Have you ever read The Message? It is a paraphrase of the Bible by Eugene Peterson.
"It is a bridging of the gap between the original languages and English, and between centuries of time and language change, to bring to us the Bible as it originally sounded."
Here is my problem with The Message, it distorts what God intended. It takes what was originally said and turns it around and makes things, shall we say, less black and white? Sexual immorality doesn't seem so bad in The Message (1 Corinthians 6:9-11), and occult dangers don't seem so scary (2 Thessalonians 2:9)
Rather disturbingly the Lord's Prayer now includes New Age terms. Let us compair Matthew 6:9-13 in The Message to KJV.
Matthew 6:9-13 (The Message, emphasis mine)
9With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. Like this:
Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
10Set the world right;
Do what's best--
as above, so below.
11Keep us alive with three square meals.
12Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
13Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
You're in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You're ablaze in beauty!
Yes. Yes. Yes.
Matthew 6:9-13 (King James Version)
9After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11Give us this day our daily bread.
12And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Not only does The Message add New Age terms to scripture, but it also removes verses entirely (sadly, this happens in other translations as well), for example if you'll read below, we'll be looking at Acts 8:36-39, there is no verse 37 even in there, and why? Well, because verse 37 tells us that Philip says that if you believe with all your heart you can be baptized and the eunuch answered that he believes Jesus Christ to be the Son of God. Obviously Mr. Peterson didn't feel that verse was worth putting in.
Acts 8:36-39 (The Message)
36As they continued down the road, they came to a stream of water. The eunuch said, "Here's water. Why can't I be baptized?" 38He ordered the chariot to stop. They both went down to the water, and Philip baptized him on the spot. 39When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of God suddenly took Philip off, and that was the last the eunuch saw of him. But he didn't mind. He had what he'd come for and went on down the road as happy as he could be.
Acts 8:36-39 (King James Version)
36And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
37And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
38And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.
39And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.
The Message sugar coats God's word, it diminshes the peril of being a true believer in Christ and inflates God's promises. It does not accurately put forth what Jesus intended, as demonstrated by John 3:36. God does not tell us that we will have it easy, rather He tells us "Now brother will deliver up brother to death...And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved." (Matthew 10:21, 22 NKJV)
The following verse in The Message, doesn't warn readers of what can happen if you don't believe Christ. It leaves it to one's imagenation. It implies that if you don't believe and trust in Jesus you'll just be left out. That's not what the KJV implies. You don't just get left out of fun stuff, you get the wrath of God.
"He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." John 3:36 KJV
"Whoever accepts and trust the Son gets in on everything, life complete and forever!" [John 3:36a] THE MESSAGE
My concern is that those who only read The Message will be unprepared for the spiritual attacks that await them as believers. Satan does not want you to believe, he is the author of lies and will do anything to keep you from knowing the truth. Including put forth a "Bible" that makes life seem like it is all sunshine and roses. The Message does not convict the heart as it should, nor does it prepare the believer of things to come. Instead it softens God's word to fit into the world, yet the Bible tells us that we are not of this world (John 15:19-21).
The following verse also shows a distortion in Scripture. The Message says nothing about the Father being greater than anybody, it just says that He is the goal and purpose.
"my Father is greater than I." John 14:28 KJV
"The Father is the goal and purpose of my life." John 14:28 THE MESSAGE
Below is just another example of how The Message makes the bad seem less bad. The KJV tells us that to be carnally minded is DEATH, but The Message does not even come close to putting that idea on paper.
"For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." Romans 8:6
"Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life." [Romans 8:6] THE MESSAGE
Yet, another example.
Therefore shall her young men fall in the streets, and all her men of war shall be cut off in that day, saith the LORD. Behold, I am against thee, O thou most proud, saith the Lord God of hosts: for thy day is come, the time that I will visit thee. And the most proud shall stumble and fall, and none shall rise him up: and I will kindle a fire in his cities, and it shall devour all round about him. (Jeremiah 50:30-32 KJV)
Jeremiah 50:30-32 (The Message)
30And now she pays: her young strewn dead in the streets,
her soldiers dead, silent forever." GOD's Decree.
31"Do you get it, Mister Pride? I'm your enemy!"
Decree of the Master, GOD-of-the-Angel-Armies.
"Time's run out on you:
That's right: It's Doomsday.
32Mister Pride will fall flat on his face.
No one will offer him a hand.
I'll set his towns on fire.
The fire will spread wild through the country."
The above verse sure puts things into perspective, God is not just about love and peace, ulitmately that is what will come, but God is a righteous God and humbles the proud! His fire devours evil. Please note that in the above selections the KJV says "for thy day is come, the time that I will visit thee" while the Message says "That's right: It's Doomsday ".
The Message says nothing about God coming. Doomsday could mean different things to a different set of people (Doomsday could be bombs dropping, massive flooding, any number of things. But God coming? You know exactly what that means.), each person's perspective could render a different way of looking at this verse, while the KJV leaves nothing to question.
God is coming!
The Message (MSG)
Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson
The Message at Navpress NavPress
King James Version (KJV)
A Public Domain Bible KJV at Zondervan Zondervan