I’m usually pretty liberal (seriously!) about Bible translations. I prefer the ESV now, but have read the NIV the most and the Living Bible was the first one I read all the way through. The NASB is a more literal translation and is great for zeroing in on key words. In general I just encourage people to read it and not just talk about reading it.
But I’ve never liked The Message translation. It is way too “cutesy” for me. And the more I learn about it and the author, the less I like it. Here are some more reasons to avoid it, via Sola Sisters: The Message “Bible” Inserts Earth Reverence, God of “Green” Hope.
A generation has been raised on this disturbing “paraphrase” of the Bible. This is the primary version so many now rely on, and nationally known preachers quote from it with regularity. Yet, as we have seen, The Message flat out omits the sin of homosexuality from several key passages. We see this in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, and also in 1 Timothy 1: 8-11.
Does the acceptance and use of The Message explain why many Christians are lukewarm on the issue of homosexuality? Certainly The Message is not the only factor–we dwell in a pro-homosexual media/culture–but place this “Bible” in a person’s hands and it can have, over time, significant influence. How can we understand God’s Truth when Truth is no longer there to be read?
“My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your sight; Keep them in the midst of your heart.” (Proverbs 4:20-21)The beloved author of The Message, Eugene Peterson, has now endorsed two heretical books: The Shack, and Rob Bell’s sly ode to universalism, Love Wins. The Message, bluntly stated, seems written to make Christians less knowledgeable about the Word of God. While that may seem a strong comment, please consider what Eugene Peterson himself said about the Bible:
“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 its own and we think we’re being more pious and spiritual when we’re doing it….[Christians] should be studying it less, not more. You need just enough to pay attention to God….I’m just not at all pleased with the emphasis on Bible study as if it’s some kind of special thing that Christians do, and the more the better.”  (Bold mine)I believe The Message is forerunner to a christless, sinless bible that will be used by the false church. There will be a “christ” mentioned, but not our Christ. Not the sinless Savior of humanity. Sin will be addressed, of course, but perhaps more in line with the Alcoholics Anonymous generic theology of “wrongs” and “making amends.”
Homosexuality will be perfectly acceptable, even sacred. And nature, the earth itself, will be worshiped. We have already addressed Eugene Peterson’s removal of homosexuality and other sins in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, but healso inserts the phrase “use and abuse the earth,” something the Lord did not place there at all.
Here is 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 from The Message:
“Don’t you realize that this is not the way to live? Unjust people who do not 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. A number of you know what I’m talking about, for not so long ago you were on that list. Since then, you’ve been cleaned up and given a fresh start by Jesus, our Master, our Messiah, and by our God present in us, the Spirit.” (Bold mine)Did you catch that? Peterson’s version claims those who “use and abuse the earth” will not be saved!
Here is 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, from the NASB:
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.”You will not find this apparent form of earth-reverence in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 in any reputable translation of the Bible. It simply is not there.
Read the whole post for more of the “earth worship” problem.
In a move that should surprise no one, Peterson is now a loud-and-proud supporter of oxymoronic “same-sex marriage.”