I believe I have told you several times that I am reading the Apocrypha this year.
For the record, dictionary.com defines the Apocrypha as follows: A group of 14 books, not considered canonical, included in the Septuagint and the Vulgate as part of the Old Testament, but usually omitted from Protestant editions of the Bible. Let me wade quickly thru the church words for you. The Septuagint is the Old Testament translated into the Greek from Hebrew. The Vulgate is the Latin version of the Bible.
Anyway, I know that the Apocrypha is not considered reliable enough to be included in modern translations, but I had heard that it is excellent for Bible history, so I wanted to read it. I have found it to be interesting in most places, weird in others. This morning, I was struck by verses 2 & 3 of the 2nd Mandate as written by Hermas. This is what it says:
The Shepherd of Hermas – Mandate 2
2 First of all, speak evil of no man, neither take pleasure in listening to a slanderer. Otherwise thou that hearest too shalt be responsible for the sin of him that speaketh the evil, if thou believest the slander, which thou hearest; for in believing it thou thyself also wilt have a grudge against thy brother. So then shalt thou be responsible for the sin of him that speaketh the evil.
3 Slander is evil; it is a restless demon, never at peace, but always having its home among factions. Refrain from it therefore, and thou shalt have success at all times with all men.
A Sobering Revelation
We have heard such poisonous speech of late. It’s disturbing. It’s an undercurrent in our collective conscientiousness. I think that’s why this jumped out at me. This passage seems to be suggesting that if I listen to slander, I am accountable as if I did the slandering. That’s a sobering revelation and makes me want to be more choosy about the conversations in which I partake.
Oh, and on a lighter note, aren’t you glad we’re reading a modern translation rather than the Old English?