Am I just finger painting in my walk with the Messiah Jesus? is a wonderful post by Michael Wilson that uses a verse taken from The Message to make the point that we cannot stand still as Christians. We must strive to grow and become mature disciples of Jesus Christ.
So come on, let’s leave the preschool finger painting exercises on the Messiah and get on with the grand work of art. Grow up in Christ.
When I read ‘s post, I enjoyed it, but my skepticism is ingrained. The Message is the Bible in the words of Pastor Eugene H. Peterson. Because Peterson’s goal was to make the Bible understandable, we cannot accurately call The Message a translation of the Bible. In fact, it is a bit of a stretch to call The Message a paraphrasing of the Bible. Hence, The Message has its critics (see here and here for examples).
The Message reminds me of those times I have heard a speech and wished the guy giving it had said something different, what I would have said. So when I read a verse or passage from The Message, I always find myself comparing it with a literal translation (Here is an example.).
As a practical matter, I consider The Message a good Bible commentary, but I don’t consider it to be a translation of Bible. I will concede The Message generally sticks close to the original meaning in the text, but in our effort to grow as Christians, we should use The Message to help us understand a literal translation (see Hebrews 6:1-8). We should try to avoid using The Message and translations that paraphrase the Bible in the original language as crutches to avoid reading a literal translation.
Should we try to read the Bible in the original language? I wish I could, but few of us have the time to make that sort of effort. Perfect is not the enemy of good.
Anyway, on to a bit of amusement. What first struck me about Peterson’s version of Hebrews 6:1 is that I did not think the writer of Hebrews could have known anything about finger painting. After a little research, however, I am not sure. Apparently, Prehistoric Children Finger-Painted on Cave Walls.
In addition, Peterson wisely used the adjective “preschool,” that is, “preschool finger painting exercises.” What an expert can do with finger paint is really quite remarkable => This Artist Only Uses Her Fingers to Paint and the Results are Amazing.