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  • Writer's pictureJack Hager

Eugene Peterson, 1932-2018

As I learned of Peterson’s death, I reflected on the first time I read the “Message.”

His paraphrase was attacked by many, loved by many and now not known by many.

I do not recommend it as a primary Bible. Peterson implied that in his “Introduction,” : “There will be time enough for study later on. But first, it is important simply to read, leisurely and thoughtfully.”

I often read “The Message” to compare it to a passage I’m reading and/or studying. I sometimes read a psalm or two before bed.

Peterson’s words are earthy, gritty, real.

He wrote many, many books; the ones I have read have been a blessing.

Here’s a couple familiar verses in “The Message”:

John 3.16ff: “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. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.”

Psalm 23:

1-3 God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from. True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction.

4 Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I’m not afraid when you walk at my side. Your trusty shepherd’s crook makes me feel secure.

5 You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies. You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing.

6 Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life. I’m back home in the house of God for the rest of my life.

Probably not for everyone; but if you’ve never given “The Message” a look, now might be an appropriate time.

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