How could someone tear out a roof, as recorded in Mark 2:1‒12? That seems outlandish.

Roofs of houses in that time were flat and made of materials that could be fairly easily removed in sections. Luke 5:19, the account of four friends who opened a roof to lower their friend to Jesus to be healed, refers to removable tiles. Enough tiles could be removed to make a hole to let the man down on a stretcher. Roofs then were not like the ones in America today, where doing something similar to what the friends did would be a long and totally impractical undertaking.

The amazing thing about roofs back then was not so much their removable sections and makeup but all the activity that took place on rooftops. People slept, dined, washed, dried fruit, weaved, prayed, and interacted with each other up there! Of course, they had to be careful not to fall off, and a low wall or railing, called a parapet, served that purpose. I understand that Jewish law required this safety measure (see Deuteronomy 22:8).

Do you have feedback or a Bible question to submit? Send to nolson@garbc.org or mail to Norman A. Olson in care of the Baptist Bulletin, 1300 N. Meacham Rd., Schaumburg, IL 60173-4806.

Reprinted from the Baptist Bulletin (February 2002).
© 2002 Regular Baptist Press. All rights reserved.
Used by permission.