26 February 2014

A good use for The Message?

Several years ago I stumbled upon a curious little book, The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language, which purported to be a translation of the Sacred Scriptures. In fact, it was not even a close approximation to a paraphrase, something that Thomas McDonald has cleverly described as "both brain-scramblingly bad and fitfully heretical."

Since that day I've made it something of a personal mission to see that such things like The Message or The Good News Bible are never given out on retreats on which I serve. Why? They are not adequate translations of the Sacred Writ and do not help to engender true faith and devotion. When Saint Augustine picked up a Latin translation of the Bible after he had read the works of Cicero, he threw it out because the quality of the translation was so poor and uneducated. It was decades before he picked up the Scriptures again, this time with a proper translation. I suspect something similar happens today, it greater numbers than we'd like to think.

What, then, should we do with things like The Message? You might consider keeping it in your pocket to stop bullet or three.

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