ANYONE WHO HAS LEAFED through The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language and read a line or two knows that Eugene H. Peterson has an ear. Check that, two ears. Operating in a kind of stereophonic semantic/spiritual mode, connected to the deep hum between sound and silence, Mr. Peterson has one ear for the beauty and truth of everyday language, and another for the timeless and practical spiritual message that filters through the Bible's ancient texts.
Take the familiar third verse of the 23rd Psalm, which the King James Version translates, "He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake." Perfection. But hear how Peterson crafts the same passage: "True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction." Eugene H. Peterson, The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language (Colorado Spirings, Colorado: Navpress, 2002), p. 937 .
Simple and pure, right? I first came across that line some years back when feeling down and out and at a crossroads. I'll never forget how revitalized I felt. The Message's message got me. It restored my soul. Like an online "instant message," God's eternal message of comfort and guidance felt familiar and alive.