January 15, 2011

THEOLOGY FAIL: Children's Bible

Not too long ago, I sat down with my young son to read to him from My Bible: 20 Old Testament Bible Stories by Ellen W. Caughey. As I was reading to him from the first story on God's work of creation, I came across this paragraph:
"In six days God made the earth and oceans, plants and trees, the sun, moon, and stars, animals, and people.  On the seventh day, the day we call Sunday, God rested" (italics mine).
What? The seventh day that we call Sunday?  Does not the author of this little volume know that the seventh day of the week, the Hebrew Sabbath, is Saturday, not Sunday.  Sunday is, of course, the first day of the week on the Jewish calendar.  It would appear that Caughey mistakenly takes the day set aside for Christian worship to be the same as the Jewish Sabbath.  This, however, is not the case.  Christians worship not on the Sabbath but on the first day of the week, the day that God raised Jesus from the dead, which was hardly a day of rest but, rather, the day when God's great and glorious work of new creation exploded into the old creation inaugurating the overthrow of sin and death.  The earliest Christians, who were also Jews, evidently took the resurrection of Jesus Christ to be such a world shaking event that they changed their weekly holy day from Saturday to Sunday.  Anyone who takes it upon herself to write an abridged collection of Bible stories for children should know enough Bible to know the difference between Sunday and the day of rest.  I won't be using this one with my family any more.

This might also point to a further and altogether unfortunate cultural reality that many Christians may be ignorant of the fact that they worship not at the end of the week but on the first day of the week.  It is no small thing that we begin our weeks worshipping the God who raised Jesus from the dead.  The first day should set the tone for all that follow.

NB: Note as well the peculiarly white Noah on the cover. Evidently, the illustrator forgot that Noah was from the Middle East.

5 comments:

Jason B. Hood said...

Painful. Really, really painful. Makes me wish that publishers knew (1) theologians existed and (2) we could fact check...

Matt O'Reilly said...

Painfull indeed. And on the first page of the book.

lee said...

Dear friend,

It seems a logical assumption; however, Saturday is not the seventh day of the Biblical week, nor is it the Biblical Sabbath. The Jews abandoned the Biblical Calendar in the 4th century. The modern papal Gregorain calendar (which is itself a deviation from the 8-day week of the 1st century Julian calendar) was adopted by Rome at the Council of Nicaea.

http://www.worldslastchance.com

ἐκκλησία said...

Not nearly as painful as those who do not or cannot distinguish between "Jews", "Judeans" and "Israelites"; this despite the rather large and obvious clue that the Jewish King, Herod, himself was not even an Israelite. (Clearly the scepter had departed Judah, and Shiloh had come)

Its kind of like calling 'goats' - 'sheep'.

Isaac said...

Matt,

Sadly, we seem to be experiencing an "epidemic" of poor biblical translations/interpretations of late. Just because someone can get a Bible catered to a specific group published, doesn't mean they should. I am in complete agreement with Jason's comment above.