Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Message - Remix: A Review

About The Message ReMix:

The Message//REMIX 2.0 is a reading Bible for youth that comes loaded with expanded book introductions, written for young people, that set the scene for the book. With an attractive new cover, students will once again want to read God's Word.

Verse-numbered paragraphs help students track where they are in the chapter. Maps and charts help for easy reference.

A topical index of issues students face help them locate the appropriate Scripture reference.

Features of The Message
The Bible translated in American English
Single-column format and an exclusive numbering system unique to The Message
Written thought for thought in words that people speak everyday
Translated by Eugene H. Peterson from the original Greek and Hebrew text and evaluated and confirmed by a committee of twenty-one exegetical scholars of Old and New Testament languages and theology.
Guide from Eugene H. Peterson on how to use this reading Bible
Introductions to each book and sections of the Bible
"The Story of the Bible in Five Acts"
Benefits of The Message
Paired with a favorite study Bible, the passages in The Message are easier to understand and study
The Message reads like a novel, making it a true reading Bible
Allows readers to experience firsthand the same relevance and directness of the original Scriptures, in today's American English
All the different parts of the Bible come together as one narrative.
The Message will become more lively to the readers as they better understand how to use it
Readers will learn more about key phrases and words used in The Message

A Message from Eugene Peterson:

If there is anything distinctive about The Message, perhaps it is because the text is shaped by the hand of a working pastor. For most of my adult life I have been given a primary responsibility for getting the message of the Bible into the lives of the men and women with whom I worked. I did it from pulpit and lectern, in home Bible studies and at mountain retreats, through conversations in hospitals and nursing homes, over coffee in kitchens and while strolling on an ocean beach. The Message grew from the soul of forty years of pastoral work.
As I worked at this task, this Word of God, which forms and transforms human lives, did form and transform human lives. I didn’t start out as a pastor, I began my vocational life as a teacher and for several years taught the biblical languages of Hebrew and Greek in a theological seminary. I expected to live the rest of my life as a professor and scholar, teaching and writing and studying. But then my life took a sudden vocational turn to pastoring in a congregation.
I was now plunged into quite a different world. The first noticeable difference was that nobody seemed to care much about the Bible, which so recently people had been paying me to teach them. Many of the people I worked with now knew virtually nothing about it, had never read it, and weren’t interested in learning. Many others had spent years reading it but for them it had gone flat through familiarity, reduced to clichés. Bored, they dropped it. And there weren’t many people in between. Meanwhile I had taken on as my life work the responsibility of getting these very people to listen, really listen, to the message in this book. I knew I had my work cut out for me.
I lived in two language worlds, the world of the Bible and the world of Today. So out of necessity I became a “translator” (although I wouldn’t have called it that then), daily standing on the border between two worlds, getting the language of the Bible that God uses to create and save us, heal and bless us, judge and rule over us, into a language of Today that we use to gossip and tell stories, give directions and do business, sing songs and talk to our children.
And all the time those old biblical languages, those powerful and vivid Hebrew and Greek originals, kept working their way underground in my speech, giving energy and sharpness to words and phrases, expanding the imagination of the people with whom I was working to hear the language of the Bible in the language of Today and the language of Today in the language of the Bible.
I did that for thirty years in one congregation. And then one day (it was April 30, 1990) I got a letter from an editor (from NavPress) asking me to work on a new version of the Bible along the lines of what I had been doing as a pastor. I agreed. The next ten years was harvest time. The Message is the result.
The Message is a reading Bible. It is not intended to replace the excellent study Bibles that are available. My intent here (as it was earlier in my congregation and community) is simply to get people reading it who don’t know that the Bible is read-able at all, at least by them, and to get people who long ago lost interest in the Bible to read it again. But I haven’t tried to make it easy – there is much in the Bible that is hard to understand. So at some point along the way, soon or late, it will be important to get a standard study Bible to facilitate further study. Meanwhile, read in order to live, praying as you read, “God let it be with me just as you say.”
Find out more about The Message here.

You can read an interview with The Message Author, Eugene H. Peterson, here

About The Author:

EUGENE H. PETERSON is a writer, poet, and retired pastor. He has authored more than thirty-four books (not including The Message). He is Professor Emeritus of Spiritual Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. Eugene also founded Christ Our King Presbyterian Church in Bel Air, Maryland, where he ministered for twenty-nine years. After teaching at a seminary, he created The Message, a vibrant Bible paraphrase that connects with today's readers like no other. 

It took Peterson ten years to complete. He worked not from any English text but from the original Hebrew and Greek texts to guarantee authenticity. At the same time, his ear was always tuned to the cadence and energy of the English spoken every day on the streets. He lives with his wife, Jan, in Montana.
My Review:

Over the years I have had the privilege to study God's Word, found in the Holy Bible, via several different translations. Between my husband and I, we have approximentally ten different translations and several paraphrases Bibles in our personal home library. This is due, in part, that we were Bible College students and used several translations in our studies. However, we also have them because it helps us with our own personal studying, many years removed from formal education.  One of the translations that both of us enjoy is The Message by Eugene Peterson. 

Recently, I had the opprotunity to review The Message Remix, designed specifically for youth and young adults! The Message is a translation that I I use for more everyday reading, or devotional reading. It is not meant for deep study, like passages or word studies. For that, I tend to use the English Standard Version (ESV) or New American Standard Bible (NASB). However, recently I have found myself quite drawn to The Message because Peterson has done a wonderful job of translating scripture in a way that everyone, young and old, can relate to and understand how to apply God's word to daily life.

One of my favorite passages of scripture is Romans 12, which the ladies Bible study I attend is currently studying. Here is how it reads in the ESV:

I appeal to you therefore, brothers,[a] by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.[b] Do not be conformed to this world,[c] but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.[d]

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among younot to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.

 For as in one body we have many members,[e] and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: ifprophecy, in proportion to our faith;

 if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads,[f] with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 

11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit,[g] serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.[h] Never be wise in your own sight. 

17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it[i] to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 

20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

And now the same passage in The Message:

1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

I’m speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.

4-6 In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we’re talking about is Christ’s body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn’t amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.

6-8 If you preach, just preach God’s Message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don’t take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don’t get bossy; if you’re put in charge, don’t manipulate; if you’re called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don’t let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face.
9-10 Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.

11-13 Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.
14-16 Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.

17-19 Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.”

20-21 Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.

While I love my deep study times, there is just times when I need to look at a piece of scripture, and have that "a-ha" moment and think, "yes, that is exactly what I needed". The Message does that. 

Also, this is a great Bible translation for new Christians and youth that need something easy to read and understand and get them interested in digging deeper when they are ready. I love that many of the words that Peterson uses hit the heart exactly when needed. For anyone who has said it is boring to read the Old Testament, Peterson does a great job at capturing your attention, and I find I read through the first part of the Bible much faster using The Message than other translations. Peterson translates from the original languages and that makes it more literal then a paraphrase but does not include study notes, but has pretty decent Book introductions, a few maps, a topic guide and a few other charts for the reader to check out. 

 I actually feel like I am reading a novel when I use this translation and that is definitely not a negative at all! I look forward to when my girls are old enough to read The Message as it will be a great one for them (there is a Children's version that I would like to get a hold of). 

Overall, I really have enjoyed my experience using The Message and it would be a fantastic gift idea for anyone this upcoming holiday season.

I highly recommend this Bible and give it a huge thumbs up!

BUY IT: You can purchase The Message Remix at your favorite bookseller from NavPress

***I received a complimentary copy of this Bible, courtesy of NavPress and Graf-Martin Communications Inc., for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

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