Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Message: Catholic/Ecumenical Edition

Yes, it is true.  The Message: Catholic/Ecumenical Edition will be available in paperback and hardcover September 1st through ACTA Publications.  Thank you to Theophrastus for sending me the link.

A description from ACTA site:
Now for the first time and exclusively from ACTA Publications, The
Message features the deuteroncanonical books translated by William
Griffin in The Message: Catholic/Ecumenical Edition. Including the
books of Judith, Tobit, Sirach, Wisdom, Baruch, 1 and 2 Maccabees, and
additions to Esther and Daniel, all translated in the same
contemporary American-idiomatic paraphrased style as the other
editions of The Message.

Eugene Peterson's The Message is a fresh, compelling, insightful,
challenging, faith-filled translation of the Bible into contemporary
idiomatic American English and is first and foremost a reader's Bible.
Eugene Peterson and William Griffin (translator of the
deuterocanonical books) have made the Scriptures come alive again by
translating them in a way that people can understand what God is
trying to say to us today.

This Bible is meant to be read. The Message is not meant to be a
subsititue for your other bible translations. It is meant to sit next
to them where you can pick it up and simply start reading. We hope it
will send you back to your other translations with new insight and

I am not sure if this edition has received approval from the USCCB, but I will check into it. If you want to get the most up-to-date info about this release, make sure to like their Facebook page here.

Update 1:
There is an accompanying book called Selections from The Message that is available on paperback and Kindle which "contains fifteen of the most beloved biblical passes written in contemporary language."   This book has Wisdom 6:12-24 on Lady Wisdom, along with some of the most popular passages in the Bible.  A note from the publisher, Gregory F. Augustine Pierce of ACTA Publications, is included and explains the genesis of this project.  Along with the full edition that will be released in hardcover and paperback on September 1, there will also be a five-disc MP3 Audio version as well.


Biblical Catholic said...

I guess it is a good thing that they are taking potential Catholic readers into consideration...but this 'translation' is simply too loose to ever win an imprimatur. Forget about dynamic versus literal translation, this thing is almost entirely paraphrase, even to the point of completely changing the meaning of many passages.

Christopher W. Speaks said...

There's a few young adults at my church who carry a Message bible with them everywhere. Many of them simply appreciate how easy, enjoyable the translation makes Bible reading. Some of them also have small children and they think the language is appropriate for family devotions. I am sure they will be interested in this edition when it is released. Thanks for sharing!

Theophrastus said...

Tim, could we ask you to summarize the comments by the publisher on the genesis of the project?

Timothy said...

Basically, the publisher Pierce inquired with Peterson about producing a Catholic edition and found out that NavPress was already working on the project, even commissioning Griffin to translate the Deuterocanonicals. Pierce then states that ACTA reviewed permission to publish., without going into details, and now is poised to do so in September. Their goal is to now spread the word to the Catholic audience about this translation, which they say should be read along side of other translations.

Timothy said...

"Reviewed" permission should be "received"

Anonymous said...

The Message cannot be turned into an acceptable transliteration for Catholics.

Peter Brennan

Anonymous said...

Okay, confession time: I'm a traditionalist, Latin Mass going, original Douay Rheims Bible reading Catholic...who (not so) secretly finds The Message translation delightful precisely because it is so different.

Psalm 1:1

How well God must like you -
you don't hang out at Sin Saloon,
you don't slink along Dead-End Road,
you don't go to Smart-Mouth College.

Now, that might be way over the top for most of us, but then there are passages like this just a few verses away:

Psalm 3:3-4

But you, God, shield me on all sides;
You ground my feet, you lift my head high;
With all my might I shout up to God,
His answers thunder from the holy mountain.

I find that simplicity downright poetic.


Biblical Catholic said...

The problem is that it is not a 'translation' at is a full blown paraphrase......consider for example, it's rendering of the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus is made to say things like ''this isn't some penny ante, cat and mouse game we're playing"

In no universe is that a 'translation' of anything in the Bible....not even under the most liberal 'dynamic equivalent' theory of translation is something like that valid...

Matt said...

I have a copy of it from my protestant days. And while I'm not against decent dynamic translations, but I actually find The Message offensive.

I hope this gets looked over very closely before it receives approval.

Biblical Catholic said...

I'm pretty liberal (as in broad minded, generous) when it comes to Bible translations, I generally say that the best translation is whichever one you will actually read, and even though I'm not a fan, I'm even willing to tolerate translations like the New Living Translation, the Good News Translation and the even the Common English Bible...but there are some 'translations' I can never recommend or endorse for anyone, these include the New World Translation, the Inclusive New Testament and the Message.

Timothy said...

To be perfectly fair, the website and introduction to the Selections book go out of their way to tell the reader that it is meant to be read with a more common, less paraphrastic, translation.

Biblical Catholic said...

Based on what I've read of it, I don't think it's a 'translation' at all...and I'm pretty sure it wasn't marketed as a 'translation' when it was first introduced, but rather was marketed as a straight out paraphrase.

I consider it more in line with something like the Cotton Patch Gospel.

Timothy said...

It makes the Good News Bible look literal. ;)

hoshie said...

Biblical Catholic: When The Message was completed in 2002, NavPress made it very clear that it was intended for reading and not for study. They said at the time:

" is designed as a reading Bible that can give you a fresh perspective on a familiar phrase or passage."

This was a good thing to do. As for this new development, I think it is interesting. I wrote NavPress on this and they never replied.

Theophrastus said...

Hoshie -- that's interesting because NavPress publishes a book entitled The Message Study Bible.

(Admittedly, isn't actually a study Bible, though.)

Timothy said...

According to the ACTA director of marketing, who contacted me:

Also, we are not seeking (nor would receive) an imprimatur. We recognize The Message: Catholic/Ecumenical Edition as a reader’s bible that will give Catholics new insights to their current favorite translation (with an imprimatur). Our goal is to have The Message: Catholic/Ecumenical Edition enter Catholics’ homes and let them fall in love with the bible all over again and send them back to their translations wanting more.

Timothy said...

I also will have a more detailed interview with someone from ACTA in the coming weeks about this new release.

Unknown said...

Did you ever find out if they have plans for a leather bound edition??? :)

Timothy said...

My understanding was that it depended on how well the paperback and hardcover sold. I haven't heard back from them since last year. I could email them.

Paul Canavese said...

Learn more about The Message: Catholic/Ecumenical Edition at

Unknown said...

Is the a large print version available or an e-version of the Catholic/Ecumenical version of The Message?

Timothy said...


There is a Kindle version. The current hardcover/paperback, while not being a large print edition is quite readable too.