The other day I posted part 1 of Introduction to THE MESSAGE. Here’s the next portion of what Eugene Peterson, the translator of The Message says about reading it.
Part 2: Introduction to THE MESSAGE
Through reading the Bible, we see that there is far more to the world, more to us, more to what we see and more to what we don’t see—more to everything!—than we had ever dreamed, and that this “more” has to do with God.
This is new for many of us, a different sort of book—a book that reads us even as we read it. We are used to picking up and reading books for what we can get out of them: information we can use, inspiration to energize us, instructions on how to do something or other, entertainment to while away a rainy day, wisdom that will guide us into living better. These things can and do take place when reading the Bible, but the Bible is given to us in the first place simply to invite us to make ourselves at home in the world of God, God’s word and world, and become familiar with the way God speaks and the ways in which we answer him with our lives.
Our reading turns up some surprises. The biggest surprise for many is how accessible this book is to those who simply open it up and read it. Virtually anyone can read this Bible with understanding. The reason that new translations are made every couple of generations or so is to keep the language of the Bible current with the common speech we use, the very language in which it was first written. We don’t have to be smart or well- educated to understand it, for it is written in the words and sentences we hear in the marketplace, on school playgrounds, and around the dinner table. Because the Bible is so famous and revered, many assume that we need experts to explain and interpret it for us—and, of course, there are some things that need to be explained. But the first men and women who listened to these words now written in our Bibles were ordinary, everyday, working-class people. One of the greatest of the early translators of the Bible into English, William Tyndale, said that he was translating so that “the boy that driveth the plough” would be able to read the Scriptures.
There seems to be some criticism of Peterson, which as far as I can tell takes quotes of his out of context, and attempts to throw darts at the man and his work. Stay tuned for the rest of the Introduction to The Message, and I think you’ll see the love and reverence He has for the Creator, and His Word, as well as the deep passion he has devoted his life to, helping others to know and experience this God through His Word. Isn’t that what it’s all about?