Do you have a critique available on "The Message"?


The following are reviews from various people who have read "The Message"   This is only a sampling of the reviews that were obtained from, and it is easy to see that "The Message" would not, in my mind, be classified as a Bible.

For a complete listing of reviews you can go to The Message Reviews and read all that was said and it will even indicate who said it.

The Bible In Deceptive New Age Terminology, November 5, 2004

""The Message"" is not a translation of biblical scripture. True translation is taking the original Greek and Hebrew texts, being very careful to preserve their true meaning as much as possible, word by word and phrase by phrase, while translating them into another language so that the exact meaning is kept intact, nothing is removed or added, and there is no discrepancy about what God is actually saying in the text. Anything outside of this is changes the true meaning of the Bible, and is re-wording God's Word.

Please allow me to illustrate to you several terms that Mr. Peterson has used in his paraphrase that show that he did not directly translate the Greek and Hebrew text, and thus has changed not just God's actual meaning of key phrases and verses, but has removed key phrases from his paraphrase that directly change the actual words, phrases, and true message of God. This then makes ""The Message"" one man's interpretation and paraphrase rather than God's direct Word.

Example 1: Please compare Matthew 6:9-13, the Lord's prayer, below with Mr. Peterson's version:

Matthew 6:9-13 from the NIV:

"Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.

From "The Message":

"Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right;
Do what's best -
As above, so below.
Keep us alive with three square meals.
Keep us forgiven with you
and forgiving others.
Keep us safe
from ourselves and the Devil.
You're in charge!

Now, most people will not see what I am about to point out, until they see it explained for themselves.

Let me extract from Mr. Peterson's words here, the phrase "As above, so below." This is the key phrase here that is not a direct translation of scripture, and it does not even come close. Here is why:

This is a classic new-age term and phrase used widely in the new-age realm. It got its start, and has its main domain, in the new-age movement. It does not represent Christianity. If you do a Google search on the phrase you will see how many Wiccan, pagan, and new-age sites come up that use this phrase and its meaning. "As above, so below" agrees with the "immanent" new-age view that God is not only outside of creation, but also within creation. It means that God is "in" everyone and everything, and denotes the new-age concept of "One-ness." It is a pantheistic term. Pantheism has no place in Christianity or the Bible. And when new-agers speak of heaven, it is not the heaven that Christians know of and believe in. The term "as above, so below" is used for the new-age idea and terminology of their view of heaven. It is not the biblical view. It is a metaphysical new-age connotation that substitutes "heaven and earth" with "above and below" as being the same and one in unity, and therefore it represents a pantheistic view. It says all of the universe (the heavens and heaven), the cosmos, and the earth---everything existent in creation---is part of God, is one with God, and one with everything, in a form of new-age unity that opposes scripture and the true nature of God.

From the new-age book written by Ronald S. Miller and the editors of "New Age Journal" titled "As Above, So Below": ..." 'As above, so below; as below, so above.' This maxim implies that the transcendent God beyond the physical universe and the immanent God within ourselves are one."

Mr. Peterson should not be using this terminology to paraphrase the Bible when Christianity and God's terms and meanings are as opposite to the pagan new-age movement and their beliefs as night-time is to day-time, and as good is to bad.

This term "as above, so below" existed before Mr. Peterson chose, for whatever reason, to use it when putting the Bible into his own words. So, Mr. Peterson did not get his words from the original Greek and Hebrew text of the Bible, and therefore his words cannot qualify or be considered as a translation of scripture. If he had gotten his words from the original texts then he would not have used this phrase, because the original texts do not refer to heaven in this manner, and he also would not have removed key parts of actual scripture from his paraphrase.

Mr. Peterson again presents a similar use of this new-age phrase in place of "in heaven" and "in earth" in Colossians 1:16: "For everything, absolutely everything, above and below..."

Example 2: Mr. Peterson has directly removed key phrases and meanings from a lot of the scripture he has paraphrased. Let's look again at the Lord's prayer for a key example:

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.

"The Message":
Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right;

"Hallowed be Your name" has been totally removed, and not even rephrased and added back in with the rest of his words. "Your kingdom come" has also been removed. This essentially takes the actual words and meaning which the Lord Jesus spoke and changes what He actually said. It removes the expressed, exact meaning, and therefore it removes the value of the written text. "Reveal who you are" and "Hallowed be Your name" are not even close to having the same distinct meaning to each other. "Your kingdom come" and "Set the world right" do not even come close to having the same distinct meaning. Jesus was speaking directly of the Father's kingdom; Mr. Peterson is talking about the world in his paraphrase.

This re-phrasing of the Lord's prayer changes the Lord Jesus' spoken words and teaching into flimsy "requests" that He did not say. He was not making requests, He was teaching us, sinful people, how to we are to approach a pure and holy God in prayer. Mr. Peterson has changed the true meaning and character of the scripture here. This is not a translation of true text. No man has any right to do this. The Bible is clear about that.

Real translations do not remove key meaning and they do not change complete words, phrases, or the meaning of phrases. Otherwise, we end up with something the Lord never said, and it is being passed off as the Bible in churches all over this country. It is confusing people who are in the new-age movement when they see their exact terminology and idea of heaven being used by Christians, so that now they think that there is really little, if any, difference between their beliefs and those that we Christians have. The difference between the new-age movement and Christianity is night and day, and we all know there is enough scripture to back that up. God was very careful when he dictated to the original manuscript writers what He was saying. Mr. Peterson's paraphrase robs the meaning God intended, and this is dangerous.

This is why calling Mr. Peterson's paraphrase a Bible translation becomes very concerning. Many new Christians who have come out of the new age movement, who now know Jesus Christ as their savior, are quite shocked to see this new age term, very familiar to them, showing up in a "Bible translation."

There is plenty of warning in the Bible about removing from or adding to God's words and His distinct meanings. For example, Deuteronomy 4:2 "You shall not add to the word which I command you to observe, nor take anything from it..." Deuteronomy 12:32 "Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it." Proverbs 30:5-6 "Every word of God is pure...Do not add to His words, lest He reprove you, and you be found a liar." Mr. Peterson has both added meanings that are not being represented by actual scripture and he has removed key phrases and meaning from the actual scripture, thus greatly changing the meaning in many parts.

It is very simple to end up with a very different meaning that what was originally being said by removing one or two word phrases from the Greek or Hebrew text. There are other verses that Mr. Peterson has done the same thing with as the examples above, but time does not allow for that here. Anyone can compare Mr. Peterson's words to the actual Word of God and see for themselves as a personal study. For those who are less discerning, whether because they are new to Christianity or just searching for greater meaning in life, there is the risk of serious confusion and for people to be very mislead, as some already have been.

These are just a few examples of why Mr. Peterson's "The Message" should not be even referred to as a translation of the Bible.

The reason I am taking the time to point this out is because many just do not know about it. It is easy to accept and believe everything that comes along that is labeled "Christian", but the new-age movement is creeping into the Church and many Christians can't see it. This illustrates how very clever our Adversary, the Devil, is at pulling the wool over our eyes when we are least expecting it. Jesus said, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free."

What I would like to know is, if Mr. Peterson is a Christian then why did he choose to use the new-age phrase "as above, so below" and from what source did he get it from?

This shouldn't be called a Bible, October 28, 2004

This Bible is a mistranslation luring Christians into new age thinking and preparing them for a world religion. It mistranslates the lords prayer. It even uses new age terminology. Don't read this Bible, if you own it throw it out. I urge you to please take me seriously. I'm only 15 and realize the deception in this book. If you compare the verses in this Bible to other translations you will see it too. The only message this Bible is teaching is the new age message.

A Different Gospel, July 18, 2004

I was deeply grieved by a youth pastor below who used "The Message" as his primary translation. He would do well to read what a real Bible translation has to say about "tying millstones around the necks" of youth and the warning for not many to aspire to teach, for they will receive a stricter judgment. I was also nauseated by people who wrote that they were bored with the same "tired old verses". God's Word, tired and boring?? No way. It's the deceptive, selfish human heart in our material, entertainment age that demands entertainment at the cost of real human souls. Dumbing down and watering down the Word of God to appeal to people who have the capacity for intelligence but are too lazy to apply their intelligence to study and comprehension? If your teens are having a hard time understanding the Bible, parents and pastors, try spending some time with them and explaining it. Or encourage them to apply themselves in school.

Galatians 1:8

"But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed."

I hope that Eugene Peterson does not find himself gnashing his teeth on judgment day as Jesus pronounces "I never knew you. Depart from me you worker of iniquity." I pity those teachers who follow in the footsteps of Mr. Peterson, who had added and subtracted from the Word of the Almighty God. "The Message" is filled to the brim with New Age references, a politically correct agenda and an obscuring of the message which is necessary for salvation. If a person is not familiar with New Age terminology, as many Christians are not, then they are ripe for the picking.

Jesus is referred to as "the Master". The Master is a new age expression. New Agers believe that many "enlightened masters" have come to planet earth- Buddah, Krishna, Mohamed and Jesus being a few. Christians know that Jesus isn't merely an enlightened master, He is Lord and the only way to salvation. The Bible says that people who are not saved can not say that Jesus is Lord. Neither does the Message say it. What does that tell you?

Here is a comparison of the NKJV version and "The Message". If you want to compare the Message against any other version or verse, you can go to and reference any version you like.

Romans 10:9-10 (NKJV)
...that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

(How is the NKJV too complicated for anyone who comprehends English to understand? But look at how the Message adds many words and yet complicates and obscures the message, not simplifying as was it's stated purpose.)

Romans 10:9-10 ("The Message")

Say the welcoming word to God--"Jesus is my Master"--embracing, body and soul, God's work of doing in us what he did in raising Jesus from the dead. That's it. You're not "doing" anything; you're simply calling out to God, trusting him to do it for you. That's salvation. With your whole being you embrace God setting things right, and then you say it, right out loud: "God has set everything right between him and me!"

Why does Mr. Peterson feel it necessary to change the "Jesus is Lord" to "Jesus is my Master"? It doesn't clarify anything. 2x he tells the person to make a confession other than what the real Bible says. This example is not even the worst of his mistranslations, additions, insertions of personal opinions not marked as thus, subtractions and twistings of scripture.

The Bible says that Sexual immorality, adultery and homosexuality are sins, but "The Message" removes these references in favor of "sex without commitment and intimacy". Or sex without love. In other words, a non-discerning person (and believe me, if they think this is an honest translation they are sorely lacking in discernmenet) will be led to believe that sex is OK as long as they feel love, commitment and intimacy; whatever that means to them.

This "Bible", if it can even be called such, is preparing the church for the great apostacy when so called Christians will abandon real salvation for the one world religion. I was downright shocked when I read this book and then angered that so many are willingly swallowing the lie. Don't become one of the fooled, it's not only your soul at stake but also your family and friends, whom are in your realm of influence.

A Perversion of God's Holy Word, July 1, 2004

"The Message" is clearly and by far a perversion of God's holy and true Word. It's almost as if Eugene Peterson sat down one night realizing that he personally thought God's Holy Word was boring so he decided to pervert it by "spicing" it up with his terrible paraphrases and "translations" which makes this "Bible" the most off-based and far from the original translation. He uses excellent descriptor words (notice the sarcasm) such as hocus pocus and 3 uses of the word potatoes (2 relating to something that is not a big worry) (he must have been a previous farmer in Idaho). Do not buy this book if you have any sort of reverance for God's true Word at all. I'm not sure where he went with this one, but if you want a good translation to easily understand go with the NIV, or if you want the closest renderings to the actual Greek and Hebrew, go with my favorite--the NASB.

The Bible? Absolutely not., June 28, 2004

Is this the Bible? Absolutely not. With a doctorate in language and literature and experience in translation, I can knowledgeably and solemnly say that the many passages I've reviewed are not even close to the original language or original intent. Reader beware!!

The Bible says???, March 13, 2004

I have been reading "The Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren, who often quotes this very loose paraphrase, preceded by the words "The Bible says." I have been comparing what ""The Message"" says to what the Bible actually says; and in the majority of instances they are not even close. What Eugene H. Peterson says may or may not be true, but to call this the Bible is not accurate. This is one person's interpretation of the Bible. I am a seminary graduate. I have studied Greek and Hebrew. I can say without reservation that this is NOT a translation from the original languages.

Did someone call this accurate?, March 12, 2004

This is absolutely awful. It is neither a translation nor a paraphrase of the Scriptures. A paraphrase should be an easy to read rewording of a text, which does not alter the meaning of the text. Just consider what Peterson does to John 1:1, "The Word was first, the Word present to God, God present to the Word. The Word was God." In case you are thinking I am just a narrow-minded KJV only person, (which I am not), here is John 1:1 in the translation known as GOD'S WORD, "In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God." As you can see, Peterson takes a passage that is easy to read and understand in ANY translation and makes it more unclear, not clearer. It is the Holy Spirit's job to illuminate His word to us so we can understand it. Beware of thinking a translator can do the work of the Holy Spirit.

Peterson has utterly failed to produce an accurate rendering of the Scriptures. He should apologize to everyone who purchased this pathetic work, and refund their money.

Danger! "The Message" is a Mystic Paraphrase, August 26, 2003

This book is advertised as being written in today's English, so that the common person can understand it. However it is a man-centered message.

KJV - Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven

Message - Set the world right; do what's best - as above, so below.

What happened to God's Will? This is man setting the world right, doing what's best.

The Lord Jesus Christ has been replaced by Master Jesus in the Message. Master is an occultic term New Age designation of Jesus as an Ascended Master.

Acts 16:31

KJV: And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

Message: They said, "Put your entire trust in the Master Jesus. Then you'll live as you were meant to live--and everyone in your house included!"

The above paraphrase also changed the message of salvation into living your life, actually deleted any reference to salvation.

Acts 20:21

KJV: Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

Message: urging Jews and Greeks alike to a radical life-change before God and an equally radical trust in our Master Jesus.

Faith is changed to "radical trust", and repentance toward God is removed in favor of a "radical life-change".

Christ's work is changed into the power of "believing in yourself".

Matthew 9:29

KJV - Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.

Message - He touched their eyes and said, "BECOME WHAT YOU BELIEVE."

Check it out for yourself, you don't need to buy this book, just go to the online Bible Gateway ..., and you'll easily find dozens of places where the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith, of the finished work of Jesus Christ, and the holiness of God has been diluted into a soupy message of mystic works, radical life changes, and even a bath. See Titus 3:5 where the washing of regeneration is changed to a good bath.

Don't be fooled by this paraphrase. The Holy Spirit will illuminate the scriptures for you, don't let Eugene Peterson or anyone else take the place of the Holy Spirit.

A biased and dangerous paraphrase, June 17, 2003

The problem with reading a paraphrase of the Bible is that you are getting the views of the one who is doing the paraphrasing on each individual passage, and never the unadulterated biblical text. Readers of "The Message" should be very aware of the fact that this is nothing less than the views of Eugene H. Peterson passed off as the Holy Scriptures. The most disturbing thing about this paraphrase is that it warps the gospel message into something entirely different. Instead of being declared righteous through simple faith in Jesus Christ for eternal life, through reading "The Message" one could easily get the idea that salvation is by works or by faith plus works (For a clear treatment of the Gospel and just a great book, see Confident in Christ by Bob Wilkin). Mature students of the Word could use the Message as an interesting commentary alongside the Scriptures, but not by itself. I recommend sticking to a good translation (Like the NKJV).

Added to Bible Bulletin Board's "Tony Capoccia's Questions and Answers" by:

Tony Capoccia
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