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Old 07-13-2002, 04:29 PM   #1
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Bono and 'The Message'

The Gazette
13th July, 2002

Easy-to-Read Bible Translation is Spreading God's 'Message'
Getting the complete Message

Some people believe the Bible is best heard in church, or studied in seminary, or perhaps read in brief portions.

But for the past decade, NavPress, the publishing division of the Colorado Springs-based Navigators ministry, has been working on a refreshing contemporary-language paraphrase of the Bible called "The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language" that is designed to be read for pleasure and profit.

"People are often hindered by their familiarity with the sound of certain passages, or the archaic language of some versions, or their assumption that the Bible is something that should only be studied or read in very small pieces," says Kent Wilson, who has been with the publisher for 15 years and is now its chief executive officer.

"With 'The Message,' we were hoping to see the light come back on in people's eyes when they read God's word. We wanted them to be amazed. We wanted them to be excited. We wanted them to be shocked by what God's word actually said."

Originally published in 1993, the New Testament portion of "The Message" has become a surprise best-seller. All told, various versions of the work have sold more than 7 million copies, making it a surprise success for the company.

Now, NavPress is heading to the CBA convention in Anaheim, Calif., to unveil the complete Bible edition of "The Message."

With an initial 400,000-copy press run, the 2,200-page, $40 Bible is a major investment for NavPress and required 17 rail cars worth of custom-made paper. a little convoluted

"This is the largest print run and financial commitment in our 26-year history," says Wilson.

Over the years, "The Message" has drawn criticism from some theologians who say it plays fast and loose with divine revelation. But it has won over many readers who are attracted to its accessible yet literary language and its readability - a characteristic aided by the absence of all those annoying verse numbers.

Among the project's biggest fans is Bono, lead singer for rock band U2. Bono told Rolling Stone magazine "The Message" was one of his favorite books, and the band has promoted the Bible on its Web site.

Bono also gave a video-taped endorsement of the book and its author/translator Eugene Peterson. The video was one of a number of testimonials played at a June celebration held at The Navigators' 30th Street headquarters:

"Hi Mr. Peterson, Eugene. My name is Bono. I'm a singer with the group U2. I wanted to sort of video message you my thanks, and our thanks in the band, for this remarkable work you've done translating the Scriptures. Really, really a remarkable work."

"As a songwriter, it was very clear to me that you were a poet as well as a scholar. You brought the musicality to God's Word that I'm sure was there, was always there in intention.

"There have been some great translations, some very literary translations, but no translations that I've read that speaks to me in my own language. So I want to thank you for that."

"And it's been ten years, that's a long time, so take a rest now, won't you? Bye."

NavPress has received similar testimonies from truck drivers, housewives, pastors who say "The Message" has enabled them to really enjoy reading the Bible for the first time.

"The project's success has been a surprise for us," says Wilson. "Even with so many good translations and versions of the Bible, there was still a hunger for freshness, contemporary language and readability.

"It has been an honor being able to bring a fresh, contemporary version of the Bible to today's world."

2002, The Gazette.

A very cool article on a very cool translation of God's Word. Also, I didn't realize U2 were promoting this translation on their website...I will have to go check that out and see if it is true.


"The truth is when that singer is saying something that comes from right down within him, and it affects you right down within you. That's when you start talking about great music, as distinct from nice music." -- Bono
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Old 07-13-2002, 06:40 PM   #2
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Thanks for posting the article, that was an interesting read

I've been meaning to get myself a copy of "The Message" for a while now. I've heard nothing but good reviews of it. I was waiting until this new version of the whole thing came out - but $40, sheesh - thats like 30 or something , I really can't afford to spend that much on a book, even if it is the Bible. I guess I'll wait til it comes out in paperback, or look for it in the library or something.

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Old 07-13-2002, 11:10 PM   #3
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The Message is brilliant. My graduating year 12 class were all given a copy of it as a gift from the school and I'm very grateful for it!
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Old 07-21-2002, 09:09 PM   #4
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I've heard a lot about this and I really can't wait to check it out! I'm interested to see what kind of a translation it is. Sometimes the Bible can get a little overwhelming and I'm always interested in reworkings of it, especially if it's designed more for pleasure reading (as opposed to study).

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Old 07-22-2002, 02:13 AM   #5
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I received the New Testament version of The Message a while back as a gift, and it's definitely a very good translation. It's easily the easiest to read of them all and it sounds like it was written by a modern writer of today. I only wish I had the new complete Bible version of The Message because it sure would make some of those Old Testament books less dull and much easier to undersand.
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Old 07-22-2002, 11:00 PM   #6
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Just wanted to let you all know that I looked for this book in B&N today and the paperback only cost $17! That's much easier on the pocketbook than the hardback book.

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