misinterpreted as stating that lust is the sin. In other words, if you are in a monogamous loving homosexual relationship that was not based on lust, then that would be OK. Secondly, he tries to define due penalty for us, which is not a translators job, that is the Holy Spirits job. When I first read due penalty in this situation the thought of STD's and dieing and going to hell came to mind. He also deletes perversion. This is another common theme throughout the book of deleting words like sodomite, homosexual, and pervert.
1 Corinthians 6:9,10
KJV - Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunnkard, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherith the kingdom of God.
NIV - Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
MS - Don't you realize that this is not the way to live ? Unjust people who don't care about God will not be joining in his kingdom. Those who use and abuse each other, use and abuse sex, use and abuse the earth and everything in it , don't qualify as citizens in God's kingdom.
Peterson deletes homosexual and adulterers , efeminate and adds "use and abuse the earth." If this were true, almost every Christian I know would go to hell, because almost none of them recycle and most of them drive trucks and suv's.
1 Corinthians 6: 16-20 - In this passage, Peterson deletes sexual immorality but adds "avoids commitment and intimacy." The sin becomes the avoidance of commitment and intimacy. One could interpret this as stating a monogamous homosexual relationship would be OK.
1 Timothy 1:9,10
KJV - Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayer, for whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured person, and if there baany other thing that is condtrary to sound doctrine
NIV - We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious: for those who kill their father or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave trader and liars and perjurers-and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine
NKJV - sodomites
MS - It's obvious, isn't it, that the law code isn't primarily for people who live responsibly, but for the irresponsible, who defy all authority riding roughshod over God, life, sex, truth, whatever!
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FYI - You should probably google NIV exposed, comparison, etc, while your at it.