Book Review: The Message (Eugene Peterson)

Available from Amazon, ISBN 9781576839164

By Sophia Reeder

When I was asked to write a book review for the diocese- on a book that had an influence on my spiritual life- one book came instantly to my mind.  It is the book that as Christians we should all have read many times over, contemplating it, talking it over with others- this is the book we should be familiar with above all others.  And yet, how many of us can honestly say that we have read it? I can't.  Sections yes, verses, chapters, even whole books.  But the entire bible?  You're kidding right? I've run into the same problem as so many people before me-the bible is boring.  Thee, thy, thou.. don't get me wrong, I'm a profound lover of Rite I services- I love old, sacred, services, filled with chants and incense.  Many people think this is unusual for a teenager, but in reality many of us yearn for something more in our spiritual lives, just as many of our parents and mentors do.  So we try to read the bible.  And we fail- we fall asleep, snoozing over the long winded ancestries and obsolete rules- but it doesn't have to be this way! There is a new translation of the bible, called The Message.  Translated by Eugene H. Peterson, it is, quite simply, the bible in contemporary language.  It features introductions to each book, putting everything into perspective for the reader.  This translation is for anyone who has ever read the bible and then stopped and said "Wait… what the heck did I just read?" This translation makes the bible accessible, makes it so that the reader can read and actually comprehend, instead of letting their eyes glaze over as they read simply to say they read it in bible study the next day- yeah I've been there. 

I still go back to my NIV bible if I want to appreciate the beauty of the psalms and such in more flowery language- but with The Message, I'm learning to read the bible and enjoy the whole thing, and highly recommend it to anyone and everyone looking for a deeper understanding of the bible and of God.