Guest / Limited Access /

Eugene Peterson has worked on The Message, his rendering of the Bible in contemporary language, for 12 years. This year he can celebrate the arrival of The Message as a complete text. Peterson's work has won praise from diverse readers—from the Protestant contemplative Richard J. Foster to football coach Bill McCartney, and from theologian J. I. Packer to rock star Bono. The Message began taking shape when Peterson was leading a Bible study at the church he founded, Christ Our King Presbyterian in Bel Air, Maryland, and he sought to make Galatians more accessible to his class. After John Stine, an editor at NavPress, read Peterson's treatment of Galatians, he suggested that Peterson begin writing similar versions of other New Testament books. Peterson recently spoke by phone with CT associate Douglas LeBlanc on the challenges of writing a paraphrase translation.

Was there a breakthrough moment when you became convinced that you should expand your work from Galatians to the rest of the New Testament?

I was a reluctant participant in this. I really didn't think that I could do it or that it could be done. But I agreed with my editor, John, that I would. In some ways Paul is easy. There's a lot of challenge to Paul, but the gospels are something quite different. There's a kind of clean, lucid clarity to them, and I just didn't think I could do that. But I agreed to do 10 chapters of Matthew and then let John decide whether he thought we could do this. And so it was just as bad as I thought it would be. It was very wooden, and it just wasn't working. I just kind of let go and became playful. And that was when the Sermon on the Mount started. I remember I was down in my basement study, and I did the Beatitudes in about 10 minutes. ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this Issue
Subscriber Access Only
A Crack in the Wall
Two recent books help explain Thomas Jefferson's intent for separation of church and state.
Current IssueShane Claiborne’s Passionate Plea Against the Death Penalty
Subscriber Access Only
Shane Claiborne’s Passionate Plea Against the Death Penalty
The author and activist puts a human face on the capital punishment debate.
RecommendedHow the American Bible Society Became Evangelical
How the American Bible Society Became Evangelical
A look back at a major turning point in the 200-year history of the storied organization.
TrendingNicole Cliffe: How God Messed Up My Happy Atheist Life
Nicole Cliffe: How God Messed Up My Happy Atheist Life
I had no untapped, unanswered yearnings. All was well in the state of Denmark. And then it wasn’t.
Editor's PickLetters with the Mosque Next Door
Letters with the Mosque Next Door
How a budding friendship between a pastor and an imam brought a community together.
Christianity Today
'I Didn't Want to Be Cute'
hide thisOctober 7 October 7

In the Magazine

October 7, 2002

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.