The man behind “The Message” Bible translation, Eugene Peterson, has entered the final stage of his life after being admitted to hospice care.
Peterson, 85, published the first segment of his groundbreaking work all the way back in 1993. The version, which uses colloquial English to replace complex biblical terms, sold over 100,000 copies of “The New Testament in Contemporary English” during its first four months of release.
Robert Creech, a professor of Christian ministries at Baylor University’s Truett Seminary, shared a message from Peterson’s son, Eric, announcing the Biblical scholar’s ailing health.
“Eugene Peterson has encouraged, formed, and often literally saved the ministry of more than one pastor over the years through his writing and thinking (I would include myself in that list),” Creech wrote on Facebook. “He has refreshed Scripture for many through his thoughtful paraphrase of the Bible published as The Message.”
“He has taught us to pray,” Creech continued. “It is time for those who have benefited from his ministry to return the favor to him and his family with prayer over the next several weeks.”
On Friday, Eric Peterson wrote that his father had experienced “a sudden and dramatic turn in his health caused by an infection,” and was subsequently admitted to the hospital for further treatment, according to Christianity Today.
“He is now being treated for pneumonia and is responding well to the IV antibiotics,” he added. “He is eating again, and went for a very short walk this afternoon. He is much improved as of today.”
Eric went on to explain the solemn state of his father’s health situation:
“Elizabeth and I joined Jan and Leif in his room this afternoon for a meeting with his health care team of three doctors. They confirmed for us that the two main medical issues he is facing—heart failure and dementia—are advanced and progressing. Based on their recommendation, he will come under the care of hospice and his medical care will be primarily palliative. As of now it looks like it will be 1-3 more days before he returns home, depending on when all the support systems are in place.”
He noted that he explained the situation to his father, saying that it is likely he is now in the final stages of his life. Eugene Peterson’s response? “I feel good about that.”
Peterson is a prolific author, having written numerous books and Biblical commentaries. Some of his notable works include “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction,” “Answering God: The Psalms as Tools for Prayer” and “Living the Resurrection.”
The author recently released a video series with U2 frontman, Bono, in which the pair tackled the content of the Psalms and explored the challenge of writing songs that capture something of the gritty human experience.
Please pray for Peterson’s family as they go through this difficult time.
(H/T: Christianity Today)