The Torah and Rabbi Jesus

While reading the Bible, the student of scripture will discover so-called “difficult passages” or “hard sayings” which appear troublesome to the modern reader. The 21st Century Christian reads these verses while scratching his head. Instead of awesome inspiration from God, we end up with a “Say what?”

This true in both Testaments.

In the New Testament, the modern Christian stumbles over the some of the  sayings of Jesus. Sometimes it’s like, “Jesus, what were you thinking saying that.”

What it all amounts to is perspective. Consider these questions as you read and study your Bible:

  • Who is the passage speaking to?
  • What culture is the passage dealing with?
  • When did the passage occur historically?
  • Where does the passage take place geographically?
  • How does the passage apply to the people to whom it specifically addresses and how can I extrapolate that out to apply to me?

Take a look at the Gospels. In these four books, we see the human life of Jesus unfolding. We witness his birth, his coming of age, his ministry, his friends and enemies, his teachings, his death, his burial, his resurrection and his return to heaven. Taking an overview of the Gospels, consider the above questions

  • The “who” is an important question to understand a passage. Is Jesus addressing the religious leaders, his disciples, wealthy people or the poor? Jesus deals with each in a different way.
  • The culture, the geography and history is a given. Jesus addressed the 1st Century region of Judah under Roman rule. Most of his ministry took place in a small section of Galilee, on the northern tip of the Sea of Galilee. Other places he visited include the Decapolis, Caesarea Philippi, Samaria and Jerusalem.
  • How is a tougher question to answer. The best way to understand his teachings is to consider what he taught. Jesus did not teach to the church. He was a Torah teacher to the Jews. He wanted them to live in a more perfect relationship with God by understanding and obeying the Torah.

The Bible was written for all people at all times in all places. However, we can get the deeper meaning by taking the Bible back to its roots. By seeking to understand the original hearers of the Word as best as we can, we are then able to make a better application in our lives.