How did the laws of the Torah sound in the ancient world? What radical new ideas was God was teaching? These are some of the things I’m writing about right now for my next book, called Reading the Bible with Rabbi Jesus.
I gave a talk a few months ago on this in the Haverim Lecture Series for the Center for Judaic-Christian Studies in Dayton, Ohio. You can hear my lecture at the link below.
The talk starts with an introduction to myself and writing. Then I share some of the questions I’m asking in my next book, which focuses on insights from Jesus’ Jewish world that can help us read our Bibles.
How did Jesus reveal his mission in ways that made sense in an Eastern, Hebraic culture? What important, big-picture ideas do we need to understand? How can the ordinary Christian be equipped to read the Bible more like a first-century disciple? That’s what I’m chewing over.
Toward the end of the talk I shared one of the most provocative ideas I’ve discovered. Some of laws of the Torah were like those of the rest of the ancient Near East, but some were quite radical. They broadcast a shocking new message about the nature of God and the preciousness of human life.
Often people ask me, “What difference does it make to view Jesus in light of the laws of the Torah?”
Would you agree that Christianity misunderstands the torah? “The Law” is often seen as a negative thing…and Judaism is seen as legalistic and harsh…something to be delivered from.
My conviction is the Paul never thought of himself as being part of a new religion that we now call Christianity….rather he saw himself as a Jew.
Lois Tverberg says
I would say that some of Christianity, but not all of it, has misunderstood about the Law being a negative thing. It was what I grew up hearing. I’ve written a couple chapters about this very issue in Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus – ch 11 & 12.
tom randolph says
tina miller says
You are going to write on Ex 34:6?! This is the very thing that God showed me to study last year becauseit is everywhere in the Bible. I found over and over when I wrote my book on God’s characteristics “BUT GOD, Getting to Know Your Bridegroom in the Old Testament” Anyways so interesting!I love all the insights God has given you! Can’t wait for your new book!
Kevin Moore says
Once again, a great article. Now, this is my opinion, but I think part of the misconceptions about the Law stem from cultural differences; eastern vs. western mindsets.
To me, the ancient Israelites and the modern Jew look at it in the light that keeping the Law to the best of their ability is an act of worshipful obedience. Yes, the Pharisees and their ilk took it too far.
Westerners on the other hand see keeping a law, any law as “you must do this or you WILL be punished!” Goodness knows that was hammered into me as a kid growing up in a country Southern Baptist church that rigidly stuck to the hellfire and damnation model.
I think Jesus put it in perspective when He said, “Those who love me will keep My commands.”
Scott Whittle says
Thank you for sharing the Haverim recording. There are many things that you shared that I really enjoyed. I have never thought about the idea about the Old Testament John 3:16. This should be interesting.
I have been reading and studying Genesis for about a month and I am stuck on Genesis 1. I am glad to see that I am in the right vain. Really enjoyed the ideas that you shared about the radical difference of the Torah laws in their cultural context.
David Russell says
Lois and readers,
I have been a fan since reading “Sitting At The Feet” and will hear your talk about this forthcoming book very soon! I am wrestling with many of the ideals espoused in what I will loosely term “Catholic theology” concerning grace, sanctification, and even holiness. I jotted the following paragraph from a set of lectures by Dr. Michael Brown based on his book, “Go Sin No More”. “”The Word (Bible) clearly tells us that we are not to be characterized by our weaknesses but by His strength,, that the pattern of our lives should be obedience and not disobedience, that we should never again live as sin’s captives but rather as the Lord’s redeemed; rather then give us a cop-out for our sinful nature.”
Having previously participated in a group study of this book, my observation has been most from that 8-week study continue to view themselves in an ongoing struggle between sin and redemption, with little sense of the Savior’s death, burial and resurrection having put a new song in their mouth and feet on solid ground, figuratively speaking.
I hope your writing will be such that creates a hunger within each reader to “be all they can be” for the LORD.. May God deliver us collectively from being diffident.
John Powell says
Hi Lois, I appreciate both books that you have written and have gained so much from them! Thanks! My question is when do you expect to have your new book, Reading The Bible With Rabbi Jesus, published? I know that I would want to read this one also. Thanks for all you do to share the Jewish roots of our faith! Also, have you read, Matthew presents Yeshua by Rabbi Barney Kasdan? I learned a lot from this book also.
chuck fisher says
As a late comer to the Rabbi Jesus emphasis, I am behind on picking up on the different resources. I am reading through your blog posts, oldest to newest, and got to this one today. I find that the link for the recording doesn’t work. Has it been removed, and if so, is there another link to this lecture? The blog entry makes it sound extremely intriguing.
Lois Tverberg says
Chuck, I checked the broken link and it looks like JC Studies removed their link. I searched and I don’t think it’s available online at all at the present time. Drat! My apologies.
One thing to note is that quite a few of the ideas in my talk are things that I wrote about in my upcoming book, Reading the Bible with Rabbi Jesus. So check it out and read it when it’s available (January 2018).