By Daniel Rendelman
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Why Study the Scriptures
1) The Scriptures, specifically the first five books, show us the Almighty’s will for all mankind. All believers should ensure that they have a firm foundation of faith based upon the first five books of the Bible. These books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy are often referred to as the “Law of Moses.” The instructions given to Moses were eternal guidelines that describe how man should relate to YHWH and to each other.
My son, despise not the chastening of the YHWH; neither be weary of his correction: For Whom the YHWH loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth. Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that
lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her. The YHWH by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he establishedthe heavens. By his knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew.
The law of YHWH is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of YHWH are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of YHWH are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of YHWH are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of YHWH is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of YHWH are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression.
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our Elohim shall stand forever.
2) The Torah of YHWH converts or changes us to be more like the Savior Y’shua. First we are changed at salvation and then we are made into His image as we walk in obedience to Torah.
He that getteth wisdomloveth his own soul: he that keepeth understanding shall find good.
2 Timothy 3:15-17
And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Y’shua. All scripture is given by inspiration of Elohim, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of Elohim may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
3) Part of Y’shua’s ministry on earth was to confront the false teachings of many religious leaders and replace their perception of the Torah with His Divine ways. Take for example the Savior’s words in Matthew 5:21 & 22, “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment…” Y’shua was not removing the physical prohibition of murder. Murder is still wrong. What He was doing was showing the original intention of the Torah commandment: that man should respect life and examine the heart intention behind the physical actions of anger. From the beginning, from the Torah anger and hatred has always been wrong. Messiah was helping the people, and us, return to the best and original meaning of the Torah.
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
4) “Torah” is the Hebrew word for teaching and instruction usually translated as “law” in English Bibles. Overtime, “Torah” has become the title for the first five books of the Bible, which were given to Moses by the Almighty. The Torah is the revelation of the Creator’s will for mankind. It is also the Bible Y’shua read and used. Torah can be understood as T.O.R.A.H or “Teachings On Righteousness And Holiness.”
Without a firm foundation in the Torah sin is excused, false theology is accepted, and the character of YHWH is altered. Psalm 11:3, “When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?” The word “torah” is often translated “law” in a negative tone throughout English Bibles. The Torah is NOT negative. Instead, the Torah is YHWH’s loving instructions given to man on how to live. The Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance and Dictionary defines the Torah as “law, direction, instruction, body of prophetic teaching, instruction in Messianic age, body of priestly direction or instruction, body of legal directives, custom, manner.” Torah is “teaching” for all mankind. Read the entire chapter of Psalm 119 to learn how we should view the Torah.
ALEPH. Blessed are the undefiledin the way, who walk in the law of the YHWH. Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways. Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently. O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes! Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments. I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments. I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly. BETH. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.
1 Peter 1:25
But the word of the YHWH endureth forever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
5) We are to study and know the Torah so that our faith is powerful and effective. Faith is how we relate to the spiritual realm and faith comes only through the Word / Torah of YHWH. Without the foundation of the Torah we will be led astray by different winds of doctrine that confuse right and wrong.
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of Elohim.
Y’shua answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of Elohim.
2 Timothy 2:15
Study to shew thyself approved unto Elohim, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
1 Thessalonians 2:12-13
That ye would walk worthy of Elohim, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory. For this cause also thank we Elohim without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of Elohim which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of Elohim, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.
6) As followers of Y’shua we are also priests unto YHWH. As priests in the family of YHWH we must be armed with the word of YHWH. The Torah includes many instructions for the priesthood during Temple times and during our life today.
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the YHWH, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of Elohim, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of Elohim, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the
Spirit/Ruach, which is the word of Elohim: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit/Ruach, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit/Ruach, which is the word of Elohim:
7) We are to grow to maturity in Y’shua through knowing and obeying the Torah. Our Savior grew “in the knowledge and wisdom of YHWH” according to the book of Luke. We can and should do the same. Oftentimes we cannot really understand the Torah until we study and then obey it. Obedience or observance of the Torah helps us experience YHWH’s best life now.
For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Y’shua, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward Elohim, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Y’shua. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of Elohim in Y’shua.
2 Timothy 2:15; 3:16-17
Study to shew thyself approved unto Elohim, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
All scripture is given by inspiration of Elohim, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of Elohim may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
8) Study, knowledge, and obedience to Torah prevents you from sinning. To sin is to violate or break the Torah. Torah keeping is a set apart lifestyle that is totally opposite of sin. As you begin to walk in Torah observance you will fear YHWH and hate sin. 1 John 3:4 says that sin is “torah-less-ness” or having “less” of the Torah. Therefore, to not sin is to have “more” of the Torah.
1 John 3:4
Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
And the nation to whom they shall be in bondage will I judge, said Elohim: and after that shall they come forth, and serve me in this place.
Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;
For I am become like a bottle in the smoke; yet do I not forget thy statutes.
9) The book of Devarim / Deuteronomy tells us how important the Torah should be to our daily lives. The more open you are to the Torah and the more you read the Torah, the more you will realize how vital the Torah is to life today.
Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them;
Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates:
10) The Word of YHWH teaches that YHWH will plead with all flesh by fire
and by His sword. There are always more than two witnesses speaking to us that that testify of YHWH’s power and presence.
For by fire and by his sword will the YHWH plead with all flesh: and the slain of the YHWH shall be many.
He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the
mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost / Ruach Ha Kodesh and with fire:
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit / Ruach, which is the word of Elohim:
For the word of Elohim is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
And Y’shua answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of Elohim.
11) When you study Torah you are empowering your life to be set apart / kadosh unto YHWH. The Torah is the “perfect law of liberty” that sets us free from legalism and man’s ways.
Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctifiedthrough the truth.
Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But Elohim be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.
Do we then make void the law through faith? Elohim forbid: yea, we establish the law.
12) It’s All About Torah. Teachers and historians agree that the Bible is divided into seven segments:
1) The Torah, which includes Genesis – Deuteronomy
2) The Prophets, which includes Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the Twelve Minor Prophets
3) The Writings, which is all the other books
4) The Gospels, Matthew through John
5) The Acts of the Apostles
6) The Letters, Romans through Jude
7) The Apocalypse, the book of Revelation
Notice that this list begins with the Torah, so obviously the Torah should be the starting place for all believers. Also notice that the Torah lays the blueprint for obedience and worship while all the other portions of the scripture simply magnify, elaborate on, and explain the Torah. The Bible is all about the Torah; the rest is just commentary. Reread this list to understand more:
1) The Torah
Explains how man should live
2) The Prophets
Calls man back to the Torah and a lifestyle of worship
3) The Writings
Presents the Torah in person through the lives of individuals
4) The Gospels
Explains how the Torah is intended to be interpreted and obeyed through the Messiah’s life and teachings
5) The Acts of the Apostles
Portrays how the Torah of the Savior spread throughout the world
6) The Letters
Comments on how congregations should follow and teach Torah observance of Messiah and place trust solely in Him
7) The Apocalypse
Shows how the Torah reveals the end of days
Surely, it must be clear that there is an accurate line of teaching throughout the Bible. “Thus he showed me: and, behold, YHWH stood upon a wall made by a plumb line, with a plumb line in his hand,” Amos 7:7. This line never contradicts itself, rather it proves itself through one message: “And Y’shua answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; YHWH our Elohim is one: And thou shalt love YHWH thy Elohim with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these,” Mark 12:29-31. Have you ever wondered how to love the Almighty with all you heart and how exactly you are to love your neighbor as yourself? Well, the answers are found in the Torah! Through having the Torah as your basis for belief you will love YHWH with all your heart and you will love your neighbor as yourself.
Everything you do, everything you say, everything you wear, everything you eat, everything you pray, and everything you believe should find its origin in the Torah. Only through obeying and studying the Torah will you find meaning and understanding in the remaining 61 books of the Bible.
Matthew 5: 17-18 says, “Think not that I am come to destroy the Law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily, I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, not one jot or one tittle shall pass from the Law, till all be fulfilled.”
For the modern-day Christian, the previous verse means that the Torah and the others books of the “Old Testament” have been fulfilled, or done away with. They say that, “all was fulfilled” when Y’shua said, “it is finished” and the Law is no longer relevant. Such a belief about the Torah could not be farther from the truth. Just consider the Master’s own words. Has heaven and earth passed away? Of course not! Then, the Torah and the prophets remain necessary and essential to living the Almighty’s will.
Y’shua quoted a Hebrew idiom when He said He came not to destroy the Law or the prophets. He was using a familiar phrase easily understood during Biblical times. If someone heard a Torah teaching and didn’t agree, they would say that the Teacher was “destroying the law.” If they heard a heard a teaching they thought was the right interpretation they would then say, “yes, this is fulfilling the law.” Y’shua had been accused of misinterpreting the Torah, yet He said that He was actually rightly and correctly teaching it. Traditional Jewish writings support this idiom, “Should all the nations of the world unite to uproot one word of the Law, they would be unable to do it,” Leviticus Rabbah 19:2. To understand the meaning of this verse, everything hinges on the meaning of the words “destroy” and “fulfill” in verse 17. What does Yeshua mean by “destroy the Law” and “fulfill the Law”? “Destroy” and “fulfill” are technical terms used in rabbinic argumentation. When a sage felt that a colleague had misinterpreted a passage of Scripture, he would say, “You are destroying the Law!” Needless to say, in most cases, his colleagues strongly disagreed. What was “destroying the Law” for one sage was “fulfilling the Law” (correctly interpreting Scripture) for another,” wrote Bivin and Bizzard in their book Understanding the Difficult Words of Y’shua.
In plain English, Y’shua is saying, “Never imagine for a moment that I intend to abrogate the Law by misinterpreting it. My intent is not to weaken or negate the Law, but by properly interpreting Elohim’s written Word, I aim to establish it, that is, make it even more lasting. I would never invalidate the Law by effectively removing something from it through misinterpretation. Heaven and earth would sooner disappear than something from the Law. Not the smallest letter in the alphabet, the jot or yod, nor even its decorative spur, the tittle, will ever disappear from the Law,” wrote Bivin and Blizzard on page 155.
Study and Discussion Questions
- What does the phrase “tree of life” mean? How is the Torah a “tree of life?”
- How should love compel a believer to grow to maturity in the faith?
- Which do you think is more important: Torah study or Torah obedience? Why?
- What is the meaning of 1 John 3:4?
- Why should personal Torah study be important? How would you suggest a person begin learning the Scriptures?
- How does the Torah empower your faith? What advantages are there to studying the Scriptures?
- Explain how the Torah of YHWH converts a person as seen in Psalm 19:5.
- Discuss with friend how the “Torah” has not been replaced or “done away with.” Use at least 5 verses from this teaching to explain your points.