The Message-MS Leather Bound – 1 Oct 2002
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Personally I love the King James Version. I have a little checkbook sized copy I carry around with me, with all my favorite verses highlighted, and I read it every day. I love the language, the poetry, the imagery. I also love Shakespeare, but I don't let my love of the King James Version or Shakespeare cloud my judgement. There is a language barrier there. I believe it's a barrier worth overcoming, but some folks are not willing or able to make that effort. If they don't read Hamlet, it's not going to affect their immortal souls. If they miss God's word, they may not find salvation. It's as simple as that.
What's really funny about The Message and the negative reviewers is how they sound like the criticisms leveled at the King James Version when it first came out. Don't these intellectuals know there was a time when translating the Bible into English was banned by the church? Don't they know a lot of the King James Version New Testament is straight out of Tyndale's version, which was considered provocative and controversial? Don't they know the original Bible texts were not in English? There were a lot of people uneasy about the King James Version when it first came out-they didn't trust the common people to read the Bible for themselves. Looks like times have not changed. Personally, I agree with New Testament scholar J. Harold Greenlee when he says "No Christian doctrine...hangs upon a debatable text."
I like to read The Message side by side with the King James Version. I gave a copy of The Message to my son and he reads it and discusses the stories with me. When he has a question I am always ready with the King James Version. I recommend The Message to everyone I know-it reaches people and touches people and brings them to God.
It is an excellent paraphrase and just because it's a bit different to normal translations, it is still great for getting the overall message of the Bible. Keep an open mind while you read it, because it will challenge you, but don't right it off just because it's a bit different.
This should be a Bible for those intimidated and those overly-familiar. It speaks to all but particularly those of us in either camp ...it often happens simultaneously, strangely enough!
MSG is MonoSodium Glutamate, and what's that? It's the scientific name for a taste enhancer found in many foods. Why liken it to this? Well, the purpose is to enhance or more so facilitate reading of the Bible, just like the taste enhancer enhances the taste of foods [thus facilitating consumption] but it has nothing to do with the real thing.
MSG [scientific name] may make what you eat taste like chicken but is nothing close to chicken.
It's not to say that Peterson's MSG has absolutely nothing to do with God's Words but just that it is only a foretaste or whiff or a trailer, in movie terms, of what the real thing is. It is neither pure MSG nor real chicken but a kind of chicken stock. One might liken it to a deluted real chicken soup but enhanced otherwise to make it still SEEM like the real thing...
To conclude and as a reminder, none of us has the actual Word of God, the Bible that we have is only a translation of it. So it would be wise to rely on not just one translation but a few. And it would be unwise to rely solely on Peterson's MSG as it is more a paraphrase than a translation.
Thank you, Eugene Peterson, for revitalizing my interest in the Bible through "The Message". Even the introduction to each book is wonderful to read. I'm getting new insights, new impressions, and best of all, a new sense of how vital my interactions with God can be. Thank you, thank you, thank you!