NavPress/Tyndale House recently sent me a review copy of The Message 100: The Story of God in Sequence (2015). Here’s the official website: themessage100.com. This book is Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase The Message put in chronological order and separated into 100 chapters to make it read like a book. To be sure, there are chronological Bibles out there, but this is the first one on my shelves. I was happy to get it and read through big parts of it.
First, I do have to note that The Message is not my “go-to” Bible. I view it as a modern-day paraphrase or sort of a commentary on the Bible. If you’ve never read parts of it before, you’ll soon find out that it isn’t meant to be a translation. For example, here’s Psalm 41:4: “You’re the One I’ve violated, and you’ve seen it all, seen the full extent of my evil, You have all the facts before you; whatever you decide about me is fair.” Sometimes Peterson’s paraphrase is quite profound and well-stated; other times it isn’t so helpful. Using this paraphrase in my studies does help me look at the text closer, so I’m glad to own it (even if I don’t agree with all the paraphrases!).
Second, I do wish this Bible would have an index. I do roughly know the chronology of the Bible books, so I can usually find the book I’m looking for. However, if someone who wasn’t familiar with the chronology was looking for Psalms (for example), it may take awhile to find it without an index. I also wish there were words that separated one book from another. For example, James transitions to Galatians and there’s only some smallish grey print to note the change (the actual chronology of the books is also debatable, but that’s a different topic for now). Basically, these are two formatting issues that makes this Bible a little less user-friendly than it could be.
All in all, I like having this paraphrase handy. It does get me thinking, and drives me back to actual translations of the Bible when questions arise. And, again, some of Peterson’s paraphrases are actually quite helpful, so that benefits my studies. So if you want a Bible paraphrase (not translation!), and you want it in readable chronological fashion (albeit with a few formatting issues), here’s one to consider: The Message 100: The Story of God in Sequence.
I received this Bible from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.