Off Message: attacks from the inside?

Lost in Translation? Modern user-friendly Bible versions; or paraphrases; or corruptions of God's Word? You choose.

Trojan HorseIn any conflict, each side will try to infiltrate the other. These actions are covert but can be deadly. The victims of subterfuge only recognise the problem when it it too late. We can expect the Word of God to be under attack; and an increasing number feel that the enemy is within the gates of believers. 

The apostle Paul wrote to the the believers at Corinth "in order that Satan might not outwit" them. And affirmed "for we are not unaware of his schemes." (2 Cor 2:11).

Over the past few years many have felt increasing concern about the extent to which new translations of the Bible are straying further and further from God's revealed truth. The Berean Research Institue, an  on-line resource has published an article comparing and contrasting the text of Eugene Peterson's 'The Message' agains the words of the King James Bible.

Ed note: The text has been printed in full as the Christians Together web site provides a 'verse pop-up' facilty (and so removing the need for long extracts from the Bible).The script has also been 'tidied-up' to make to make it more readable and hot-links inserted. Headings have been set in 'bold' and other minor formatting changes  but is otherwise unaltered.
Caveat: The CT website does not necessarily endorse the opinions expressed (or any 'King James only' sub-text); and the reader is responsible for discerning any errors in the script.

from the Berean Research Institute

1. You asked what we thought about Eugene Peterson's version of the bible that he calls "The Message." In response, I promised to provide you with a conclusion based on reasons and documentation; not just opinions.

2. A study of the text of "The Message", itself, excludes it from being God's word, by virtue of the contradictions, errors and omissions in it. This intrinsic study of the text prevents personal opinions from imposing external bias on the conclusions. (For example 8 + 5 is 13, as the King James Bible states; not 11, as "The Message" would suggest. This is fact; not opinion.)

Further, a comparison of "The Message" with the King James Bible exposes the doctrinal ramifications at issue by virtue of the meaning of the words Eugene Peterson chose to use in contrast to those used in the King James Bible. Words have specific meaning. English grammar has definitive rules to follow. I will call upon both in analyzing the text of "The Message" and in comparing it with that of the King James Bible.

3. God's word is a text book; a reference book; a manual by which we must live. It is set forth in an orderly fashion, complete with chapter and verse divisions that aid immensely in memorizing it and in referencing doctrines within its covers.

4. Of the "new/modern versions" that masquerade as God's word today (all of which are translations of the corrupted manuscripts that originated in Alexandria, Egypt), the paraphrase-style versions (which use dynamic equivalence translation rather than formal equivalence) have the greatest departure from the methodical structure, logic, precision, accuracy, and doctrinal consistency that is characteristically inherent in God's word. For example, among other problems, instead of having distinct and numbered verses, most of them use paragraph-style structures - and some even lack the verse numbers - which makes them read more like a novel than a reference book, and thereby makes them very difficult to memorize and almost impossible to compare and to study doctrines within themselves, let alone to compare with a known standard.

5. Eugene Peterson's "The Message" comes in different forms – some with verse numbers; some without, and some in biblical order; some mixed/remixed. None are accurate; and none are God's word. These conclusions are not simply my opinions – they are facts, provable by the intrinsic textual evidence presented below.

6. The copy of the "The Message" to which I will refer in this analysis was printed by NAVPRESS in 2003.

(a) I reject it being called scripture, because it is not; but I cite the copyright notice in it, as printed, and as mandated by NAVPRESS, as follows: "Scripture taken from THE MESSAGE. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group."

(b) As also stated in "The Message" Copyright page: "THE MESSAGE text may be quoted in any form (written, visual, electronic, or audio), up to and inclusive of five hundred (500) verses, without express written permission of the publisher, NavPress Publishing Group, providing the verses quoted do not amount to a complete book of the Bible and do not account for 25 percent or more of the total text of the work in which they are quoted."

NOTE: Permission notices in this article are included as a courtesy only.

7. Besides wishing to abide by copyright law, I have included these statements above to make the following points:

(a)The person or entity holding a copyright on a piece of work is the lawful owner of the words published in that work and has legal rights to sue for damages in the event of infringement of those rights.

(b) With that in mind, who would be the lawful owner of the WORDS published in Eugene Peterson's book, "The Message"?

(c) So, are they the words of God, or the words of Eugene Peterson?

(d) Can you imagine God forbidding people from quoting more than 500 verses of his word?

(e) Can you imagine God forbidding the publishing of verses that "amount to a complete book of the Bible"?

(f) Note: Many King James Bibles today have copyrights because of the maps, commentaries, marginal notes or other additions to them. The text of the King James Bible is NOT copyrighted. I have copies of God's word - one of which was printed in 1850 and only says "Holy Bible" – that have no statements of copyright whatsoever. King James and those of like mind, including the Lord Jesus himself, have always intended to put the scriptures into the hands of the common man so that they could be studied and stored in the hearts and minds of all men.

(g) The mind-set and actions of new version publishers is to make money by producing a series of new, updated, revised, contemporary, modern, youth-oriented, gender-neutral, etc versions of the bible. Truly, the love of money is the root of all evil. (1 Tim 6:10)

(h) Conversely, Jesus said: "…freely ye have received, freely give". (Matt 10:8) and in the Old Testament: " Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price." (Is 55:1)
8. The Word of God is pure, perfect, and will never pass away. (Ps 12:6,7; Ps 19:7; Matt 24:35) But ALL modern versions have errors, omissions and contradictions in them. I could write a large book on the reasons why Eugene Peterson's "The Message" is NOT the word of God, but for now, I will examine only a few of its deficiencies, from a few of many categories, as follows:

9. King David numbered the children of Israel to determine how many men he had who were fit for military service. (This was a sin on David's part because he intended to rely on his own strength rather than trusting in God to defeat his enemies.)

(a) "The Message" records in 2 Sam 24:9 that, "Joab gave the results of the census to the king: 800,000 able-bodied fighting men in Israel; in Judah 500,000."

(b) But "The Message" records in I Chr 21:5-6 that, "There were 1,100,000 fighting men; of that total, Judah accounted for 470,000." Like other new versions, "The Message" contains a mathematical error here and/or contains an error in reporting the calculated totals.

(c) 800,000 plus 500,000 is 1,300,000; not 1,100,000.

(d) In fact, "The Message" makes the same error here as do other new versions because it is founded on the same corrupted line of manuscripts that came from Alexandria, Egypt and that underlie those other new versions.

(e) So, at their very best, these new versions are only good translations of corrupted manuscripts.

(f) People claim that the King James Bible has a similar contradiction between these verses. Our article proves the contrary – that the King James Bible is perfectly accurate, and meets the standard required to be God's word. The article can be found here.

Conclusion: "The Message" is in error and therefore cannot be the work or the word of God.

10. Almost everyone knows the story of David and Goliath.

(a) The bible accurately reports that David, the shepherd boy slew Goliath, the giant, with only a slingshot and stone, and cut off his head with his own sword. (I Sam 17:50-51) Eugene Peterson's "The Message" gets the central theme of this story correct in this passage.

(b) But in a later passage, Eugene Peterson's "The Message" follows the corrupted manuscripts of Alexandria, Egypt, along with many new versions and says that "Elhanan son of Jaar, the weaver of Bethlehem, killed Goliath the Gittite whose spear was as big as a flagpole." (II Sam 21:19)

(c) Conversely, the King James Bible accurately reports that Elhanan slew the brother of Goliath: And there was again a battle in Gob with the Philistines, where Elhanan the son of Jaareoregim, a Bethlehemite, slew the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weaver's beam. (II Sam 21:19)

(d) More details of this can be researched in our article.

Conclusion: "The Message" has a contradiction in its reporting the death of Goliath, between the accounts given in I Sam 17 and II Sam 21. "The Message" is in error and therefore cannot be the work or the word of God.


11. "The Message" has an error in the opening verses of the gospel of Mark, where it reads as follows:
The good news of Jesus Christ – the Message! – begins here, following to the letter the scroll of the prophet Isaiah.

Watch closely: I'm sending my preacher ahead of you;
He'll make the road smooth for you.
Thunder in the desert!
Prepare for God's arrival!
Make the road smooth and straight!

(a) There are many doctrinal issues that could be examined here (besides the fact that Eugene Peterson even includes an advertising 'plug' for his book "the Message", as if its title were included in this passage, within the text of scripture itself.)

(b) The glaring error in this passage is that these verses do NOT all come from the book of Isaiah, let alone "following to the letter the scroll of the prophet Isaiah" as Eugene Peterson claims.

(c) Mark 1:3 comes from Isaiah 40:3, but Mark 1:2 comes from Malachi 3:1.

(d) As with almost every other new version, "The Message" is wrong in this passage by saying that it comes from "the prophet Isaiah".

(e) Conversely, the King James Bible accurately reports the source of this quotation by saying, "As it is written in the prophets" (which is a reference to both Isaiah AND Malachi, both being books in the scriptures that are called "the prophets".)

(f) For your convenience, here are all three passages from God's word, the King James Bible:
(i) Mark 1:1-3
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;
As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
(ii) Mal 3:1
Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the LORD, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.
(iii) Is 40:3
The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

Conclusion: The King James Bible correctly documents the source of the quotations cited at Mark 1:1-3. "The Message" erroneously documents this. Therefore, "The Message" cannot be the true word of God.

12. The bible clearly declares throughout that Jesus is the Son of God; that he is the Son of the Father, and that Mary was a virgin at his birth.

(a) When Jesus was circumcised in the temple on the eighth day (Luke 2:21), a just and devout man named Simeon prophesied about Jesus; and God's word says, "And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him (Luke 2:33)". In reference to Jesus, the Bible does not say, "his father and his mother" because Joseph was NOT his father.

(b) But Eugene Peterson's "The Message" says, "Jesus' father and mother were speechless with surprise at these words. Simeon went on to bless them..." ("The Message" Luke 2:33)

(c) Joseph was not Jesus' father. As with most of the new versions, "The Message" attacks the virgin birth of Jesus in this passage. "The Message" also falsely states that Joseph and Mary were "speechless" and 'surprised' by the things stated about Jesus, which would imply they had not known or might not have believed them. But, the Bible actually says that they "marvelled" at those things stated about him. It does not say they were speechless, and it does not say they were surprised. In fact, they were in 'awe' of God's wonderful works by way of the confirmation that Simeon's words placed on the things they already knew about Jesus - having been told of them by Gabriel, (Luke 1:31-35; Matt 1:21) and having already experienced the virgin birth first-hand. So, they "marvelled" in awe that constitutes worship of God. They were not "surprised" by something that might have been unknown to them, or that might have cast doubt on what God had already told them.

Conclusion: Whether intentionally or not, "The Message" is in error in Luke 2:33 about Joseph being the father of Jesus, and thereby casts doubt on the doctrine of the virgin birth.

13. Likewise, in Luke 2:43, "The Message" refers to Joseph and Mary as Jesus' parents, rather than re-affirming the virgin birth with the wording as it ought to, as follows: "the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it." This wording from the King James Bible comes from the line of manuscripts known as the Received Text (because the early disciples received – or accepted - those manuscripts as being the true words of God) and which are also commonly called "The Majority Text" (because they are consistent with nearly 100% of the ancient manuscripts in circulation at the time and that are extant today. Conversely, the multitude of modern versions today are all based on the other 5% or so of manuscripts which are contradictory between themselves and even within themselves. For example, the two primary new version manuscript sources – Vaticanus and Sinaiticus – contradict each other about 3,000 times in the four gospels alone.) It is beyond the scope of this article to explain the differences in detail, but it should be noted that the "Received Text" and the "Majority Text" are not identical, but they constitute the foundational original language texts from which God's Word in English, the King James Bible, was translated.

14. When the Devil tempted Jesus in the wilderness to satisfy his hungry flesh by using his power to turn a stone into bread, "The Message" reports that Jesus answered by saying, "It takes more than bread to really live." ("The Message", Luke 4:4)

(a) As most other new versions do, "The Message" leaves the reader in a negative mindset - without hope - by stating what is lacking; without providing the answer, the hope, or the life that God's true word actually provides.

(b) Here is what God's word actually says: "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God." (Luke 4:4)

(c) Not surprisingly, because they are based on the corrupted manuscripts from Alexandria, Egypt, "The Message" and most new/modern versions omit the very words of God by which we are to live!

(d) Besides the characteristic evidence of hope that is provided by the inclusion of these six words - "but by every word of God" - (as we would expect to find in God's word, and as is found in fact in the King James Bible), how do we know that the new versions have actually omitted these words, and that the King James translators have not committed the opposite transgression of ADDING these words?

1) The answer to that question is that Jesus was quoting from the Old Testament where the words were first written by Moses, as follows: "that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live." (Deut 8:3)

2) So, these words were not added to the text of the King James Bible in Luke 4:4; they were omitted from the new versions.

3) Conclusion: By omission and alteration, "The Message" erroneously reports the words of the Lord recorded in Luke 4:4, and "The Message" is therefore not the word of God.

15. Eugene Peterson's book, "The Message" completely omits Matt 18:11. (My copy of his book has verse numbers in the margin which run from verse 1 to 10, skip 11, and start with 12 again).

(a) What happened to verse 11? If the verse is not believed to have been in the original, why does "The Message" number the verses as if verse 11 had been there, or ought to have been there?

(b) It might be important to know what Eugene Peterson (and most new version producers) removed from God's word by removing Matt 18:11:
"For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost." (Matt 18:11)
(c) Isn't it interesting that these people have removed the very words that explain the PURPOSE of Jesus having come to earth? That is a very important doctrine for them to have omitted!

(d) Isn't it interesting that these words which have been "lost" in the new versions would have described the fact that the Son of man is come to save that which was "lost" - including those very words? This might suggest that Jesus, the Son of man, endorses the inclusion of those "lost" words in his word.

Conclusion: Among other things, by omission of these words, "The Message" removes hope and understanding of the purpose of the coming of the Lord. Moreover, even the omission of one number in a sequence of numbered verses is inconsistent with the orderly, revealed character of God. Therefore, "The Message" cannot be the work or the word of God.

16. Other verses that are completely removed from Eugene Peterson's "The Message" are: (a)

Matt 17:21
Matt 23:14
Mark 7:16
Mark 9:44
Mark 9:46
Mark 11:26
Mark 15:28
Luke 17:36
Luke 23:17
John 5:4
Acts 8:37
Acts 15:34
Acts 24:7
Acts 28:29
Romans 16:24
1 John 5:7

(b) Most of these verses don't even have the verse numbers printed – the numbers are skipped, within the sequence of the surrounding verse numbers.

(c) Sometimes, "The Message" PRETENDS to include the verse by grouping several verses together and numbering the verses in the group with a dash between them (vs 1-6), while completely omitting the content of these specific verses I have listed. This deceptively hides the fact from the reader that some of the text has been omitted.

Referring to Jesus, the bible says, "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil 2:9-11)

(a) Consistent with this declaration, God's Word, the King James Bible refers to the "Lord Jesus" one hundred and fifteen times (115).

(b) But Eugene's Peterson's book, "The Message" refers to the "Lord Jesus" ZERO times ("0")

(c) As with ALL of the new versions, "The Message" demotes the Lord Jesus Christ in references to him, and it concurrently elevates man from his state of sinfulness, bringing both to a more equal level and eroding the stark biblical contrast of the truth of our need for him as our Saviour in consequence of our sinfulness.

18. I could literally go verse by verse through "The Message" and write several books detailing the doctrinal changes that Eugene Peterson makes by changing words, omitting words and completely fabricating words. Without going into a lot of detail, here are just a few more of the doctrinal problems that I haven't already mentioned:
(a) Perhaps the best known verse in God's word is John 3:16, wherein we learn that:
(i) God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

(ii) But Eugene Peterson's "The Message" says in this passage that Jesus is God's "one and only Son".

(iii) By saying this, "The Message" is inconsistent with God's word in John 1:12 wherein we learn that, "as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: (John 1:12)

(iv) "The Message" is also wrong in omitting the words "only begotten" in reference to Jesus, because the word "begotten" refers to that which has the same nature or substance as that which begat it. Jesus is not the only son of God. He is the only "begotten" son of God. Therefore, he is the only son who has the nature or substance of "God", composed of "God" himself. Jesus is, in fact, God, in the flesh, Emmanuel, "God with us" (Matt 1:23; John 1:10,14; I Tim 3:16)

(v) When the words are changed, the meanings are changed. By saying "one and only son" instead of "only begotten" son, "The Message" does not convey these truths about the nature and character of Jesus; nor the truth that we can be sons of God by believing on him.

(b)To further hide the fact that Jesus was "begotten" of God and is therefore of the same nature, substance and character of God – i.e. that he is "God" himself - Eugene Peterson changes the clear declaration of God in Hebrews 1:5 from:

(i)) For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? (KJV – Heb 1:5) to

(ii) Did God ever say to an angel, "You're my Son; today I celebrate you" or "I'm his Father, he's my Son"? ("The Message" Heb 1:5)

(iii) There is a significant difference between the words, "begotten" and "celebrate", with major theological ramifications resulting from that difference.

(c) God's word makes it clear in I Tim 3:16 that God himself was manifested in the flesh:

(i) "without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory." (I Tim 3:16)

(ii) But Eugene Peterson's "The Message" uses the pronoun "he", without an antecedent, to ambiguously state that: "He appeared in a human body"

(iii) Well, ALL of us appeared in a human body, in a sense, but all of us are not God, and the bible says that GOD was manifest in the flesh.

(d) God's word says in Ps 12:6-7 that:

"The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever." The antecedent for the pronoun "them" is "words". God has promised to preserve his WORDS forever.
(i) This is consistent with all of the scriptures that say such things as:
(a) Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. (Matt 24:35) and
(b) For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. (Ps 119: 89)

(ii) But following the corrupted Alexandrian manuscripts of the other new versions, Eugene Peterson's "The Message" says instead that:
God's words are pure words, Pure silver words refined seven times in the fires of his word-kiln, Pure on earth as well as in heaven. GOD, keep us safe from their lies.
("The Message", Ps 12:6-7)
(iii) There is a significant difference between the THIRD person, personal pronoun, plural (them) and the FIRST person, personal pronoun, plural (us). With this change of pronouns, the object of God's preservation shifts from "The words of the LORD" to "us" - by Eugene Peterson's theology and by that of modern version translators; all of whom use the corrupted Alexandrian manuscripts.

(iv) The antecedent for Eugene Peterson's pronoun "their" (as in "their lies") ironically – and blasphemously – is "words" (as in "God's words"), despite the fact that the subsequent verses try to mask this by talking about "the wicked". The rules of English grammar are clear in this case: in "The Message", the pronoun "their" refers to "words" (as in "God's words").

(v) Conclusion: Eugene Peterson's "The Message" changes the entire meaning of this passage and takes a swipe at God himself by suggesting that God's words are lies.

(e) Following along with almost all of the other new versions, Eugene Peterson's "The Message" eliminates all of the biblical pronouns that provide specific understanding of person, number and subject-object distinction. In the Bible, all "Y" pronouns (Ye, You, etc) are plural. All "T" pronouns (Thou, Thee, Thy, etc) are singular. "Thou" is subject form; "Thee" is object form, etc. Endings such as "est" and "eth" differentiate second and third person verbs, respectively.
But "The Message" and new versions in general lose the information provided by these distinctive pronouns and verbs in God's word, by substituting ambiguous pronouns for these distinctive pronouns and ambiguous verbs for these distinctive verbs.
They do this in complete blindness to the doctrinal ramifications of their actions and in ignorance of the rules of grammar that bring clarity to the passage with inclusion of the distinctive verbs and pronouns. Details of this fact can be researched in our article:

(f) In "The Message", Eugene Peterson promotes the heretical theory of theistic evolution with his choice of words.
(i) For example, the Bible says:
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; … and the evening and the morning were the first day." (Gen 1:1-5)

(ii) Compare that biblical wording with this wording of Eugene Peterson's, as follows:

First this: God created the Heavens and Earth – all you see, all you don't see. Earth was a soup of nothingness,.. It was evening, it was morning – Day one."

(iii) Peterson's use of the word "soup" to describe the condition of the earth immediately after God created it has no scriptural justification whatsoever, and it lends strong support to the evolutionary teachings that – after the "big bang" – rain fell on the rocks and formed a "primordial soup" from which life evolved. A good synopsis of the false Primordial Soup Theory can be found here:

(iv) The wording that God used to describe the creation week connotes six literal 24-hour days – "the evening and the morning were the first day… the evening and the morning were the second day… etc".

(v) Conversely, as with many of the modern versions, Eugene's Peterson's "The Message" uses words that incorporate evolutionary thinking - or allow for it to exist - within that otherwise clear, literal account of creation. For example, being slightly more ambiguous, Peterson's use of "It was evening, it was morning – Day one" lends credibility to the theories that creation occurred over longer periods of time – such as the Day-Age theory; and the Gap Theory, among them.

(vi) These theories have deceived many people, and they completely undermine fundamental doctrines of scripture by which we live. For example, these theories allow for, and rely upon, millions of years of death existing on the earth which are believed to have produced the billions of fossils we find buried in rock layers all over the earth. (Bible believing Christians conversely understand that all of the fossil evidence perfectly fits the biblical account of a global flood in the days of Noah – Gen chapters 6-9 – and that it doesn't fit any evolutionary theory that relies upon millions of years of suffering and death). There are many problems with these evolutionary-biased theories, including that:

(a) The bible says that death is a direct result of sin, and that it was Adam who introduced sin into the world. So death did not occur, and could not have occurred prior to Adam sinning in the Garden of Eden. (Rom 5:12), and

(b) At the end of the sixth day of creation, God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was "very good." (Gen 1:31) He could not have made this declaration if Adam and Eve were standing over thousands of feet of dead creatures, and if they were living amongst animals that preyed upon each other and shed their blood. Death did not begin until after the fall, and death is not what God would have described as being "very good". Consider the words of Jesus who said, "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)

(g) In contrast to the simplicity that is in Christ and is in the true text of God's word, and in contrast to the purported claims made about the readability of "The Message", Eugene Peterson's translation is actually very confusing, disjointed and scrambled as well as being erroneous. For example, the doctrine of the deity of Jesus (The fact that he, the Word of God in flesh, is actually God - in - flesh) is a fundamental Christian doctrine. Consider the wording of this doctrine in one of the most clear passages – John 1:1 – from the King James Bible, and then from the Message, as follows:


In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us… (John 1:1,14)


The Word was first,
The Word present to God,
God present to the Word.
The Word was God,
In readiness for God from day one.

The Word became flesh and blood,
and moved into the neighbourhood.

(iii) It is difficult to believe how anyone could defend this nonsense language of "The Message" as making any sense at all, let alone claim that it offers superior readability and understanding to the text of the King James Bible.

(h) While we are looking at this passage, note also that:

(i) John 1:12 says that, "as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name" (John 1:12)

(ii) But, "The Message" says,

whoever did want him,
who believed he was who he claimed
and would do what he said,
He made to be their true selves,
Their child-of-God selves.

(iii) There is a significant difference between being given "power to become the sons of God", and being "made to be their true selves". In the first case a person must be transformed from one state into another - the present state of sinfulness into the state of justification and perfection in Christ - whereas in the latter case one could argue that people are inherently good and simply need help to improve upon what already exists within them. This is consistent with New Age teachings about the god within us, and the Christ consciousness within us, but it is a clear misunderstanding of the fallen, sinful state of man and is a clear violation of scripture.


19. This is a very important and large subject, but others have already written books on it; so, I refer you to:

DECEIVED ON PURPOSE, The New Age Implications of the Purpose-Driven Church, Mountain Stream Press, ©2004 Warren Smith (Specifically, Chapters 2 and 3) We have several extra copies of this book; and you are more than welcome to have one of them.

20. I also refer you to THE MYSTICAL BIBLE 'THE MESSAGE' Of MYSTICISM. (In particular, the Occult and Masonic language used in Eugene Peterson's "The Message", as summarized in that appendix.)


21. Eugene Peterson's "The Message" is a linguistic rats-nest, and a theological snake pit that continues to entrap multitudes. It is, at best, a good translation of corrupt manuscripts, but it has many other dangers that I cannot take time to comprehensively trace and link. It joins with the slogan-driven programs, theologies (or philosophies) of many mega-churches and pseudo-Christian ministries to carry masses of scripturally illiterate church-goers into yet another diversion from the way of truth along a convoluted path of contradiction and confusion that blatantly defies the very scriptures they claim to love.

22. Regrettably, many of these people are simply deceived themselves and may not intentionally want to lead others into the occult or New Age teachings. But, God holds us accountable for what we know and for what we could have known. If we truly desire the truth, he has promised that we would find it. He made it clear HOW to find it. He commanded us to "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (2 Tim 2:15). He commanded us to, Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. (1 Thess 5:21). And he said, "IF ye continue in my word, THEN are ye my disciples indeed; AND ye shall know the truth, AND the truth shall make you free. (John 8:31)

23. In response to his disciples' specific question as to what the signs would be to identify the approach of his second coming, Jesus warned them above all else to "take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. (Matt 24:4-5) Besides all of the New Age teachers who teach people to say that they, themselves are Christ (that they are one in the Christ consciousness, etc) there are MANY people in religious circles who proclaim that Jesus is Christ, but who deceive others with their false beliefs, doctrines and practices nonetheless. Matt 24:4-5 warns against both of these deceptions.

24. The bible says that God himself has magnified his word even above his name. (Ps 138:2) So, those who disparage his word – calling it dusty old truth, boring, etc – simply have not read or understood it, and are in all cases at odds with God who so highly regards his word. The word of God is absolutely fascinating! It is truly a work of wonder in so many ways.

25. Eugene Peterson ought to study God's word, love God's word, continue in God's Word, and repent from the harm and confusion that his book "The Message" has caused in opposition to God's word. But, as proof of the attitude Eugene Peterson has towards God's word, the bible, I will conclude this email with Eugene Peterson's own words, in a published interview with Mars Hill Review, 1995.

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.

MH: It seems that it is the ordinariness that is so powerful for people. One pastor has said that he hopes The Message will "smash through our comfortable thinking about the Bible." Why do you suppose we have become so comfortable with the scriptures?

EP: I think it's partly our sin. One of the Devil's finest pieces of work is getting people to spend three nights a week in Bible studies.

MH: I'm sure that's going to surprise a lot of readers!

EP: Well, why do people spend so much time studying the Bible? How much do you need to know? We invest all this time in understanding the text which has a separate life of it's own and we think we're being more pious and spiritual when we're doing it. But it's all to be lived. It was given to us so we could live it. But most Christians know far more of the Bible than they're living. They should be studying it less, not more. You just need enough to pay attention to God.

26. There is MUCH more I could say about all of this, but this must suffice for now,

Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. (I Thess 5:21)

27. You can TRUST every word in God's Word, the King James Bible!

BibleThe Message:
The Bible in Contemporary Language was created by Eugene H. Peterson and published in segments from 1993 to 2002. It is an idiomatic translation of the original languages of the Bible. Although The Message is used commonly in congregations, Peterson stated his uneasiness with this in a Christianity Today interview:
“ When I'm in a congregation where somebody uses [The Message] in the Scripture reading, it makes me a little uneasy. I would never recommend it be used as saying, "Hear the Word of God from The Message." But it surprises me how many do."

Berean Research Institute, 24/01/2012

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Christians Together in the Highlands and Islands > Survival Kit > Off Message: attacks from the inside?