There are few more harrowing words that have been uttered from America’s pulpits than these: “according to the Message translation of the Bible.”
Be clear about this: the Message is not and never was intended to be a translation of the Bible. As the story goes, the author of this “version,” Eugene Peterson, wanted to bring the passion that he felt for the text to those whom he was teaching. He saw with frustration people sitting and listlessly stirring their coffee with total apathy for the Scripture. Beginning with the book of Galations, Peterson began to phrase by phrase put the meaning he read into the Bible to help its hearers understand his own passion.
Seriously, the book should have a disclaimer printed on the front: “read at your own risk.” While Peterson actually did base his writing on the original Greek, he undoubtly did so in a very isegesical (“to read into”) way rather than a scholarly, exegetical (“to read out of“) way. What this means is rather than getting the original intention of the original authors of the biblical text, we have what Peterson thinks was intended.