Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Message

I have some issues with the Message as a version of the Bible.  I did before, but recently I ran into some direct quotes from the Message that really bothered me. One was a quote from Mark talking about when Jairus' daughter died and how the people were gathered to bring casseroles and gossip.  What!? I have been running into the fact that we do not understand first century Judaism very well, and that when we better understand it, we will better understand what Jesus is truly teaching.  Every time I have had the meaning behind a custom explained or the settings of a parable or geography of where they were pointed out to me, there has been a whole new depth to my Bible reading experience.  

I think that attempts like this to make the Bible more relevant to our times further obscure the full depth and riches to be found in the Bible.  I do not know all the Jewish customs surrounding a death, but I don't think that it was exactly what we do today.  I don't doubt that gossip happened (human nature!).  I do doubt they had casserole (where are they going to get cream of mushroom soup?).  But I think that this was part of a deeper custom that we are now ignoring by assuming that it looks like what we do in America 2000 years later.

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