Eugene Peterson, the beloved Christian author known for his Bible translation, “The Message,” has passed away. He was 85 years old.
In mid-October, Peterson was admitted to hospice care after the writer experienced “a sudden and dramatic turn in his health caused by an infection,” his son, Eric, announced. He went on to note his father was suffering from dementia and pneomonia, both of which were “advanced and progressing.”
Peterson’s “The Message,” which uses colloquial English language to replace the sometimes clunky biblical lexicon, was released in 1993 and became a groundbreaking theological work.
The Christian author’s latest book, “Every Step an Arrival: A 90-Day Devotional for Exploring God’s Word,” released Oct. 2. Over his career, he wrote more than 30 books.
Christian leaders celebrate Peterson’s life
I am grateful for the life and witness of Eugene Peterson. Now he is home.
“Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.” – Matthew 25:23, The Message
— Corpse Ghouliff (@cortgatliff) October 22, 2018
"That's the whole spiritual life. It's learning how to die. And as you learn how to die, you start losing all your illusions, and you start being capable now of true intimacy and love." -Eugene Peterson
May you know, now intimately, as you are fully known.
— Nate Pyle (@NatePyle79) October 22, 2018
Thank God for Eugene Peterson. His words have changed my life. And a long obedience in the same direction has finally led him home. ♥️ https://t.co/LOywn2zWgD
— Annie F. Downs (@anniefdowns) October 22, 2018
Breaks my heart to hear about the passing of Eugene Peterson.
The MSG translation and his book ‘Long Obedience In The Same Direction’ truly changed my life for the better.
— Jarrid Wilson (@JarridWilson) October 22, 2018
The world is far poorer today than we were yesterday. Eugene Peterson has died.
— Jonathan Merritt (@JonathanMerritt) October 22, 2018
RIP Eugene Peterson.
I count myself among the thousands who were influenced by his life, words, books, and perseverance. pic.twitter.com/tsfzgAUOLs
— Clayton King (@Clayton_king) October 22, 2018
Eugene Peterson has died. The world is quite a bit darker today. https://t.co/ZemCuWRTF6
— Nearly Headless Nish (@NishWeiseth) October 22, 2018
Grateful to God for a long obedience in the same direction. Thank you Eugene Peterson. https://t.co/BWfrvFOjHJ
— Russell Moore (@drmoore) October 22, 2018
– God has used your exceptional writing skills to deepen and revitalise the spiritual lives of many.
– And God has used the fruit of your pen to deeply influence me.
– THANK YOU!
“Well done good and faithful servant”.
— Brian Houston (@BrianCHouston) October 22, 2018
Peterson’s contributions to society were far-reaching, even impacting the lives of people like singer-songwriter Bono.
“I discovered Eugene Peterson’s ‘The Message’ through the Psalms,” he explained a few years ago. “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.”
In a statement to NavPress, Peterson’s family said it was clear in the last few days that the famed author “was navigating the thin and sacred space between earth and heaven.”
“Among his final words were, ‘Let’s go.’ And his joy: my, oh my; the man remained joyful right up to his blessed end, smiling frequently,” the statement reads. “In such moments, it’s best for all mortal flesh to keep silence. But if you have to say something say this: ‘Holy, Holy, Holy.’”