The Message Bible

In “The Message Bible” Eugene Petersen produced a dynamic equivalent translation using late 20th century idiomatic American English.

It is a translation, not a paraphrase. Petersen himself was both a Hebrew (main Old Testament language) and Greek (New Testament) scholar. But he had the humility to have scholars focused on various sections or books of the Bible to check both the faithfulness to the original languages and the dynamic equivalent nature of the translation.

One of my favorite Message Bible passages is Philippians 4:4-8. We sing the opening lines in a praise song– “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice.” Here is how Petersen puts it: “Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him!”

And I like how he talks about twining worry together like rope into prayer. “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness [peace/Shalom], everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”

Don’t forget verse 8 which has to do with our all-important thought life. “Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious–the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.