I have a lot of Bibles. Call it an occupational hazard. There are study Bibles. Bibles in various translations. Children’s Bibles, teen friendly Bibles, and Bibles I wonder where they came from. Many were gifts, others I purchased along my own journey.
When Eugene Peterson’s The Message first hit the shelves in October of 2002, there was a collective sigh of relief. People who had challenges reading any of the many translations of the Bible, now had, as Peterson himself calls it, a paraphrase of the Bible in today’s language.
The Message is one of the many Bibles I own. Mine is a small, compact Bible. I bought it when I started Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) at the University of Virginia. I needed a Bible that would fit in my white lab coat pocket.
Much as The Living Bible paraphrase a generation before had drawn people closer to God, so The Message does so. The gift of the paraphrase is that you are able to delve deep in the text, like a story. It provides a level of comfort where we are surely to meet God maybe for the first time, maybe for the first time again.
The Message 100 is the entire text of The Message sectioned off into 100 readings. Seems simple enough. Each reading covers a handful of chapters from the Bible, which is convent for those who are starting to read the Bible for the first time, or for those who are looking for a reading plan to read the Bible as a devotional.
What’s different is that the 100 readings are in chronological sequence according to when they were written. While the first four readings are from the first book of the Bible, Genesis, the next four come from Job.
This is what I appreciate the most about this version. You can settle in your big, comfy chair, read, and get lost in the story. Which is the way the Story is meant to be. We should get lost in it and experience the story. It provides a new and helpful way to experience the Bible for new and seasoned readers.
Thanks to Tyndale House for a complimentary copy in exchange for this review.