According to the always-majestic publisher of Eugene Peterson’s website, he began to create The Message Bible version during a series of lessons on Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians. His congregation was bored with the Biblical text, and so, in order to wake them up, he wrote a paraphrase of the Epistle. Here are six beautiful facts about the controversial translation.
1. Eugene Peterson, author of The Message Bible, spilled multiple bowls of chili on his manuscripts.
Bowl after bowl after bowl slipped through Eugene’s notoriously weak hands onto his precious work. His family maintains that they warned him, but he insisted on holding those bowls while he typed and proof-read.
2. A simple CONTROL + F “search” within the digital version will reveal the exact moments Eugene Peterson spilled all of those bowls of chili.
Statements like, “sdafsjdhfa;soihsaoishdg,” “No not aga—,” “kasdf;oshdoigas,” and “Please no no no nono” can be found all over The Message Bible translation.
3. The plural adjective, “Kowabunga’s,” including his well-documented Zaccaeus name-replacement, “Tomahawk Dan,” were written in a purposefully-bold font.
These emboldened words were particularly special to him, for one reason or another.
4. Pastor John Macarthur, antagonistic towards the extreme dyanamic-equivalent version of God’s Word, slept in an intentionally-small hammock outside of Eugene’s compound to protest the work.
In 2005, Pastor Macarthur reportedly had enough of hipster-appeasing Peterson and slept on a tiny hammock in Eugene’s beautiful front yard. As far as we know, this is all John did — no words were used, no signs were held — he just slept in that micro-hammock for days. Unfortunately, he went unnoticed and it rained a few times.
5. Eugene almost threw in the towel when he realized how many people were upset about his attempt to make the Bible readable for your normal, everyday hipster. Then, several roller-coasters later, he gave up giving up when he forgot everyone was upset.
Early 2003, Peterson had a real PR problem on his hands. His closest confidants leaked all of those times he spilled bowls of rich meats and beans to the press, and he almost didn’t recover. However, after saddling up on a few roller-coasters, he forgot about the whole ordeal and went back to writing.
6. The Message was published piecemeal over a nine-year period because of frustration, roller-coasters, and all those bowls of chili spilled over everything.
The New Testament was published in 1993, the Hebrew Bible Wisdom Books were published in 1998, the Hebrew Bible Prophets in 2000, the Pentateuch was released in 2001, and the Books of History came out in 2002. All of it could’ve been released at once in the 1990’s if Eugene Peterson hadn’t spilled all of that red, flavored water with sweet beef and beans inside.