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
Evangelistic Circus in a Box
Festival con Dios links with Palau organization to expand work of proclamation
Current IssueIncredible Indian Christianity: A Special Report on the World’s Most Vibrant Christward Movement
Subscriber Access Only Incredible Indian Christianity: A Special Report on the World’s Most Vibrant Christward Movement
Why it’s the best and worst of times for India’s burgeoning churches.
RecommendedYou Are the Manure of the Earth
Subscriber Access Only You Are the Manure of the Earth
Jesus' metaphor about salt was actually about fertilizer.
TrendingSpeak Truth to Trump
Speak Truth to Trump
Evangelicals, of all people, should not be silent about Donald Trump's blatant immorality.
Editor's PickTen Reasons Why Theology Matters
Ten Reasons Why Theology Matters
Most Christians agree theology is important, but can't articulate why. These reasons can help.
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.