Posted by: Elena's Israel Blog | 07/06/2011


There’s no way to fully understand the Christian Bible (New Testament) without having read and understood the Bible Jesus (Y’shua in Hebrew) and the early Christians read – the Jewish Holy Scriptures, or the Old Testament. Of the 66 books in the Christian Bible, the first 39 are the Jewish scriptures. They are comprised of the Torah (1st 5 books, the Law), the Prophecies, and the Historical and Poetry books. The New Testament cannot stand alone. Concepts that were commonly understood by readers of the times it was written are simply not explained – everybody knew what Passover was all about, for instance. So it is never explained in the NT. Note too that there’s no mention of praise & worship in the NT – no need for that since it’s all there in the 150 beautiful songs/psalms of praise in the OT!

Y’shua and the disciples had only the OT for a Bible – The NT wasn’t accepted as inspired scripture till around 350 A.D. The NT doesn’t take anything away from the OT, but only supports it and adds to it the grace and freedom brought to followers of Y’shua who became the ultimate Jewish sacrifice (see Isaiah 53). There are about 1,600 quotations from the OT in the NT. Y’shua was always quoting from it. He said “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one title will by no means pass from the law until all is fulfilled.” (Matthew 5:17-18)

The Bible we read today has been translated from ancient texts written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. Phrases/idioms that were easily understood by those of past cultures, when translated literally, have lost or changed the meaning. Thus we can miss certain nuances of the original text. To dig deeper one must go to the original languages; thankfully we have pastors and scholars who are able to do this for us. Bible study tools also help us gain rich insights into God’s Word.

Here is an example of the need to understand the idioms of the past: In Matthew 6:19-24 there is a Hebrew idiom. Y’shua starts talking about money (v. 19-21) but then seems to change the subject as He talks about a good eye and an evil eye (v. 22-23). But then he goes back to talking about money (v. 24). However, if you understand Hebrew idioms you’d know that he never changed the subject, because ‘a good eye’ is a generous person, and an ‘evil eye’ is a stingy person.

Christians owe a huge debt of gratitude to the Jewish people who carefully preserved the Holy Scriptures through many centuries. In Jerusalem’s Shrine of the Book, you can see a 2,000 year old book of Isaiah. Compared to the modern day Hebrew book of Isaiah, it is virtually the same! I saw this on one of my Israel tours.

Some info taken from ‘Understanding the Bible’ by Rebecca Brimmer, Dispatch From Jerusalem



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