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Nothing could be further from the truth, as the examples given above show. Putting his own "take" on the Bible is precisely what he has done throughout . But on the other hand, in the same article he admits that he does "take considerable liberties" with the text. He says that when pastors have told him they have used it in preaching he warns them that "they miss the connection with the past with this translation." He indicates that it is for "first-time readers," and that these readers should quickly "get weaned from it." In an interview published in when he was asked, "Do you think The Message will be well suited for reading in worship?" he replied, "When I'm in a congregation where somebody uses it in the Scripture reading, it makes me a little uneasy. I would never recommend it be used as saying, 'Hear the Word of God from The Message.' But it surprises me how many do. You can't tell people they can't do it."
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This information is given on the publisher's website. But the publisher downplays the aggressiveness of its editors in soliciting the work. See the article by Hope McPherson, "," Seattle Pacific University 25/3 (Summer 2002). Mcpherson writes, "Peterson took on the task, in part, to appease a persistent NavPress editor. The editor had read Petersons paraphrase of Galatians in his 1982 book, , and wanted more." See also the interview with Peterson by Doug LeBlanc, "," , 46/11 (October 7, 2002), p. 15. LeBlanc quotes Peterson as saying, "I was a reluctant participant in this. I really didn't think that I could do it or that it could be done. But I agreed with my editor, John [Jon Stine], that I would. In some ways Paul is easy. There's a lot of challenge to Paul, but the gospels are something quite different. There's a kind of clean, lucid clarity to them, and I just didn't think I could do that. But I agreed to do 10 chapters of Matthew and then let John decide whether he thought we could do this. And so it was just as bad as I thought it would be. It was very wooden, and it just wasn't working. I just kind of let go and became playful."