A Message of Life from Eugene Peterson

The Presbyterian pastor, best known for authoring The Message Bible, died October 22 at age 85, a week after entering hospice care for complications related to heart failure and dementia.

a Bible lying open on a table

This post featuring Bible verses from the modern language version The Message was originally published over a year ago. I am reposting it today in honor of the author Eugene Peterson who passed away this week.


Proverbs 18 The Message (MSG)

Words Kill, Words Give Life


Fools care nothing for thoughtful discourse;
all they do is run off at the mouth.

Many words rush along like rivers in flood,

but deep wisdom flows up from artesian springs. 

The words of a fool start fights;

do him a favor and gag him.

Fools are undone by their big mouths;
their souls are crushed by their words.

Listening to gossip is like eating cheap candy;
do you really want junk like that in your belly?

13 Answering before listening

    is both stupid and rude.

15 Wise men and women are always learning,

    always listening for fresh insights.

17 The first speech in a court case is always convincing—

    until the cross-examination starts!

20 Words satisfy the mind as much as fruit does the stomach;
    good talk is as gratifying as a good harvest.

21 Words kill, words give life;
    they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.

The Message (MSG)Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Better the poor whose walk is blameless than whose lips are perverse Proverbs 19:1 from YMI
a shareable image from YMI- Why Am I?, a platform for young people to ask questions about life and purpose; a part of Our Daily Bread Ministries

A Message of Life from Eugene Peterson




Eugene Peterson- offered Words of Life


Eugene Peterson has completed his “long obedience in the same direction.”

The Presbyterian pastor, best known for authoring The Message Bible, died October 22 at age 85, a week after entering hospice care for complications related to heart failure and dementia.

About his death, Peterson said this,

“I have no idea how it’s going to work out. But I’m not afraid, I’ll tell you that.

I’ve been with a lot of people who are dying. I think those conversations are some of the best I’ve ever had. These are people who have lived a good life and who have embraced their faith. They’re not afraid.”


He was the author of more than 30 books, including the bestselling A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, where he explored discipleship and perseverance in the Christian life.

The Message was the second title in the history of NavPress to sell more than a million copies, and has gone on to sell 20 million.

Peterson’s influence among the church extended long after his nearly 30-year tenure as pastor of Christ Our King Presbyterian in Bel Air, Maryland.



His popularity famously reached U2 frontman Bono, and the two appeared in a film about the Psalms in 2016.

“I discovered Eugene Peterson’s The Message through the Psalms,” Bono said. “In the dressing room before a show, we would read them as a band, then walk out into arenas and stadiums, the words igniting us, inspiring us.”






Peterson was ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA), taught at Regent College and held degrees from Seattle Pacific, New York Theological Seminary, and Johns Hopkins University.

Last year, CT published an excerpt from one of Peterson’s final works, As Kingfishers Catch Fire.

The story of our faith, our very existence, begins and ends with joy.

Joy at the beginning, joy at the end, joy everywhere in between.

Joy is God’s creation and gift. No authentic biblical faith is conceivable that is not permeated with it.”

His family saw Peterson live that divine joy through his final moments on earth.

“With full and overflowing hearts, we give thanks for the gift of his life,” they stated, “knowing that his joy is now complete.”

(from CT Christianity Today)





Please join me in extending sympathy and gratitude to the Peterson family, and prayers for their comfort and healing.

Dr. Aletha 

exploring the heart of health with faith, hope and love





Author: Aletha Cress Oglesby, M.D.

As a family physician, I explore the HEART of HEALTH in my work, recreation, community, and through writing. My blog, Watercress Words, informs and inspires us to live in health. I believe we can turn our health challenges into healthy opportunities. When we do, we can share the HEART of health with our families, communities, and the world. Come explore and share with me.

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