Reading the Bible with Rabbi Jesus – Your Thoughts?

Dear readers,

Right now I’m working on my next book, called Reading the Bible with Rabbi Jesus. My goal is to help Christians think more like first-century disciples, and equip them to study their Bibles more effectively.

I wanted to throw a question out to you, knowing that some readers have just started learning about Jesus in his Jewish, Hebraic context, and some of you are well-read.

What kinds of things are you curious to learn more about when you hear the title of the book? What things have been ah-hah’s that have helped you read your Bible better so far?

Comments

58 Responses to “Reading the Bible with Rabbi Jesus – Your Thoughts?”

  1. 1
    Michelle Van Loon|February 9, 2015

    Because most people weren’t literate, what part did Bible reading play in the average day-to-day lives of first-century followers of Jesus?

  2. 2
    Chasidy|February 9, 2015

    When I first started reading Torah, I felt like I would never get it. A good friend said “fake it til you make it”. Although very western in mind set, this worked. It was hard to find easy to read commentaries, you listed a few in “Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus”, but sometimes they still went to deep in though. I eventually found a great class to explain history, very similar to what Titus Baraka did for your Torah group. The history always helps.

  3. 3
    chaya1957|February 9, 2015

    Actually, literacy was nearly universal among Jews, and all males studied with a rabbi until they were of Bar Mitzvah age, even lowly laborers and fishermen. The wealthier and more promising students continued their education, studying under prominent rabbis, as Saul did.

    There were no bibles, as we know them today. The scrolls were kept in the synagogue and read from every Shabbat and at other times. These could also be studied from.

    Among non-Jews, literacy and education was mostly confined to the Patrician, ruling class, although there were schools open to others, including slaves, if the masters allowed the education. You might really enjoy the film, “Agora,” even though it takes place in the fourth century.

  4. 4
    Janet|February 9, 2015

    I would like to know more about what the growing up years of Jesus would have been like before his first miracle in the Bible.

  5. 5
    Nancy Johnsen|February 9, 2015

    Yeshua was a sage who resembled the sages of his day, drawing students to himself for study and ministry. But unlike the sages of his day, Yeshua taught and preached with a difference, as one with authority. Yeshua would say things that normally only God would say. A prophet would preface his remarks with, “The word of the LORD came to me…” and a Jewish teacher would usually give credit to his source, “As Rabbi Eliezar has said…”[cf “the fire of the Sages” in the Mishna, Avoth 2: 10] The Bible of Yeshua’s day was memorized by each and every Jewish youngster–it was not a book that people carried around in a sack, it was known by heart and carried around in people’s minds. The people of Yeshua’s day “read” Yeshua, as he spoke with authority. “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am gentle and lowly of heart and you will find rest for your soul.” Mt 11:28-29 It is clear that it is with the authority of God that Yeshua speaks.

  6. 6
    Lois Tverberg|February 9, 2015

    Thanks for your thoughts, so far, everyone. Great question, Michelle, about literacy. I mostly agree with the commenters, but I’m not quite so convinced we have enough data to say that every Jewish boy could read, or that every single person knew the Bible by heart.

    But I agree that a lot more was expected to be by memory in his time than today. Our culture hears the word “illiterate” and see it as an insult – only primitive, backwards people can’t read. But when literacy first became widespread in Greece, it was seen as a crutch that would make people forgetful of what they usually learned by heart.

    The more I read of the rabbis and see how much the NT books overflow with quotations from the OT, the more I’m convinced this is true. Biblical knowledge was quite high and widespread in Jesus’ world, even if it was mostly oral.

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    Rachel|February 9, 2015

    What I would love to read about is how did the parables that Jesus taught affect the original hearers – what would they have picked up that we don’t because we aren’t living in that culture and time period.

  8. 8
    Lois Tverberg|February 9, 2015

    Chasidy, I liked your “fake it till you make it” comment. You’re right that there’s a whole new vocabulary and it’s tough to know what’s going on at first.

    For folks who haven’t seen it, here’s my list of good first reads and other resources.

  9. 9
    Darrell|February 10, 2015

    I guess the biggest “ah-hah’s” that I have experienced are the rich meanings of the words. I keep thinking about Romans 12:2,…not conforming to the world’s ways, but being transformed by the renewing of our minds. I want more than anything to really understand and follow Yeshua in the original, and timeless context that He intended. It reminds me of the original movie “The Wizard of Oz,” and how everything was in black and white, until Dorothy landed in Oz, and then everything exploded in brilliant color. That’s what I want my mind to do…and I believe it will.

  10. 10
    George Farnworth|February 10, 2015

    I would like to learn more about how Jesus used his Bible to explain and illustrate the ideas and concepts he was teaching to first century Jews.

  11. 11
    George Farnworth|February 10, 2015

    One ah ha that I found striking was Jewish attitude to the Law (Torah). It was a gift from God and not a burdensome legalistic document. Also the fact that they view the covenant made at Mt. Sinai as a marriage contract.
    Also amazed that Jesus kept much of the Oral Law.

  12. 12
    Margie|February 10, 2015

    Although a gradual change it’s been revolutionary to go from reading the text as verses and doctrinal points, towards reading much as narrative with the story containing the teaching. It has also meant that the messiness of life becomes acceptable and is a constant reminder that the Lord uses people like me – flawed, works in progress, but accepted and not condemned. And the discipline of the LORD feels like a loving hug. A more pragmatic reading of how things work makes me able to be me. Whatever your put in your book I bet it will help shift the understanding towards this and for your readers to be wiser and more authentically real disciples – that’s what Hebraic means to me.

  13. 13
    Brenda|February 10, 2015

    My mind is swimming with possibilities. If you are trying to help people who have completely separated Jesus from his culture and history. I think it would be very helpful to also give light to what the religious leader of the day thought of him because those are the one he was trying, also,to show that they had missed the point.He was quoting scripture straight from the Torah and they didn’t get it. Or should I say they didnt like it. So how far off are we, as curent day westerners. Most of us surely do not have the Old test .or Torah memorized. So I guess what I would love to know is “what did the educated religious leaders hear? Perhaps even a some new updated “parables ” from Rabbi Jesus in our language. As far as books to read,Jacob and the prodigal was hugely eye opening.Lois I pray our Rabbi Jesus would blessed you with wisdom, understanding and an uncanny way of bringing his words to life today in our culture. Shalom

  14. 14
    Matt|February 10, 2015

    I’m always wanting to know how we can be sure that this is how Jesus actually read his Bible. I’m very concerned with being anachronistic with 1st and 2nd century writings.

  15. 15
    Bryant Russ|February 10, 2015

    Hi Lois!

    I would be interested in learning more about how 1st century Jews viewed Torah (and the rest of Tanak).

    Being a high school Bible teacher I so often see the spirit of, “we know and believe the Bible is important, we just don’t want to read it.” Deep down many subtly think it’s boring, irrelevant, etc.

    How was it viewed in Jesus’ day? What significance did it hold for the average Jewish man or woman? What emotions, connections, metaphors were associated with God’s Word? (Though I know the time period is different, I’m thinking specifically of the Psalmist’s words in Psalm 119 and how this is such a different response than when we think of God’s Word.)

  16. 16
    Lois Tverberg|February 10, 2015

    Thank you, everyone of you. These are very good thoughts so far. I especially agree with those who have been curious about how Jesus read his Bible and interpreted it in his teaching. I’m thinking very much along the lines of Bryant’s comment. And Matt, I so agree about the question of anachronism — what was Jesus saying, rather than what do later readers project onto him.

    One of the things I’m thinking about are “big-picture” cultural differences that we may not be aware of. We think individualistically, but they thought in terms of family and nation. What difference does that make?

    Lots of things to think about…

  17. 17
    Steve Petersen|February 10, 2015

    Noticed lots of assertions in the previous posts, but no citations or primary sources for them. Credibility really matters.

  18. 18
    Chris L|February 10, 2015

    From the title, I hope that you would delve a bit into PaRDeS – even though it wasn’t called that until much later – with suggestions on how to recognize when each of the methods might be in play, and how to go about a sound method of interpretation. Additionally, some history on these methods of interpretation, and their prevalence in the First Century would be helpful. (The two Remezim I’ve found most helpful are Jesus’ words on the cross (Ps 22) and at Jesus’ cleansing of the Temple).

  19. 19
    Donald Johnson|February 10, 2015

    The concept that opened my eyes was context and that if you miss any relevant context, you can misunderstand the text. There are many potential contexts that are important not to miss, the most obvious are immediate context and Scripture context, but the types that are most often missed as far as I have seen are what I call cultural context things, like Jewish idioms and ways of thinking. For example, that a short passage reference can refer to much more than the short passage referred to. That a Jewish idiom may be documented best in the Mishnah. That location references can make a difference in what the text means.

  20. 20
    Dave|February 10, 2015

    Lois:

    It has been said that you can learn something about a person by who they quote in their teaching. I think it would be valuable to do a study directed at finding out which OT writings Jesus often used (e.g., Deuteronomy and the Psalms). Jesus quotes scripture from memory so he must have seen significant meaning in the passages that he memorized and used in His teaching.

    Thanks – Dave

  21. 21
    Anja Noordam|February 10, 2015

    I’d be interested how the feasts were incorporated in their community. Who would go to Jerusalem? how often? Jesus seems to go and it is mentioned often. I think we are missing big thing because we know so little

  22. 22
    chaya1957|February 10, 2015

    @Lois Tverberg, I think you asked two things:

    How to think more like a first century disciple.

    What do you want to learn.

    In response to the first, here is a story: I had some friends who bought a property at an excellent price because the builder ran out of money halfway through building the house. I noticed that the house had a rather awkward design. They explained that they did most of the work themselves, and had to complete the house according to plumbing, electical systems already in place. Later, they concluded that they should have just leveled the house and built it the way they wanted.

    Do you think it is possible to think like a first century disciple while still viewing through a lens of modern evangelicalism? Is it a matter of adding, subtracting, tweaking but trying to shore up, rather than level the building and its foundation?

  23. 23
    Karen|February 10, 2015

    I learned a lot from reading Vermes’ “Jesus the Jew,” which gave insight to some of Jesus’ actions such as when he lost it in the Temple. I would really like to read more about Jesus as he was immersed in Judaism.

  24. 24
    Christine Annunziato|February 10, 2015

    I would like to see the insight from books like Hosea and what Jesus meant when He said, “I come only for the lost sheep of Israel”. And how the Prophets spoke of The houses of Israel and Judah uniting once again per Ezekiel 37.

  25. 25
    Lois Tverberg|February 10, 2015

    Dave, I’ve been eyeball deep in exactly that topic lately – the early Jewish exegesis of the Tanakh.

    Chaya, I get your point about razing a house verses fixing it. I hear people who want to start over again and I’d say the approach is foolish in the extreme. Folks who drop out are starting at zero, and they are trusting either in their own semi-ignorant (and culturally baised) guesses, or those of a preacher who’s been able to convince them that they alone have got the “truth.” Historic Christianity has thousands of years of wisdom, even if we’ve been ignorant of our Jewish roots. I often find that the errors we make nowadays are a product of our modern clueless era and not problems in former centuries. I also find that the church outside Protestantism has wisdom we can learn from. I keep a firm grasp on the wise thinking that has gone before me, even as I study Jewish thought and the latest findings on early Jewish/Christian history.

    I won’t continue this discussion here, but you can hear more of my philosophy in my post called “Be a Bridge, Not an Island.”

  26. 26
    Sheila|February 10, 2015

    Hi Lois, you are a busy lady! Thank you. I have been wondering about the messianic prophecies and how Jesus, as a boy studying Torah, would have come to understand he would fulfill them. I read a new and amazing thought recently that Jesus was determined to make it to the cross. In spite of all the flogging and other abuse and his exhaustion, he knew he had to make it to the cross. That thought moves me and is behind my curiosity for his comprehension of his role in fulfilling the prophecies. And how he came to understand the correct interpretation of God’s plan for salvation through him. The thought is from the book “In the Footsteps of Jesus” by Bruce Marchiano.

  27. 27
    Doug Ward|February 11, 2015

    One helpful book that I’ve read recently is David deSilva’s
    The Jewish Teachers of Jesus, James and Jude: What Earliest Christianity Learned from the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha. It gives some hints about how Jews in Jesus’ time were interpreting the Tanakh. I liked the chapter on the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, where we see some emphasis on the two “great commandments.”

  28. 28
    Caio Santos|February 11, 2015

    Hello, Lois,

    I recently found out about this website, and it’s been a great resource for my learning.
    One thing that I am very interested in (which I know there are already books written on) is the Jewish interpretation of the parables that Jesus told. They all have an air of essential significance to them, and I have noticed, from the few ones that I really understand, that we often miss their real meaning. I am sure you would be well able to write accessible explanations of these parables.

    Thanks, and blessings!

    Caio

  29. 29
    Brad|February 12, 2015

    I’m with Caio. I think how Jesus’ first audiences understood his parables would be helpful and interesting. Hope you finish the new book soon!

  30. 30
    Mary|February 14, 2015

    Shalom, Lois!

    One thing I so appreciate about your teaching/writing is that you do so in a way that is understandable. It aggravates me when valuable subjects are taught such that a person would need about 5 PhDs to understand. Our Hebraic heritage is important. I recommend your work to a lot of people, regardless of educational background.

    I’ve observed a distinct Christian bias to the word “works”, almost a knee jerk reaction. The same with the word “law”. Would these topics be something you would address? I know you have already, but maybe someone will pick up the new book who hasn’t read others.

    PS I’m getting ready to do a study group on Listening to the Language of the Bible, and my brother in law in another state has started one, and they are loving it!

  31. 31
    Don|February 14, 2015

    I have often considered the parable found in Luke 15:11 to be an allegory of the gospel of the LORD and His coming Kingdom being offered to the gentiles who had previously been far from God and riotous in their living, but through faith and repentance were able to come home to the loving Father who welcomed them with both arms. Do you have a “1st century” explanation of this parable?

  32. 32
    Brad|February 16, 2015

    I just thought of something else. What did a typical Sabbath at the Temple and at a synogogue look like. Was there something resembling an order of worship?

  33. 33
    Lois Tverberg|February 17, 2015

    Thanks everyone, once again.

    A few of you have mentioned parables, and Don asked about the parable of the Prodigal Son. I actually did write about that one already in Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus, in the chapter 13 called “Our Longing Father.” I also wrote about The Good Samaritan in that book, in chapter 4, “Meeting Myself Next Door.” Both parables are based on texts in the Tanakh.

    Good question about the synagogue services, and what was read then. I’m researching that right now.

  34. 34
    Lois Tverberg|February 17, 2015

    One more comment – some have asked about feasts. I wrote quite a couple chapters about them in Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus and put some appendices in the back. If I’ve written a lot about something in an earlier book, I’ll try not to say it again here.

    (It’s quite a trick, by the way, to figure out how to write things that are novel to folks who have read the material I’ve written, and yet not beyond those who haven’t read anything before.)

  35. 35
    Christian Remington|February 19, 2015

    One thing most Christians understand is the indwelling presence of God – Ruach Hakodesh or Holy Spirit. It is my strong opinion that every believer having God’s presence inside of them is paramount.

    How did the Jews of the second temple period, including Yeshua, understand this? How was this extrapolated from Torah?

    One ah-ha moment I’ve had:

    I was listening to a lecture concerning blood covenants and following along with my Bible. At one point I had gotten very ashamed of my self and aware of how sinful I was. I then threw my Bible across my room. After I calmed down, I went to pick up my Bible which was lying open. When I brought my Bible up to my face my eyes went directly to Psalm 103:12:

    “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”

    In that experience God was telling me that there is an infinite distance that He has placed my sins from Him.

  36. 36
    Sonia Tolson|February 19, 2015

    I started my journey of learning the Hebraic roots of my Christian faith about two years ago. In the process I have acquired a lot of books, LOL!! I have been using the Ray Vander Laan video series, along with your books Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus and Walking in the Dust of the Rabbi to teach a women’s Bible study class at my church, and am teaching Messianic Prophecy as Seen in the 7 Major Jewish Festivals as a Sunday School class for adults on Sunday mornings. Both classes are being received very well. I believe there is a real hunger amongst Christians that has not been served due in part to churches attempting to become very seeker friendly.
    The ladies are devouring your books and very excited about being able to put so many Biblical sayings into their proper context! Just today one of my ladies told me on Sunday, during praise and worship, she mentally replaced all the “I’s”, “Me’s”, “My’s” in the worship songs with their plurals “We” and “Our” as she sang. She shared how she felt so blessed by this simple act. Another lady shared how she and her husband took a homeless person to McDonald’s and shared the gospel with him while sharing a meal. The spirit of God is moving in a mighty way, praise God!
    I share all of this simply to say, as long as you keep it along the lines of teaching the Hebraic way – the way of the Rabbi’s – you will not go wrong. Shalom, and may God continue to bless your ministry. =)

  37. 37
    Dave Adamson|February 23, 2015

    I’d love to get a clear reading plan of what Jesus would have read – but also a monthly plan of reading the Gospels so we can spend more time understanding Jesus and being like him.

  38. 38
    Lois Tverberg|February 24, 2015

    Thanks again. Sonia, sounds great about replacing the I’s with “we’s” etc. Be encouraged!

    Dave (and others who asked) – in the synagogues of Jesus’ time, they read the Torah weekly on a 3 1/2 year schedule, and then the reader could chose a reading from the Prophets (“haftarah”) that would preach on the Torah portion. Isaiah was a very popular book, especially Isaiah 40-66. (Quite messianic, actually.) You see this in Luke 4. Within a couple centuries, the haftarot readings became a regular schedule. They were not pre-determined in Jesus’ time, but were later.

    This schedule is not what is used now in the synagogue. In Babylon about 300 AD an annual schedule of Torah readings was developed, and the haftarot are very different. That’s what is used now almost universally.

  39. 39
    Doug Ward|February 25, 2015

    On the subject of parables, Amy-Jill Levine’s _Short Stories by Jesus_ looks like it should be worthwhile.

  40. 40
    Anne Stallybrass|February 26, 2015

    Hi Lois, thank you for this conversation. From Glastonbury UK, where our main Church of England church sadly does not even read the OT on Sunday. All this year the ancient Hebrew roots to Yeshua’s life have been growing brighter and brighter for me, especially to pick up my own sense of calling to do with “End Times”. I have also done more esoteric research here eg Yeshua’s schooling with the Essenes; his travels here & to India; knowledge of the stars – mazzaroth; etc. I am appalled to discover how much crucial stuff has been lost over the centuries and even over my lifetime – but at the same time, we have an opportunity to “go back to basics” afresh. Look up the OT significance of “Jacob’s Well” at Gerizim, where Yeshua met the Samaritan woman, where the dialogue scales up in intensity, back and forth, point and counterpoint, just like in Joshua. Consider the significance of the festivals Pesach – Succoth – so carefully sequenced in John’s Gospel. Mark Biltz and Jonathan Cahn alerted me to the huge significance of the Hebrew soli-lunar calendar for both then and now. This calendar is mirrored in the tides of our planet: huge power there! No wonder Celtic Christianity wanted to keep Easter tied to the full moon not the next Sunday. Yes the “luminous Torah” is vital to convey. I think this complements Yeshua’s own IMHO forgotten key words “for this I was born, for this I came into the world, to bear witness to truth” – and it points forward, to what we have to do in our generation.

  41. 41
    Darrell Phillips|February 27, 2015

    Lois, I just wanted to tell you how thankful I am for the way that you present the understanding of Jesus to us. As I read the comments above, most are very “deep” thinkers, and very learned. Some of us, like down here in South Georgia, are just plain, “meat and potatoes” folks, who just want to love and know Him, and what what pleases Him. I’ve given out many copies of your book, “Walking in the Dust…” and it has sure blessed so many!
    Thank you for your books!

  42. 42
    Kathy Sanford|February 27, 2015

    Jesus’ ways of interacting with people were so varied. I would like to understand more about that. Sometimes He was pretty tough on the religious leaders of His time, but, at other times He seemed to just give them more accurate information then they seemed to have or believe. I especially have wondered about the Samaritan women at the well. How did the Jews of Jesus’ day regard the Samaritans, and vice versa. What did Jesus say to the disciples on the road to Emmaus?

  43. 43
    Kathy Sanford|February 28, 2015

    Lois, I too want to thank you for your writings. I have only read “Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus.” I keep going back to it…what a blessing. You are a gifted teacher indeed. I wish I could engage the dear people in my church. I have a little bit, one on one. Jesus invited us to take on His yoke and to learn of Him. I believe you are a gentle mentor in that endeavor. I am eager, as time and resources permit to read your other books. This is a great conversation everyone has been having here.

  44. 44
    Anne Stallybrass|March 1, 2015

    The story of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well started for me a cascade of revelations, significant history Jesus would have known… connected with Jacob’s Well. Abram got his first promise from God at Shechem, the OT name for the place. Oral tradition says Abram got his second promise there too, the promise confirmed supernaturally by a flaming brand that darted between Abram’s offerings. Jacob camped at Shechem when he reconciled with his brother, just after he’d wrestled with an angel and been re-named Israel. Ten of his sons sold their own brother Joseph into slavery there; Joseph’s bones were returned to Shechem from Egypt 400 years later, and Joshua got the whole nation to reaffirm the covenant there. Quite a lot! and there’s more! Who’d a-thunk it?

  45. 45
    Dan Latta|March 12, 2015

    I would like see a more thorough explanation of what a first century Jew thought the coming of the Messiah would look like. It would also be interesting to hear what most modern day Jews think it would look like. It would help shed additional light on Jesus’ messianic claims as well as the prophecies that the gospel writers cite as evidence of Jesus being the Messiah.

  46. 46
    Daniel Baker|March 18, 2015

    I think a great deal of emphasis needs to be on these:

    A common view today is incorrect in that it is too easy for us to visualize a “book” of scripture that those of Jesus’ time would have had in their hands to read.

    In fact I somewhat subscribe to Richard Friedman’s evaluation that there have been interesting differing perspectives between authors in the northern kingdom and the southern kingdom of Judea.

    Whether or not, as to Friedman’s evaluation: there was no book, no “scripture”, in people’s hands, there was no printing press or copy machines or websites.

    Idioms of that day, that are not particularly known correctly in this day.

    I also hold a lot to Bart Ehrman’s evaluations, however rambling they may be, that we don’t have the original manuscripts of 50-70 AD, and there were significant back and forth interjection of scribe’s opinions and errors after that, anyway. Some elements of that begs to be taken into account, even if some of the conclusions reached are valid (I certainly would not stake my life on all of those conclusions).

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    Jane Vanderham|April 12, 2015

    Interested in the approximate age of Rabbi Jesus when the disciples were called. Thank you.

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    Barbara Daniels|April 29, 2015

    I saw a painting the other day that reminded me of your new upcoming book, Reading the Bible with Rabbi Jesus. Go to this site. It is worth viewing it. A beautiful portrait of Jesus reading scripture to 2 young children. Website: http://www.artbarbarians.com/gallery2/search.asp?mysearch=Corbert Gauthier&position=19

    Thanks for your hard work to reveal our true Jewish Jesus.

  49. 49
    Barbara Daniels|May 5, 2015

    It would be great if you could include some information about the Jewish humor that Jesus may have displayed. We typically have this image of him being very serious and solemn when we read scripture. How can we detect the humor that was typically part of he and his culture?

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    Olivia Smith|May 19, 2015

    I would like to know more about the temple. There are many descriptions of the tabernacle and the temples in the Old Testament. And in the new Testament both Jesus and the Church are compared to the temple and living stones of the temple and priests. I wondered how Jesus would use these Old Testament descriptions to show how he wanted his disciples to act.

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    Corey Burch|November 13, 2015

    I think this project would be great as a study-bible. Pointing out the scriptures that Jesus quoted from in the Hebrew Scripts and explanations along side the Gospels in the context that they were meant to be applied.

  52. 52
    Sonia|November 13, 2015

    I agree with Corey, and what a wonderful idea! Even with the Hebrew/Greek Study Bible that is currently out, it does not cover the information being revealed in your books. I have made so many notes in my Bible it’s a mess, LOL!! I would love a study Bible containing all the great information you are revealing. I know it would be a HUGE undertaking, and would require you to convene a large number of people together to work with you, but what a great project. Maybe after you finish your next book?

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    Chrissy|February 12, 2016

    Absolutley loved your book “Walking in the Dust”. I just finished it but I know it is already a life changer! Thank you! I am not sure this stuff I will say can be used for your next book, maybe you can lead me elsewhere to find stuff already done if so, but… since love above all- what did Jesus mean by love? Can that word and action be explained as you did so in the book? It is not just about making people happy or comfortable and feeling valued, but love requires discipline… when and how do we do that side of it? How do we call out sin and speak truth in love and not judge improperly. How to we train up and disciple in love? Also, what was salvation to the Jews? What did that word mean? To be saved from death, to go to heaven, to be redeemed? What was their belief and thought about that? And the elect? Sheep and goats? Final judgment? The pit? Being chosen? All that type of wordings… how would the disciples have heard those? Also… Marriage and family and sex and gender roles? How much of all those ideas were completely sociological? What are of god vs of man? What is the heart of God in that vs societal order and control of man? What was it that really made adultery so sinful? I have a feeling it wasn’t really about the sex or love of the person. And why were other “sexual” sins so grievous to God? I believe it had everything to do with the lack of love involved. Women were property and slaves existed, oppression was everywhere, but neither was from the heart of God. How much more of how things were back then were of man and not the heart of God? This info will help us to love better, especially the vulnerable. Show us more ways of how Jesus came to uphold God’s heart but tear down the oppression. Reveal more of the spirit of the law. Thanks

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    Beverly|March 23, 2016

    When will this book be available for purchase, “Reading the Bible With Rabbi Jesus” I have read your two other books and loved them, can’t wait for this one!

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    Sandy Bittrick|October 9, 2016

    What I love the most about what I have learned so far is that the books of the bible are a continuous story — not a bunch of disjointed sayings or events. Matthew 6:19 – 24 is a good example. Reading Luke is another example where we can see each chapter is a result of the previous ones. I feel like I have so much to learn. I loved learning what making disciples really means. With every new insight, the bible makes so much more sense. My love for God has grown so much from these new understanding — a better understanding of the One True God.

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    chuck fisher|August 23, 2017

    I know that I am coming at this late, but after Sitting and Walking…Rabbi Jesus, it might be good to have a book that looks at Rabbi Paul, and how we may have misinterpreted/misunderstood him. Your blog about Jesus the theologian was excellent, and very lightly touched on the idea that Jesus was a teacher while Paul was the master theologian.
    I’d like something along the lines of Understanding Rabbi Paul.

  57. 57
    Lois Tverberg|August 24, 2017

    That’s a good thought, Chuck. Actually Paul comes up in quite a few places in this next book. The book is not focused on the words of Jesus per se, but on the big-picture cultural ideas that make the Bible as a whole hard to understand. Several places I point out how Paul’s words make more sense in that light.

    Ironically, though, I quote Ken Bailey in saying that the idea that Paul was a theologian but Jesus was not is actually a product of Western misunderstanding. It wasn’t until Bailey had lived in the Middle East for decades that he discovered how they communicated very sophisticated ideas in a very different way – through parables and proverbs. Once he grasped this, he (like others) concluded that Jesus’ theological prowess easily outshines Paul’s. I wrote a chapter called “Greek Brain, Hebrew Brain” where I discuss this.

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    Sonia A Tolson|August 24, 2017

    See the book: Paul Through Mediterranean Eyes by Kenneth E. Bailey

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