Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What about "The Message Bible"

There are many articles about the Message on the net and most are glowing rave reviews of the book.

But I wonder if those reviewers have really spent much time comparing it with the original texts and with the KJV, NKJV, NAS, and the many other versions of the Bible which adhere more closely to the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts.

Why do I bring this up? you ask.

Well, recently someone quoted a portion of Joshua 24:15 from the Message

24:15 “If you decide that it’s a bad thing to worship God, then choose a god you’d rather serve—and do it today. Choose one of the gods your ancestors worshiped from the country beyond The River, or one of the gods of the Amorites, on whose land you’re now living. As for me and my family, we’ll worship God.”         The Message Bible

BUT, in the KJV and the other 'mainstream' versions of the Bible this passage reads:

24:15 "And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD     KJV

Hmmmm. As you can see, there is considerable difference in the two versions.

And although there are several significant changes in the 2 versions of that verse, the phrase that was in question was that well known and often quoted phrase: "… as for me and my house, we will SERVE the LORD"

The Message Bible says: " … as for me and my family, we will WORSHIP God"

When corresponding with the one who had quoted from the Message, they responded that the Hebrew word for 'serve' could also be translated 'worship.' 

They said,
"Original Word: עָבַד
Transliteration: abad
The word is translated most often in the Old Testament as "serve" but is used 7 times in the Old Testament as "worship"

Well, not being a Hebrew scholar nor able to read Hebrew, I must assume that this is the correct definition of the word according to some source.

And my trusty old Strong's Concordance agrees that the Hebrew word used in that verse is # 5647 Abad. 

Yes, same word. 


The definition of Abad, according to the Strong's Concordance is: "a prim root; to work (in any sense); by impl. to serve, till (caus.) enslave, etc: - x be, keep in bondage, be bondmen, bond-service, compel, do, dress, ear, execute + husbandman, keep, labour (-ing man) bring to pass, (cause to, make to) serve (-ing, self), (be, become) servant (-s), do (use) service, till (-er), transgress [from margin], (set a) work, be wrought, worshipper."

Hmm. Interesting that 'worship' is not mentioned until the very last definition where the word 'worshipper' is found. 

Obviously, worship (worshipper) is not the most accepted or logical definition of 5647 Abad.

Also, interestingly, the definition of Abad in the Book "New Wilson's Old Testament Word Studies" was lengthy and similar to the Strong's definition noted above but did not include 'worship' in the definition at all.  

So, the question is, why did Eugene Peterson decide to use 'worship' when it is normally translated 'serve' in Strong's Concordance, The New Wilson's OT Word Studies, and in essentially all of the mainstream Biblical texts?

Did he have something in mind?

It seems to me that there is a big difference in serving and worshiping.

And this is not the only place where there are 'unusual' textual changes made by Peterson in his so-called translation, The Message.

Indeed the entire book, The Message, is replete with such changes, alterations, and discrepancies.

Both the OT and the NT versions of The Message are now available and are being widely read.

But problems with the 'translation' were already apparent when the NT version was released, years before the OT version was ready.

Because of early translation differences observed in the NT,  an article addressing some of them was posted in 1993 after the NT Version of The Message was released.

Of course, OT discrepancies, such as in the Joshua passage, are not addressed in the 1993 article, but many more are likely present in the OT version of The Message and it would be helpful if someone, perhaps you?, would address them.

But, in the meantime, to see a few of the many errors, heresies, and deviations in the New Testament portion of The Message, you will want to read the 1993 article.


And if that didn't curl your hair or give you the 'big one' (heart attack), HERE'S ANOTHER LINK