Is Reading The Message OK?

Q. I love your website and I visit it daily to read the various questions and answers as well as the articles. My question is in regard to the bible translation The Message. My husband prefers it over any other version as he considers it easier to understand. From the few verses I’ve read it doesn’t seem to read like NIV versions or NKJV versions. In fact when my husband was asked to read a particular verse the pastor thought my husband wasn’t reading the correct one. Needless to say it was slightly embarrassing. I was wondering your thoughts about this and whether or not it was okay for him to continue using it.

A. The Message doesn’t read like the NIV or NKJV because it’s a paraphrase, not a true translation. That means someone restated the Bible in words and phrases he thought would make it easier to understand, even if that meant taking some liberties where the intent of the original language is concerned. Most legitimate translations are done by panels of experts in the various languages of the Bible, but the Message is the opinion of one man. I don’t think there’s any harm in using it as a secondary resource, but I don’t think it should be anyone’s primary source of Biblical knowledge.

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