Why does everybody seem to get it and I don't?

Pastor Chris, 

I hate to admit this, but I’m so lost in my life right now and I’ve been struggling with God for about five months now and I don’t understand; all though I try so hard too. I want to believe so bad I get so angry with myself, because the Bible seems so important, but I’m struggling with the fact on How God can see us and know what each one of us are doing. I pray all the time about this, constantly, but I know it’s my own minds problem. I know the Bible states that God is everywhere, but it’s really really hard for me to grasp. Why does everybody seem to get it and I don’t?

~ Jennifer






Everyone has questions about God. You are not alone.


It helps me to read Genesis 1 which describes God as the Creator of everything. I also find my heart renewed in my experience of His majesty when I consider the stars and galaxies of outer-space. The vastness and the complexity of the universe (macrocosm and microcosm) goes beyond the imagination. One of my favorite books on this subject is Powers of Ten: About the Relative Size of Things in the Universe by Phillip Morrison and Phylis Morrison. This book is filled with fascinating photographs of the inner universe and the outer universe that are breath-taking.


We are created beings and cannot know everything or even understand everything. Sometimes I think that if God explained everything that even then I would not understand. An imperfect analogy would be a professor of mathematics trying to explain calculus to an infant. The baby is not going to understand. We are infants in these matters.


You might consider reading the Bible in a contemporary translation like The Message or The Living Bible. Passages like Genesis 1; Psalm 8; Psalm 148; Revelation 21-22 reveal the majesty of our God and will help you trust Him with the unknowable. The bottom line is this: Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15). If you want to know what God is like, study the life of His Son.


~ Pastor Chris

Are you familiar with the Bible translation The Message? What is your opinion of it?

Question about a Bible translation… {10-5-2009} Topics:

Pastor Chris,

Are you familiar with the Bible translation The Message? What is your opinion of it?
~  Aaron

Aaron, Yes, I am familiar with The Message. It is important to understand that The Message is not a translation of the Bible. It is a paraphrase.

What is the difference between a translation and a paraphrase? A translation tries to bring the writings or spoken words of one language into another language as precisely and literally as possible. A paraphrase puts the text into the writer’s own words. A paraphrase often takes a certain amount of liberties with the text. For example, look at John 5:24 from The Message and then compare it to several translations.

“It’s urgent that you listen carefully to this: Anyone here who believes what I am saying right now and aligns himself with the Father, who has in fact put me in charge, has at this very moment the real, lasting life and is no longer condemned to be an outsider. This person has taken a giant step from the world of the dead to the world of the living.” (from THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved.)

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” (King James Version)

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” (New American Standard)

“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.” (New International Version)

It is easy to see from John 5:24 that The Message adds words to the text (it is two lines longer than the translations). This is not necessarily wrong if an author is trying to add clarity, explain a concept, or communicate a cultural idiom from antiquity that is contained in the text. If an author is intentionally distorting the text then he is guilty of the grave error of misleading the reader.

The good news concerning The Message is that the author, Eugene Peterson, is a reputable Christian scholar whose intention is to make the Bible easily readable and understandable. He is a brilliant communicator who thoroughly understands and embraces the historic Christian faith which teaches that Jesus Christ is God’s only Son, the Savior of the world. As far as I know, there is no heresy or deliberate distortions contained in The Message. There is no doctrine of the Christian faith that is called into question through this paraphrase.

Eugene Peterson has a gift when it comes to the use of words. You will benefit from his work. You will be encouraged by it. It will speak to your heart. Use it. Read it.

Having said all of that, I recommend that you read The Message (or any other paraphrase for that matter) alongside a good, solid translation of the Bible. Do not try to prove a theological point using a paraphrase. A translation is necessary for that.

~ Pastor Chris