Our complete Bible is very old and the Torah (the first five books of the Bible) are even more ancient. These five books are the foundation of our faith in Yahshua (Jesus.) We like the way First Fruits of Zion explains it:
“All of the concepts associated with the Gospel—such as God, holiness, righteousness, sin, sacrifice, repentance, faith, forgiveness, covenant, grace and the kingdom of heaven on earth—are introduced in the Torah. Basic sacraments and rituals like baptism, communion, prayer and blessing all come from the Torah. Faith in Jesus is meaningful because of the Torah. Without the Torah, the Gospel has no foundation on which to stand.”
The word torah is Hebrew and is unfortunately translated “law” in most English Bibles. The Torah is called the Law of Moses because Moses wrote it down for us to learn but the Torah is so much more than just the law or a legal code.
“Torah” (pronounced: TOE-raw) is the Strongs #8451 and in Hebrew it is spelled from right to left using the following characters: hay, resh, vav, tov. It comes from the Hebrew root, yara hri which means to instruct, or to teach. It does contain laws, however, Torah itself is not just a law. The Torah is the story of Yahweh’s (God’s) people and how they came to be the people of Yahweh (God) in the first place. Torah is Yahweh’s (God’s) teaching and instruction to His children in how to live the life He desires them to live.
The Torah is something all believers have in common. Regardless of what form of Christianity, Messianic Judaism or Judaism you follow or come from, we all have this common ground. The Torah is our shared origin and foundation and it is the life giving word of Elohim (God.) Basically, the Torah is instructions for how to conduct our life.
The TaNaK is a Hebrew Acronym for the three parts that make up what Believers call the Old Testement: Torah, Nevi’im (Prophets) and Ketuvim (Writings – Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Ruth, Ester, etc.) This acronym TaNaK, refers to the entire Old Testament.
We are in agreement with Timothy (2Ti 3:16) that, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”
We believe that it is important to remember that the TaNaK is the scripture that Yahshua and the Talmadim (Hebrew for disciples) were referring to when they were teaching and writing. It was the only YHWH inspired Scripture or Bible of their time.
As we began walking down this Ancient Path we were very interested to learn that:
- Everything in scripture between Genesis chapter 6 all the way to the end of Malachi (and the end of the Old Testament) can be found in some form between Genesis chapter 1 to the end of chapter 5.
- Everything in the Old Testament can be found in some form or traced back to the first five chapters of scripture!
- Everything from Matthew chapter 1 to the end of Jude, can be found between Genesis and Malachi.
- Revelation can be found between Genesis and the end of Jude!
- Yahweh Elohim the Creator of the Universe knows the end from the beginning and He reveals the end at the very beginning.
- The word Torah can be used to mean; the 1st five books of Moses (the Decalogue or Pentateuch) or all the contents of the TaNaK (Old Testament) and finally, all of Scripture (both the Old and New Testaments.)
When reading scripture, even verses from the Brit Chadasha (New Testament) it’s essential to remember that Yahshua and the disciples were Jewish and they lived in a culture and time very different from our modern Western society. They were following the instructions from Yahweh (in the Torah) on a daily basis and they understood and did many things that are not clarified or mentioned in the New Testament.
They also used Hebrew idioms when teaching and writing. What is an idiom? Heather Meloche explains, “Idioms are words, phrases, or expressions that cannot be taken literally. In other words, when used in everyday language, they have a meaning other than the basic one you would find in the dictionary. Every language has its own idioms. Learning them makes understanding and using a language a lot easier and more fun! For example, “break a leg” is a common (English) idiom.
Literal meaning: I command you to break a bone in your leg and you should probably go to the doctor afterwards to get it fixed.
Idiomatic meaning: Do your best and do well. Often, actors tell each other to “break a leg” before they go out on stage to perform.”
Without an understanding of the Hebrew or Jewish culture, the time in history, Hebrew idioms etc we can interpret scripture to mean things that Yahweh Elohim never intended. That is the danger when we interpret and teach the Bible from a Greek Mindset instead of from a Hebrew Mindset or way of thinking.
For more information about the difference between the Hebrew way of thinking and Hellenistic Greek thought we suggest that you complete the study offered for FREE by Brad Scott, which can be found at: Hebrew Mind vs the Greek Mind
Natan Lawrence also has a teaching article on the subject entitled, Hebrew Thought Compared With Greek (Western) Thought .
Ahava & Shalom,
Avi & Posey