Eugene Peterson on Word Over Personal Experience

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I want to counter this widespread practice of taking personal experience instead of the Bible as the authority for living. I want to pull the Christian Scriptures back from the margins of the contemporary imagination where they have been so rudely elbowed by their glamorous competitors, and reestablish them at the center as the text for living the Christian life deeply and well. I want to confront and expose this replacement of the authoritative Bible by the authoritative self. I want to place personal experience under the authority of the BIble and not over it. I want to set the Bible before us as the text by which we live our lives, this text that stands in such sturdy contrast to the potpourri of religious psychology, self-development, mystical experimentation, and devotional dilettantism that has come to characterize so much of what takes cover under the umbrella of “spirituality.” –Eat This Book, 17

One interesting note about this book. There is a discrepancy between the covers of the Book version and the Audio CD version. The CD version it says “Translator of the Message” and on the book it says, “from the author of the Message”. There has been much debate about the Message and whether or not it is a paraphrase or a translation. It is a mixed bag. It has some of the qualifications of being a translation as Peterson did work it from the Greek and Hebrew. However, his translation is done in paraphrase form and is very loose. So in the end it is some of both.

0 Responses

  1. I got scolded on my blog for calling The Message a paraphrase. If I’d only known, I’d have sent them to you! Thanks for the info.

    Grace and peace,

  2. Big fan of Eugene Peterson. I certainly don’t always agree with him, but I note that he is one of those authors who refuses to take any easy way when it comes to Scripture. He just will not allow himself to say “what we’ve all been thinking” or to fall into the cliches that we comfort ourselves with. He is bold, almost original.

  3. Powerful quote here. Thanks for sharing it.

    About the character of The Message, you’re absolutely right about it being mixed: rooted in the original languages, but very free in its English wording. I think, for that reason, it’s a good resource for preachers, not as a main text, but as a commentary of sorts.

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