The Utter Uselessness of The Message Translation

Joe at ‘ru’mi’na’tions’ posted something today, pulling from one of the worse bible translations known to man – sometimes even worse than the JW’s New World Translation. He quotes from The Message,

Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.

It is found in Ephesian 1.7-10. Go read his commentary if you have a second, but let’s compare a few translations to The Message:

He is so rich in kindness that he purchased our freedom through the blood of his Son, and our sins are forgiven. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding. God’s secret plan has now been revealed to us; it is a plan centered on Christ, designed long ago according to his good pleasure. And this is his plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ–everything in heaven and on earth. (Ephesians 1:7-10 NLT)

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he lavished on us in all wisdom and insight. He did this when he revealed to us the secret of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, toward the administration of the fullness of the times, to head up all things in Christ-the things in heaven and the things on earth. (Ephesians 1:7-10 NET)

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth–in Him. (Ephesians 1:7-10 NKJV)

Is the Message the bible of the Prosperity and Hedonist cult? Anyway, let me give you some advice if you are shopping for a good bible – stay away from The Message

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16 Replies to “The Utter Uselessness of The Message Translation”

  1. Gee, Polycarp, why don’t you come out and tell us how you really feel?

    I’ve never really read The Message, but it looks like I’m not missing much. I won’t rush out to get a copy.

  2. I like the Message very much when used in its proper context. Technically, it is not a translation but a paraphrase. Eugene Peterson, whose other works I cannot recommend highly enough, suggests that the Message merely supplement standard “good” translations. The Message is a paraphrase in the tradition of JB Phillips’ paraphrase of the Bible.

    See my review of the Message here:

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