mealtime habits of the messiah

June 13, 2005

Mealtime Habits of the MessiahI got a copy of Mealtime Habits of the Messiah, by Conrad Gempf a few weeks ago. I’m about halfway through it, and I’m really enjoying it. Here’s a few reasons why:

  • After looking through it, I decided to use it as a daily read/devotional. I’m not sure if this is how Conrad intended it to be read, but it is working out great that way for me. Each of the 40 chapters is four pages long, with a Scripture followed by some comments about it. At the end of each chapter are some “Suggestions for Further Thought”.
  • Conrad is a scholar who writes for the masses. He does not seem interested in impressing everyone with his knowledge as much as he is interested in helping us understand the text. One of my passions is to teach people in a way that they fully understand the original meaning and context of a passage, and then through that are able to see how that passage has meaning for them today. I think this is something Conrad does very well. The readability of this book prompted Andrew Jones to suggest that this book would be good for church youth groups. I agree, but I would hate to see this pegged as a youth group book. (Besides, if it really starts selling well, perhaps Conrad can sprinkle the word “Dude” in the book a few times, along with some clip art, and repackage it as Mealtime Habits of the Messiah for Teens.)
  • I really enjoy the humor in it. I’m quite certain the phrase “‘Go Maccabees!’ lunch box” has never been found in print before this book, but it works for me.
  • Because of thoughts like this: “I’ve learned a lot of things about the Bible in general and Jesus’ teaching in particular. One of the most important things is very simple but very neglected: you shouldn’t focus on those passages in the Bible that contain answers you resonate with. Instead, focus on passages that address situations that resonate with your situation. So it’s not, ‘Are there any biblical characters who received the kind of message I want to hear?’ but rather, ‘What doe the Bible say to characters who are in a similar situation to my own?’

Get yourself a copy, and while you are at it, pick up his first book: Jesus Asked. It also combines great readability with solid scholarship, and I’ve recommended it to many.

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