Introduction to the Torah
Introduction to Scriptures in general and Hebrew Scriptures in particular
A. Introduction to the TorahB. Begin exploring the Torah’s themes and content
The Torah in the New Testament and the Book of Common Prayer
Introduction Scripture In GeneralDoctrine of InspirationThe Bible is: A single Divine revelation, with two Testaments, better called covenants or agreements between God and his people. Three necessary theological constituents of inspiration:God’s causality: The prime mover in inspiration is God. The Bible tells us that “no prophecy ever came by human will, but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God (II Peter 1:21). In other words, God revealed and people repeated the revelation orally or in written form. See BCP, p. 236.
The Human agency: People play an important role in the overall process of inspiration; they were the means through which God spoke. God used people to convey his propositions.In inspiration, then, God is the original cause, and the human agent is the instrumental cause.
This is the third and final product of God’s causality and the human agency.God not only spoke to the writers of Holy Scripture, but he continues to speak through their God-inspired writing. See BCP, p. 853.
A working definition of the doctrine of inspiration might be this:”A process whereby God causes his Word to work through the mind and pen of a human being, without overriding their personality and style, to produce divinely authoritative writings.”
The Bible has a unifying theme – Redemption: There is a two-fold meaning of the word redemption. it infers deliverance; and it implies a price paid for that deliverance, the ransom. Redemption ultimately is from: the penalty of sin: from the power of Satan and evil, cf, BCP, p. 302; by the price Jesus paid on the cross.
How the Books of the Hebrew Bible are Organized(Chart)
Introducing The TorahThe books of the Bible have not always been numbered or grouped as they are today. The earliest division of the Old Testament was a simple twofold division of Law and Prophets. The first five books were called the Law of Moses and all the other books were called the Prophets. (C.f., the Summary of the Law, BCP, p. 324)The names given to the first five books of the Bible are several: They are called:The LawThe TorahThe Books of Mosesor the Pentateuch.The time covered in the Books of Moses or Torah:
Genesis – from the creation to the bondage of Israel in Egypt, about 1860 BC.Exodus – from the sojourn of Israel in Egypt to Mt. Sinai (c. 1860-1447 BC.)Leviticus – one month between Exodus and NumbersNumbers – from Mount Sinai to the end of the forty-years “wandering” (c. 1447-1407 BC)Deuteronomy – from the end of the wandering to after Moses’ funeral (about two months).The heart of the Pentateuch is found in the book of Exodus, which deals with the exodus from Egypt and the sojourn at Mount Sinai. All Jewish tradition reaches back to these “root experiences.” They constitute the basic understanding of Jewish identity and of the identity and character of God. Covenant and Law Two themes fundamental to the Old Testament: covenant and Law, are closely related. Covenant signifies many things, including an agreement between nations or individuals, but above all it refers to the pact between Yahweh and Israel sealed at Mount Sinai. The language concerning that covenant has much in common with that of ancient Near Eastern treaties; both are sworn agreements sealed by oaths. Yahweh is seen to have taken the initiative in granting the covenant by electing a people. Perhaps the simplest formulation of the covenant is the sentence: I will take you for my people, and I will be your God (Exodus 6:7). The law was understood to have been given as a part of the covenant, the means by which Israel became and remained the people of God. The law contains regulations for behavior in relation to other human beings as well as rules concerning religious practices, but by no means does it give a full set of instructions for life. Rather, it seems to set forth the limits beyond which the people could not go without breaking the covenant.Scholars have recognized in the Hebrew laws two major types of laws, the:apodictic casuistic. Apodictic law is represented by, but not limited to, the Ten Commandments (see Exodus 20:1-21, 34:14-26; Deuteronomy 5:6-21). These laws, usually found in collections of five or more, are short, unambiguous, and unequivocal statements of the will of God for human behavior. They are either commands (positive) or prohibitions (negative).
The casuistic laws, on the other hand, each consist of two parts. The first part states a condition (If a man steals an ox or a sheep, and kills it or sells it ) and the second part the legal consequences ( he shall pay five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep, Exodus 22:1). These laws generally concern problems that arise in agricultural and town life. The casuistic laws are parallel in form, and frequently in content, to laws found in the Code of Hammurabi and other ancient Near Eastern law codes.
Review the Unifying Theme of ScriptureThe Bible has a unifying theme – Redemption: There is a two-fold meaning of the word redemption. it infers deliveranc…..e; and it implies a price paid for that deliverance, the ransom. Redemption ultimately is from: the penalty of sin: from the power of Satan and evil, cf, BCP, p. 302; by the price Jesus paid on the cross.
Exploration of the Content of the TorahGenesisGENESIS ARTICLEHoleman Bible Dictionary
First book of the Bible, providing a universal setting for God’s revelation and introducing basic biblical teachings.
It is critical to grasp that Genesis moves in two parts:
(1) universal creation, rebellion, punishment, and restoration;
(2) God’s choice of a particular family through whom He promises to bless the nations.
The first eleven chapters of Genesis provide the universal setting for Israel’s story.
The Writer showed how only one God participated in creation of the whole world and in directing (this is called Providence) the fortunes of all its nations.
The focus narrows from creation of the universe to creation of the first family (1:1-2:25). Trust in a wily serpent rather than in God brings sin into the world and shows God’s judgment on sin.
Thus human life is lived out in the suffering, pain, and frustration of the world we know (ch. 3).
In that world God continues to condemn sin, bless faithfulness, and yet show grace to sinners (4:1-15).
>From the human perspective, great cultural achievements appear, but so does overwhelming human pride (4:16-24). Thus humans multiply their race as God commanded; they also look for a better life than that of pain and toil (4:25-5:32). Help comes, but only after further punishment. Through the flood, God eliminates all humanity except the family of Noah, then makes a covenant with that family never again to bring such punishment (6:1-9:17), but human sin continues on the individual and the societal levels, bringing necessary divine punishment of the nations at the tower of Babel (9:18-11:9).
God thus establishes a plan to redeem and bless the humanity that persists in sin. He calls one man of faith–Abraham–and leads him to a new beginning in a new land. He gives His promises of land, nation, fame, and a mission of blessing for the nations. It climaxes in God’s covenant with Abraham.
New generations led by Isaac and Jacob find God continuing to lead them, to call them to be His people, and to renew His promises to them.
Human trickery and deception personified in Jacob do not alter God’s determination to carry out His redemptive plan. The sons of Jacob sell favored brother Joseph into slavey in Egypt. There God mysteriously works even in a prison cell to raise Joseph to power. Finally, the family is reunited in Egypt and look forward to God’s deliverance so they can return to the land of promise.
Thus is established the heritage of God’s people in the triad of patriarchal fathers–Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God’s promises and revelation to them became the foundation of Israel’s religious experience and hope.
Genesis is the book of beginnings and serves to introduce the drama of redemption that is played out in the rest of Scripture and culminates in Messiah Jesus.
Genesis is the book upon which all subsequent revelation rests. It recalls the creation of the world, Adam and Eve’s fall into sin and the resulting curse, and God’s plan to bring redemption and blessing to the world through the descendants of one man, Abraham. It gives the story of beginnings-the beginnings of the world, the plague of sin, the nation of Israel, and the history of salvation.
The organizing principle of generations shows that God’s promises of redemption find fulfillment from one generation to the next. This theme is continued in the rest of the Pentateuch as the descendants of Abraham, the people of Israel, experience the fulfillment of God’s promises. The rest of Scripture, both Old and New Testaments, serves to recount the fulfillment of God’s promise of redemption for all mankind, both Jews and Gentiles.
Key Verses: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27). ” ‘I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you’ ” (Genesis 12:2, 3).
Genesis explains the beginning of many important realities: the universe, earth, people, sin, and God’s plan of salvation. Genesis teaches us that the earth is well made and good. Mankind is special to God and unique. God creates and sustains all life.
People are always facing great choices. Disobedience occurs when people choose not to follow God’s revealed plan for living. Genesis explains why men are evil: they choose to do wrong. Even great Bible heroes failed God and disobeyed.
Sin ruins people’s lives. It happens when we disobey God.
God makes promises to help and protect mankind. This kind of promise is called a “covenant.” God kept his promises then, and he keeps them now.
The opposite of sin is obedience. Obeying God restores our relationship to him.
God started the nation of Israel in order to have a dedicated people who would (1) keep his ways alive in the world, (2) proclaim to the world wha