The Pen

#MooreTripe: Beth Moore’s “The Beloved Disciple” – Chapter 4

This post marks the fourth in a series of many in which I will read through Beth Moore’s books and provide chapter-by-chapter reactions to what America’s most popular female Bible teacher has written to her massive audience.  The name of this series, which is hopefully self-explanatory, is #MooreTripe.    The posts in this series will be less a book review and more a running commentary.  It is my hope that this commentary provides pastors, education ministers, and husbands helpful insights into what LifeWay Christian Resources has been foisting upon their church members, and particularly wives, for years.  I begin with Moore’s 2003 book, The Beloved Disciple.

Chapter 4 – Old Ties and New Ties

“I’m so glad God chose to include the name of James and John’s father in Scripture. He wasn’t just any man. He wasn’t just any father. He was Zebedee. He had a name. He had feelings. He had plans. He was probably close enough to each of his sons’ births to hear Salome, his young, inexperienced wife, cry out in pain. He probably wept when he was told he had a son. And then another. No doubt, he praised God for such grace. Daughters were loved, but every man needed a son to carry on the family line, after all. Two fine sons. That’s what Zebedee had. He named them himself. They played in his shadow until they were old enough to work; and if I know anything about teenage boys, they still played plenty behind his back even when they were supposed to be working. Just about the time Zebedee grew exasperated with them, he’d look in their faces and see himself.” p. 22

James (Jacob) and John were very common names in 1st-Century Palestine. In fact, there were two Apostles named James.  John the Apostle is not to be confused with John the Baptist.  Identifying James and John as the “sons of Zebedee” helps distinguish them from the inumerable other Jameses and Johns in their community.  There is no indication that John named his father in order to personalize him so that people could relate to the feelings and interactions he might have had with his sons.  Nearly everything Moore writes here is purely conjecture.  Overall, Beth Moore is trying to make the point that it would have been hard for James and John to leave their father and family business to follow Jesus around.  Wouldn’t that be apparent without Beth trying to turn Zebedee into a character from a novel?

“Keith and I are in the season of life I’m describing. Our daughters have never been more delightful, never been any easier to care for, and never had more to offer in terms of company and stimulating conversation. The summers of their college years have been great fun, and we never secretly wanted to push them back to school or down an aisle. They are simply very little trouble right now. I wonder if Zebedee felt the same way about his young adult sons.” p. 23

I wonder if Zebedee would have got up and walked out of his synagogue if the teacher started incessantly talking about his own feelings and personal situation instead of explaining the scripture.

“Chances are pretty good Zebedee thought their sudden departure was a phase and they’d get over it. Glory to God, they never did. Once we let Jesus Christ really get to us, we never get over Him. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”” p. 23

Maybe he was happy his sons were Apostles. Who knows? God does and Beth Moore doesn’t. 90% of this chapter is her vain speculation.

A commentary on Chapter 5 is forthcoming.

Until then, I would humbly commend to your reading, two of my own books:

*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

Seth Dunn

Masters of Divinity in Christian Apologetics, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary Member of the Evangelical Theological Society Certified Public Accountant