October 10, 2015

The Message 100

Unlike chronological Bibles that divide up the chapters of each book, The Message 100 Bible keeps the books intact but arranged in the most likely time sequence then divides them into 100 sections to help us get grounded in each biblical time, place, and culture. Or, as the cover explains, this edition gives us “the story of God in sequence.”

Published by Tyndale House, who kindly sent me a free copy for review, this edition provides an excellent option for youth and people somewhat interested in the Bible, but also Bible students who want to feel themselves as present and part of God’s Word. Not only do the 100 sections aid that experience, so does the highly accessible text, paraphrased by Bible teacher-pastor-author Eugene H. Peterson.

In the interesting Foreword by Bono, the musician says he “discovered Eugene Peterson’s The Message through the Psalms. In the dressing room before a show, we would read them as a band, then walk out into areas and stadiums, the words igniting us, inspiring us,” which is exactly the effect we pray the Bible has on each of us as we read.

In his “Preface to the Reader,” Rev. Peterson says, “The Message is a reading Bible. It is not intended to replace the excellent study Bibles that are available. My intent here… is simply to get people reading it who don’t know that the Bible is read-able at all, at least by them, and to get people who long ago lost interest in the Bible to read it again.”

Before we study, before we write sermons or devotionals, before we even try to live in a manner fitting for God’s people, we first must know what the Bible says. As the “Introduction to the Message” puts it:

“There will be time enough for study later on. But first, it is important simply to read, leisurely and thoughtfully. We need to get a feel for the way these stories and songs, these prayers and conversations, these sermons and visions, invite us into this large, large world in which the invisible God is behind and involved in everything visible and illuminates what it means to live here – really live, not just get across the street.”

Lord willing, regularly reading the Bible will help us to do that and more in Jesus’ Name.

© 2015, Mary Harwell Sayler, reviewer and lifelong lover of the Bible, is also a poet-author of Bible-based poems and books in all genres.

The Message 100, paperback

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