Eugene Peterson 1932-2018

This last week the rock band U2 were playing a concert at the 02 arena in London. Bono, U2’s singer took the time to dedicate a song “There is a Light”, to his friend, the pastor and author Eugene Peterson who had died, aged 85. He said: “To the great Eugene Peterson, who left us last night. A beautiful spirit who opened up the Scriptures, opened up so much else, to me, to us, to lots of people here.”


Eugene Peterson left behind a legacy of writing, teaching and pastoral work which has positively touched thousands if not millions of people around the world. His most famous work was a version of the Bible written in contemporary language, called The Message which was published in 2002. It was this version of the Bible which Bono read and found a help for himself. Bono later met Eugene Peterson and they discussed together the Psalms, the Bible’s songbook. You can watch a 20-minute video of their encounter via the link (or by searching Bono Psalms). Bono’s own appreciation of the Psalms in turn has influenced U2’s songs. The band often play the song “40” at concerts, their own version of Psalm 40.

Here is Psalm 23, the most well-known Psalm in the Bible, as Eugene Peterson rewrote it for The Message.

God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word, you let me catch my breath
and send me in the right direction.

Even when the way goes through Death Valley,
I’m not afraid when you walk at my side.
Your trusty shepherd’s crook makes me feel secure.

You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies.
You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing.
Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life.

I’m back home in the house of God for the rest of my life.

The Message version of the Bible is free to access via and the YouVersion Bible App.
Eugene Peterson, 
picture taken from