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The Message

The New Testament in Contemporary Language
Written by: Eugene H. Peterson
Narrated by: Kelly Ryan Dolan, Carol Nix
Length: 19 hrs and 27 mins

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Publisher's Summary

"This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need to be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life."

Those familiar with any part of the Bible will recognize John 3:16, with a mind-altering difference. The words are fresh, new, and sound like the 21st century. That's because they are from The Message, a presentation of the Word of God crafted for a modern age. Eugene Peterson, translator and editor, learned from his years of teaching and pastoring that most people, through familiarity or frustration with the Bible, were missing the whole message of Scripture: the Word that God uses to create and save us, heal and bless us, judge and rule over us. So he set out to give us that word in language we use every day, a reading Bible that would enable the Word to penetrate our hearts and minds, transforming us day by day into the person God desires us to be.

©2003 Eugene Peterson (P)2003 Oasis Audio LLC, Under Arrangement With NavPress, Publisher Of The Original Book Version

What the critics say

"Acclaimed biblical language scholar Peterson has paraphrased the original Greek and Hebrew of these most popular books of the Bible into vibrant, easy-to-read modern English." (Ingram)

What members say

No reviews are available
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Randall
  • Seattle, WA, USA
  • 2003-12-10

Not For Study, But For Illumination

Simply the best modern translation of the Bible in existence. Not for detailed study of the scripture, but the translation was written to be read like a novel, and it succeeds. Many scriptures I'd been confused over became clear with this translation. I'm eagerly awaiting the Old Testament.

22 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • DDfromWV
  • 2007-07-20

A Bible that Makes You Laugh?

If you don't think of the Bible for "casual listening" or "pleasure listening", this version of "The Message" will challenge that opinion. "The Message" has to be among the best - if not the best - English version for listening. The prose is contemporary and engaging and Eugene Peterson does an exceptional job providing continuity of the text where other, more literal versions do not. He captures the spirit of the text well, unafraid to use emotional terms and colloquial phrases to express the points. I have found myself laughing and smirking on multiple occasions at his choice of words - well-capturing the emotional tone (funny, serious, sarcastic, etc.) of the original authors.

While I would never use "The Message" as my exclusive study Bible, it is exceptional for my lengthy daily commute and I find it easier to track with than the New International Version to which I have listened. And it makes the Bible very approachable to anyone who considers it intimidating or too complicated. Peterson makes it clear in the introduction that he's aiming at a thought/sense translation, not a literal one. He absolutely hits the mark.

Kelly Ryan Dolan's reading is exceptional and nearly right-on; I have found few phrases or sentences that I would have emphasized differently. (He is consistently good with his reading of John Eldredge's "Waking the Dead".)

I would recommend this version to those who have never considered the Bible approachable; this version will change your mind. I can also recommend it to those who have read the Scriptures for years as this version will give you a fresh perspective. And for those who are convinced there is only one "real" version? Please remember that God expressed them through men in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek - not English - and that same Holy Spirit works to interpret the Scriptures for people of all tongues today - even contemporary English! God bless all who seek the truth.

39 of 40 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Tracy A.
  • Broken Arrow, OK, USA
  • 2003-12-09

Real Life Bible

This paraphrase is the first Bible that speaks to my every day real life. It is a Bible that I feel I can actually do, not just read or listen to and try to figure out how do I do that in my everyday life. I'm a PK (preacher's kid) and attended Bible college and reading this is the first time in 40 years that I feel like I'm truly understanding God's word .

32 of 33 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Philip
  • Valentine, Australia
  • 2004-10-10

Perfect translation for listening to.

By using current idioms Peterson brings the Bible to the 20th (and 21st) century. But this translation is also very easy on the ear. We should remember the original texts were supposed to be received by listening, not an individual sitting quietly and reading. I have found changing the "input" to the ear and not the eye, has added more meaning to already familiar texts. It is read in an interesting and at times exciting way, which fully captures Petersen's intent. A perfect example of the "change" from past translation: Instead of "Verily, verily I say to you..." is now " Are you listening to this? Really listening?"

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Wesley
  • Manhattan, KS, USA
  • 2003-12-08

The Message

This is the finest paraphrase of the Bible that is in existence. Eugene Peterson makes the Bible come to life in our modern times. Highly recommended for Christians and non-Christians alike.

19 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Joseph Furlan
  • Seattle, WA United States
  • 2004-07-07

Absolutely fantastic!

I am a new Christian. I got the King James version and it was good but kept putting me to sleep. The Message on the other hand is so good it's hard to stop listening! The reader narrates with all the enthusiam of Tony Robbins which I think is a good thing. This version of the Bible truely breaths new life into stories and letters I've heard since I was a child. The language is easy to understand without changing the story. It is powerful and wonderful and an absolute joy to listen to! This one will stay on my IPOD for life!!!

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ronald L.
  • Nashville, TN, USA
  • 2008-10-19

An easy and thought provoking listen

I really enjoyed listening to this version while I am doing mindless chores around the house. Since it is using modern euphemisms, colloquialisms, and slang it is very easy to follow. When terms like self-help, new-age, or even stuff (George Carlin?) are used, I grasp the meaning of His sermon like I have never before. Really worth your while to listen to.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • RightIdea
  • WILLIS, TEXAS, United States
  • 2012-02-06

Good Audio but Needs Indexing

Would you listen to The Message again? Why?

Yes. I listen to it when I can for a better feel of the history of the early church and their teachings.

What three words best describe Kelly Ryan Dolan and Carol Nix ’s performance?

good, consistent, understandable,

Any additional comments?

Listening to the audio is a good experience with a great message and very good narrator.

But finding the book, chapter and verse is abysmal. There needs to be some type of indexing and navigation to at least find the beginning of the books of the bible and preferably the chapters as well. The only thing you can do now is guess which Part and Chapter a book of the bible begins in and listen until you can confirm it.

This system makes it useless for specific reference bible study.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • John
  • Vestavia Hills, AL, USA
  • 2004-11-30


I disagree with some of the other reviewers. I think they have missed the point. This is an excellent translation that would be a great part of any bible study series. King James, on the other hand, is excellent poetry. I have gotten much more spiritual enlightenment from this document than I ever could from a more formal version. I find it hard to believe that Jesus or Paul actually spoke as formally as King James, but I find it quite plausible for them to speak in the manner found in The Message. Anyone could benefit from this book. Lighten up guys.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Susan
  • PEARLAND, TX, United States
  • 2004-04-04

Higest praises for a great listening experience

The Message is more of a paraphrase than a translation, so it's not meant for serious Bible study. If you just want to pick up something to read, however, it's nicely done.

But we're here to talk about the audiobook: This recording is simply superb! It's like listening to a novel. Great for readers/listeners who are familiar with the New Testament and for those to whom it is brand new.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful