Monday, November 10, 2014

Praying Like the Jew, Jesus by Timothy P. Jones

book cover
Praying Like the Jew, Jesus
by Timothy P. Jones

ISBN-13: 9781880226285
Trade Paperback: 133 pages
Publisher: Lederer Books
Released: April 1, 2005

Source: Bought from an online bookstore.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
This eye-opening book reveals the Jewish background of many of Yeshua's prayers. Historical vignettes will "transport" you to the times of Yeshua so you can grasp the full meaning of Messiah's prayers. Unique devotional thoughts and meditations, presented in down-to-earth language, provide inspiration for a more meaningful prayer life and help you draw close to God.

My Review:
After reading Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus by Spangler & Tverberg, I was interested in learning more about Jewish prayers and praying in the first century. I expected "Praying Like the Jew, Jesus" to dig deeper into that information, but it only gave a little, easy-to-find information.

Praying Like the Jew, Jesus is mainly a series of sermons (or "devotional thoughts") about God. Each chapter started with a page containing prayers from the Bible or from Jewish tradition, like prayers spoken at the passover or at a wedding. He then wrote a fictional account of a scene from Jesus' life where this prayer or blessing happened or might have happened. Sometimes he wrote a page or two about the cultural aspects of the prayer, but he generally just launched into his sermon. The devotionals/sermons were ok, but they weren't why I had wanted the book.

The fictional parts didn't focus on providing cultural background information that would help the reader better understand the scene, like I had expected. I noticed some misleading, speculative, and even incorrect information in his fictional accounts. For the Passover scene, he wrote on page 82, "[Jesus]...ripped the bread into two jagged chunks...Yochanan tore off a small piece...and passed the chunk to Ya`akov." This sounds like a loaf of leavened bread, but unleavened bread (which is like a cracker) would have been used. The Passover meal started at sunset, yet the author had the sun setting ("fading sunlight," page 89) after they finished the Passover meal.

For an earlier fictional scene, the author had Simon Peter thinking of how embarrassed he was to follow Jesus and maybe he'd made a mistake in following Jesus since a physical kingdom wasn't in sight. Um, Peter was the one who said, “You are the Messiah” (Mark 8:29) and told Jesus (after a confusing sermon and Jesus asked if they would leave him): “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life" (John 6:68) and on and on. He was arguing about who would be first in the Kingdom up until the Last Supper. If the author had used Judas Iscariot, at least his doubting would be consistent with the Biblical account.

If you're looking for a book focusing on the historical, Jewish background information regarding prayer, this isn't it. If you want a devotional book on how unpredictable God is (with repeated comments about how people who prayed in the Bible often ended up tortured and/or dead--yup, that sure encourages me to pray more!), then this book might interest you.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

No comments: