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What Is The Message Bible

What Is The Bible

The Message of Bible Prophecy Today

The Bible is the account of Gods action in the world, and his purpose with all creation. The writing of the Bible took place over sixteen centuries and is the work of over forty human authors. It is quite an amazing collection of 66 books with very different styles, all containing the message God desired us to have.

This compilation of booklets contains an astonishing variety of literary styles. It provides many stories about the lives of good and bad people, about battles and journeys, about the life of Jesus, and about early church activity. It comes to us in narratives and dialogues, in proverbs and parables, in songs and allegories, in history and prophecy.The accounts in the Bible were not generally written down as they occurred. Rather they were told over and over again and handed down through the years, before eventually being written down. Yet the same themes may be found throughout the book. Along with the diversity, there is also remarkable unity throughout.

So what is the Bible? Well, in addition to all the above, the Bible is:

From Galatians To The Message

Eventually, Petersons translation of Galatians appeared in his book Traveling Light. When it did, an editor at NavPress was so gripped by what he read that he photocopied the Galatians passages and pasted them together. Convinced by the flow of thought, the emotional wallop of words, and the forcefulness of Pauls letter, the editor wrote to Peterson in April of 1990 to ask him if he would consider translating the entire New Testament. At first Peterson resisted:

I said, I cant do the whole New Testament! It took me a whole year to do . And besides, I said, I dont think I could do the Gospels. Theres such a kind of a purity and clearness and limpid openness. I dont think I could said, Well, do ten chapters of Matthew and let me decide. So I said, Okay. So I did.

The idea came at an opportune time. Peterson was contemplating leaving his pastorate at Christ Our King Presbyterian Church in Bel Air, Maryland. He felt God was calling him to spend the latter years of his life ministering to a different congregationreaders, who over the years had appreciated his numerous books and dozens of articles. When Pittsburgh Seminary offered him the post of writer-in-residence, Peterson sensed Gods clear leading. Finally, he agreed to translate the entire New Testament.

History Of The Message Bible

Every Bible translation arises from a need. A gap in understanding between the people of a time and the text that has existed for centuries prior.

The King James Bible arose from the need for an English Bible amongst the general population of 17th century England. The ESV Bible exists to continue the legacy of the King James Bible, but for a modern audience. The NIV Bible was birthed from a need for a Bible that reflected the language of 1970s America.

So where does The Message fit into the field of Bible translations?

It begins with one man, the late Eugene H. Peterson. Peterson was a man with a flair for writing and a talent for making Christianity immediate and accessible to those around him. It was whilst he was surrounded by people that the seed of The Message Bible took root:

As remarkable as this sentiment is, its nothing new. In the introduction to The Message Bible, Peterson tells the story of Saint Augustine, who found himself in a similar situation. was greatly offended when he first read the Bible. Instead of a book cultivated and polished in the literary style he admired so much, he found it full of homespun, earthy stories of plain, unimportant people he realized that God had not taken the form of a sophisticated intellectual to teach us about highbrow heavenly culture. The Bible is not a work of high art, arcane history or obscure references. For Peterson, its a conversation between God and humanity.

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What Is The Gospel

Gospel is a common word in the Christian world. Some think of it in connection with a genre of religious music, but in the Bible the word gospel describes a message. It literally means a message of good news.

Most churches include the word gospel in their mission statements. Typically, the gospel is described as the gospel of Jesus Christ, and it is seen as the message of His life, death and resurrection.

But was this the central message that Jesus actually taught? Was His message only about Himself?

A study of the Gospel accounts of Christs life pinpoints exactly what His messageHis gospelwas all about!

Notice Mark 1:14: Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God. That statement is pretty plainJesus preached the gospel about the Kingdom of God!

There are many scriptures that reinforce this fact. For example, Matthew 9:35 says, Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom.

At one point in His ministry, Jesus was about to leave an area where He had been preaching for some time. The people of that area tried to persuade Him not to go . Jesus response was, I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent .

Let that sink in.

But where is that message in mainstream Christianity today?

Example Verses From The Message Bible

The Message Numbered Edition Bible (Hardcover

This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. – John 3:16

I know what Im doing. I have it all planned outplans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. – Jeremiah 29:11

Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you. – Ephesians 4:32

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What Is The Main Message Of The Bible

The Bible addresses many basic issues of life and death, of the present and the future, and so it is difficult to select just one theme as the main one. Students of the Bible have generally grouped the leading topics treated in the Bible under two main heads. Lets look briefly at both of them.

The first school suggests that the main message of the Bible is the wonderful presentation of salvation. The good news of salvation in Jesus Christ is the fundamental message of the Scripture. Under this head there are many basic truths:

The second school of thought views the main message of the Bible from a much different perspective. These readers agree that salvation is certainly very important, but it is only part of a much greater message. That bigger message goes far beyond the man-centered focus of salvation to embrace the purpose of all time and space. We may call this message the revelation of Gods plan and purpose for the universe. Under this head there are also many basic truths:

Both these majestic messages are found in the Bible. They are simply two perspectives on one majestic theme: Gods Plan For His People And His Cosmic Kingdom. What is your hearts response to his message?

What Is The Message

The Message HistoryThe Message: The Bible in Contemporary LanguageThe New Testament in Contemporary EnglishThe Message Translation MethodThe MessageThe MessageThe Message Pros and ConsThe MessageThe MessageThe MessageThe MessageThe MessageChristianity TodayThe MessageThe Message Sample verses

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The Story Of Salvation

The central message or theme of the Bible is God’s plan of salvation–his way of providing deliverance from sin and spiritual death through repentance and faith. In the Old Testament, the concept of salvation is rooted in Israel’s deliverance from Egypt in the book of Exodus.

The New Testament reveals the source of salvation: Jesus Christ. By faith in Jesus, the promised Messiah, believers are saved from God’s judgment of sin and its consequence, which is eternal death.

In the Bible, God reveals himself to us. We discover his nature and character, his love, his justice, his forgiveness, and his truth. Many have called the Bible a guidebook for living the Christian faith. Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”

How Christianity Lost Jesus Message

What’s the Message of the Bible?

After Christ was resurrected and ascended to heaven, He founded a Church. The purpose of that Churchthat called-out group of peoplewas to carry on the work He did while on earth. Christ commissioned His Church to go into the entire world and preach the same message that He preached while He was on earth .

The Bible shows that the early Church faithfully followed Christs directive and preached the gospel of the Kingdom of God . The members of the early Church also put their focus on the coming Kingdom .

Jesus Christs words are clearthe Kingdom of God is to be the No. 1 focus and emphasis in the lives of His followers. In fact, it was the core of His gospel message. But as the first century progressed, the intense focus on the Kingdom began to wane as false beliefs began to creep into Christianity. The apostle Paul wrote that he perceived Christians in his time were turning away from the true gospel to a different gospel .

In what was likely his final letter, Paul gave multiple warnings about his fear that people were abandoning true doctrines and being led astray into false teachings .

Other apostles wrote similar warnings .

The understanding of the true gospel and the focus on the Kingdom of God were minimized and lost over the centuries after the end of the New Testament era.

A key factor in this was Emperor Constantines acceptance of a popular form of Christianity and its subsequent adoption as the official religion of the Roman Empire.

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The Canon And Apocrypha

The word canon means “a rule” or “standard for measurement.” The Canon of Scripture refers to the list of books that officially measured up to the standard, and, therefore, were worthy of inclusion. Only the canonical books are considered the “divinely inspired” authoritative Word of God, and, thus, rightfully belong in the Bible.

Both Jews and early church fathers agreed on 39 divinely inspired books as comprising the Old Testament Canon of Scripture. , however, included the books of the Apocrypha. A large portion of the Apocrypha was officially recognized by the Roman Catholic Church as part of the biblical Canon at the Council of Trent in A.D. 1546. Today, Coptic, Greek, and Russian Orthodox churches also accept these books. The word Apocrypha means “hidden.” The books of the Apocrypha are not considered authoritative in Judaism and Protestant Christian churches.

Comparison To Other Translations

The Message was translated by Peterson from the original languages. It is a highly idiomatic translation, using contemporary slang from the US rather than a more neutral International English, and it falls on the extreme dynamic end of the dynamic and formal equivalence spectrum. Some scholars, like Michael J. Gorman, consider some of Peterson’s idiomatic renderings unconventional.

1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,he leads me beside quiet waters,3 he refreshes my soul.He guides me along the right paths for his names sake.4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley,I will fear no evil, for you are with me your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

1 The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want.2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

on earth as it is in heaven.11 Give us today our daily bread.12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.'”

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The First Stirrings Of The Message

The Message began with one pastor who was looking for a way to get the Bible into the hearts and lives of the people in his church. Eugene Peterson recalls:

While I was teaching a class on Galatians, I began to realize that the adults in my class werent feeling the vitality and directness that I sensed as I read and studied the New Testament in its original Greek. Writing straight from the original text, I began to attempt to bring into English the rhythms and idioms of the original language. I knew that the early readers of the New Testament were captured and engaged by these writings and I wanted my congregation to be impacted in the same way.

Peterson could tell from the way they stirred their cups of coffee that his parishioners simply werent connecting with the real meaning of Galatians. So he began to translate into English the rhythms and idioms directly from the original ancient Greek, without looking at other English Bibles. As he shared his translation with them, Petersons congregation quit stirring their coffee and felt stirred themselves. Pauls own passion and excitement began to emerge from the text into the lives of Petersons own Sunday School class. They began to listen with new interest as Paul guided young Christians in the ways of Jesus Christ.

In Memory Of Eugene Peterson A Guide As Well As A Fellow Traveler

Author Of The Message Dies: I Have Several Problems With ...

Eugene Peterson lived the joy of the Christian life. Intent on sharing it with others, he found himself translating the Bible for his congregation. A scholar of the Greek and Hebrew languages, Peterson worked to get the ancient text in their language while being true to the Bible’s original languages. Peterson never tired of sharing the invitation that is Gods Word.

“In-between The Man and The Message

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Preaching The True Gospel Today

The true gospel message of Jesus Christ is not a minor issue. As we have already read, Jesus connected a belief in the true gospel to repentance , and the apostle Paul warned that preaching a different gospel brings a curse . Believing the true gospel is vital to your salvation!

The true gospel is the message of good news about the coming Kingdom of God. It is a message of hopefor this entire world and for you and your family. It is the message that God is building a family that will soon rule the entire earth, bringing peace and happiness.

The established Christian churches have lost that true gospel message. Discern magazine and the Life, Hope & Truth website exist to continue the proclamation of the true gospel. Even though we are a minority voice in the world of religion, we are dedicated to teaching the same message that Jesus Christ taught.

We try to spread Jesus gospel message about the Kingdom of God as far and wide as possible. We want to help as many people as possible adopt Jesus message as the central focus of their lives. Seeking first the Kingdom of God can change your life in many ways!

You need to learn more about that true gospel message. We recommend reading our booklet The Mystery of the Kingdom.

About the Author

Erik Jones

Erik Jones is a full-time writer and editor at the Life, Hope & Truth offices in McKinney, Texas.

Meet The Pastor Committed To Seeing His Congregation Read The Bible

Eugene Peterson scholar, pastor, author, and poet has written more than thirty books including As Kingfishers Catch Fire, Run with the Horses, and A Long Obedience in the Same Direction. For his work on The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language, Peterson received the prestigious ECPA Gold Medallion Book Award.

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The Whole Message Of The Bible In 16 Words

Show All

16 Key Words. 1 Overarching Message.

At the heart of the Bible is one overarching message: God saving his people through their promised Messiah. This accessible introduction to the main point of the Bible traces the development of sixteen key themes creation, covenant, kingdom, temple, judgment, and morefrom Genesis to Revelation, showing how both the Old and New Testaments come together to declare a single unified message. A concise primer to biblical theology, this book helps readers trace Gods unfolding plan of redemption throughout the Bible.

Read Chapter 1

Chris Bruno serves as assistant professor of New Testament and Greek at Bethlehem College & Seminary in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He previously taught Bible and theology at Cedarville University and Northland International University and served as a pastor at Harbor Church in Honolulu, Hawaii. Chris and his wife, Katie, have four sons.

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Scripture Index


Trustworthy tools like this are greatly needed for equipping the saints to understand and apply the whole story of the Bible to all of life and ministry. Im looking forward to putting this resource to work. Bill Walsh, Director of International Outreach, The Gospel Coalition

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How Easy Is The Message Bible To Read

Corona Virus Found In the Bible Code With Message from God

The Message Bible is written at about a 4th Grade Reading Level. This means readers from the ages of 9 or 10 should be able to confidently read the majority of The Message Bible text and understand what it means.

What determines this level is the total number of unique words, as well as sentence length and the length of the words themselves. Other grammatical features also carry weight in the score. The greater the complexity, the higher the score. The reading level doesnt take into account any understanding of a text’s history and context. Only the words and grammar.

As an example, this sentence you are currently reading would score at a Grade Nine on the readability test.

This sentence would be at Grade Two.

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