What Scriptures Did Yeshua (Jesus) Study?

Apr 23, 2015 | General |

The TRUE “Rule book” of the Kingdom

Introduction: As you read this please to not jump to the conclusion that I am attacking the New Testament in any way.  I am NOT attacking the inspiration of the New Testament.  My primary point is that many people (particularly contemporary Christians) need to understand that the ultimate source of truth revered by Messiah and all his original followers was and is the Tanakh (Older Testament) and that it is wrong to ever think that the Tanakh is superseded or overruled by the New Testament.  I end this article with a clear series of statements defining my unwavering reverence for the New Testament.  Please read this with an open mind and without predetermined conclusions until you absorb all I have said and spend some time pondering the enormity of the issue.

Two teams met to take part in an athletic contest.  The players took their positions, and the game began.  But wait!  Almost immediately whistles were blown and accusations hurled as each team charged the other with committing grievous fouls.  It soon became obvious the game was doomed from the start.

Why?  What could cause such an immediate termination of an event in which all participants were sincere in their desire to take part in the contest according to the rules?  Indeed, each team vehemently accused the OTHER side of breaking the rules while claiming to be perfect in their OBEDIENCE to the rule book!

There were a few among the participants – unfortunately VERY few – that truly wished to continue the game.  So, as the majority of their team members departed in anger, these few sincere players decided to meet to resolve the reasons for the disputes.  They peacefully assembled, took out their rule books, and began to passionately point to the rules they felt the other side had broken.

What!  “There is something terribly wrong here!” they exclaimed.  “Why, you have a different rule book!”

And thus the reason for the problem became obvious.  Each team had their own rule book, and they were entirely different!  The “rules” (laws) of one were missing entirely from the other.  In fact, one side’s rule book forcefully stated the very “rules” that were so clearly defined in their opponent’s rule book had been “abolished” long ago!  Compromise was impossible.  There was only one solution.  The true rule book had to be found!  Until the actual “rules” were established from an “eternal” rule book that is “unchanging” the game could not continue.

Such is the problem today in the Judeo-Christian faith.  The rule book – the actual teachings of God – has fallen victim to man’s deceptions and traditions.  My intent is to prove exactly what is the final authority in all matters of doctrine.  I realize emotions run high and tradition is at risk.  I realize most “believers” may despise me and consider me a heretic for even suggesting what I plan to prove.  Yet I stand by my belief because it is irrefutable from “Scripture”, and I challenge anyone to show from Scripture that I am wrong.  Thus far no one has been able.

The problem should be obvious to all.  There are literally thousands of different groups that claim to be “Christian”.  And even among individual groups (denominations) there exist divisions and spin-off organizations.  When one tries to count all the various separate groups claiming to be the true representatives of the Christian faith he finds the task impossible.  The number of separate groups is always in a state of flux; thus, no one really knows at any given instant the exact number of organizations.  Before the census of groups can be totaled there has undoubtedly arisen a few more or, perhaps, some have merged together so that there are a few less.  Suffice it to say there is a real problem when so many groups all claim to be following the same Bible.

Strangely, and worthy of notice, the same situation does not exist in Judaism.  There are actually only three main branches of Judaism: Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox.  Some may also include the Chassidim, but I prefer to include them in the Orthodox faith.  Nevertheless, the horrible level of division and doctrinal disagreement present in Christianity is absent from Judaism, although some may argue that since Reform Judaism in realistic terms doesn’t revere the Torah that it causes a major division with Conservative and Orthodox groups. I might agree on that point, but the level of condemnation among Judaic groups would still be less that can be found among the many thousands of Christian organizations where it is common for one group to viciously claim the members of others are likely going to hell.

The divisions within Judaism primarily focus on a single issue – the extent to which the Torah (teachings) of God is to be strictly followed.  There is also disagreement over the extent to which the Oral Torah (halakah, Kabbalah, etc.) is to be considered.  However, the situation within Christianity is far, far worse.  It is so bad, that one must stretch the bounds of reason to even call the various denominations and splinter groups one religion.

In truth Christianity is a mixture of numerous extremely diverse belief systems that are, in reality, completely different religions categorized under one name (Christianity) all claiming to be the true faith.

But you may be thinking, what could I mean by this suggestion?  Doesn’t everyone use the “Bible”?  In answer to your question I pose the following question – what EXACTLY is the “Bible”; or, more importantly, who exactly should define what is the “Holy” Scripture?

I present my case by answering 3 simple questions

  1. Who should actually define what is Holy Scripture?
  2. What do they say is Holy Scripture?
  3. What is the final authority in all matters of faith and practice – are there Scriptures that are subject to other Scriptures?

The apostle Peter said in his second epistle:

2 Peter 1:20,21 (KJV)
20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation.
21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

From this we get a hint as to who should define Scripture.  According to Peter, no prophecy of “Scripture” should be privately (individually) interpreted, but should be consistent with the intent of the original author.  How much more for the very definition of “prophecy” or Scripture itself!

I see no need to belabor the answer to our first question.  Who should define Scripture?  The answer is obvious.  Scripture should define Scripture!

Now continuing, doesn’t using Scripture to define Scripture lead us into a perpetual circle from which there is no escape?  NO!  Absolutely not!

Christians exalt as inspired the writings of the followers of Jesus (Yeshua – yay-shoo-ah).  Thus, we should let those great men of faith tell us what Scripture is, and they very clearly do!  So, we will let them be the final authority and by doing so we will let “Scripture define Scripture”.

But there is an even better, more authoritative source from which we can determine what is Scripture!  Why not let Jesus (Yeshua) tell us?  Didn’t he often tell us to follow him, though many implicitly elevated Paul to the position of Messiah?  (Note: I discuss how Christianity actually teaches opposition to Messiah’s example and teachings in a separate, crucial article.) Shouldn’t we who believe Yeshua to be the Messiah show our belief by giving final authority to His teaching?  Shouldn’t we listen to Yeshua when he tells us what is the final authority (Scripture) and ultimate source of understanding?  Indeed.  Rejecting Yeshua’s definition of Scripture is little different than rejecting him.  If we unwisely reject what Yeshua our Messiah defines as the ultimate source of truth, we are not following him or his teachings.

In the verses referring to “Scripture” that will be presented below I ask you to take note of the many times Yeshua referred to what he considered Scripture.  To make it easy they are shown in read letters as commonly seen in many Bibles.  Again, be sure to take note of Yeshua’s definition of “Scripture”.

Believe it or not many Christians believe that because of his death Yeshua’s teachings are no longer valid!  Many “Christians” zealously blaspheme Messiah by proclaiming that all he taught was “nailed to the cross”.  In effect, many seem to feel Yeshua’s teachings died with Him and that upon his resurrection many of His prior teachings were nullified because of the new “dispensation”.  How can one possibly say they “follow Jesus” while discarding his very teachings?

For instance, note the very words of Yeshua as He clearly states His view as to whether or not the “Law” has been abolished in Matthew 5:17-19.  I will include the passages from both the King James Version and the Jewish New Testament.

Matt. 5:17-19 KJV
17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. 18 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. 19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Matt. 5:17-19 (Complete Jewish Bible)
17 Don’t think that I have come to abolish the Torah or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete. 18 Yes indeed! I tell you that until heaven and earth pass away, not so much as a yud or a stroke will pass from the Torah-not until everything that must happen has happened. 19 So whoever disobeys the least of these mitzvot and teaches others to do so will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But whoever obeys them and so teaches will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Now, could those that so boldly and gleefully declare death to the Law (Torah) please tell me when heaven and earth passed away?  I must have missed it.  Perhaps it occurred while I slept.  Perhaps I am locked in a dream state and along with the billions of others I notice to still be living on this apparently demolished earth, simply haven’t yet awoke to find that heaven and earth have been destroyed in a cosmic catastrophe of “Biblical” proportions!  But then, if this is so, even an explanation from the Torah opponents wouldn’t be sufficient because they would only be a figment of my dream state imagination.

I earnestly look forward to seeing how those who wish God’s Torah (Law) abolished respond to the stubbornly clear and irrefutable words of the Lord Yeshua Messiah Himself.   Unless they are placing their biased misinterpreted understanding of Paul’s or some other writer’s words above the very words of the Lord Yeshua, they cannot avoid the roadblock Yeshua sets in their path as they struggle to rid themselves of God’s Holy teachings.

The common saying of “What Would Jesus Do” (WWJD) may be better phrased as “What Would Jesus Think” regarding the common “dispensational” teaching that his instructions were abolished upon his death.

In their zeal to chop the Bible into neat little sections (dispensations) many Christian leaders did not spare Yeshua’s teachings from their theological hatchets.

Unfortunately, dispensationalists are the primary culprits in denying Yeshua’s teachings and often elevate Paul’s teachings over the Lord’s.

Christians, especially Christian leaders need to realize the following:

  1. Yeshua is the Messiah – NOT PAUL
  2. Yeshua is the Son of God – NOT PAUL
  3. Yeshua was righteously pure and suffered to atone for the sins of others – NOT PAUL
  4. Yeshua was raised from the dead by the Eternal God – NOT PAUL
  5. Yeshua will return to rule as King in his Father’s Kingdom – NOT PAUL
  6. YESHUA’S WORDS ARE THE FINAL AUTHORITY – NOT PAUL’S

I make no apology for my loyalty to Yeshua, especially not to those that effectively make Paul the “Lord and Master” of their lives.  As I communicate with others I am increasingly made aware of the extent to which Paul has truly become the Messiah and god of the “church”.

I accept and forcefully defend Paul’s writings but feel he has been grossly misinterpreted and misrepresented by Christianity.  The falsely represented Paul-worship I observe practiced by Christian teachers leaves me deeply saddened as I see them attempt to understand Paul from a Greco-Roman mind set then use their incorrect interpretations to declare God’s Holy and Eternal instructions abolished.

So, in answer to the first question – who should define Scripture – I repeat the following:  Scripture (the authors themselves) should define Scripture!

 

What do they say is Scripture – what does Scripture say is Scripture?

A simple word study of the term “Scripture” in the New Testament reveals an immense truth.  Every single passage, with the possible exception of one, clearly refers to the Tanakh (tah nock’) – irreverently called the “Old” Testament – to be what was considered by the writers to be the Holy Word of God.  Here, I have listed every occurrence in the New Testament where the term “Scripture” is found.  To be certain I got every instance, I actually searched for the original Greek word.

So, only 1 out of a total of 51 New Testament passages may imply the New Testament is of equal inspiration to the Tanakh.  If one actually reads the New Testament without bias it will be clear how central and final in authority Yeshua and his followers considered the sacred writings to be which they clearly defined as Scripture.  So, what we have is a situation where, according to the number of verses in the New Testament that define “scripture”, the Tanakh is clearly presented as THE Holy Scriptures!  Additionally, as you will soon see, that one verse in the New Testament many use to “prove” the NT to be Scripture, doesn’t prove anything.

Is it not puzzling how so many Christians rarely study the very “Bible” Yeshua and his followers studied?  Is it not strange that the sacred writ considered as the ultimate source of wisdom and understanding by Yeshua and his followers is today being preached as “abolished”, “changed”, or only of “historical” significance?  Is it not repulsively odd how many preachers claim to be “New Testament believers” by unabashedly promoting the concept that the Old Testament is superceded by the New Testament or of only limited application today?  Isn’t it strange how, even though the New Testament leaves no doubt that the Hebrew Scriptures are what Yeshua and his disciples considered Scripture, almost no time is invested by most Christians to study those Hebrew Scriptures?

Indeed, a true New Testament Christian – if he/she follows the teachings of the authors of the New Testament – must accept the Tanakh (Old Testament) as authoritative Scripture to be used for an understanding of truth; otherwise, he/she is in direct conflict with the New Testament writers they claim to follow.

It is obvious that many contemporary Christian leaders are not following the clear instructions of Yeshua’s followers because they often declare as dead or virtually useless the very “Bible” the apostles considered alive and of infinite worth.

The very “Bible” used and preached from by our Messiah and his followers has effectively been discarded from the church or relegated to “lesser” importance!

There is perhaps no better example of the clear embrace of the “Old” Testament as Scripture by a New Testament writer than is shown in Paul’s second letter to Timothy.  Here, the writer most often exalted by Christians unambiguously reveals what he considered to be “Holy Scripture”.

2 Timothy 3:14-17 (KJV)
14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; 15 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 Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

Sincere preachers the world over erroneously force this passage to refer to the New Testament as “holy Scripture” and use it to support study of the New Testament.

If this is so, would someone please explain to me how Timothy, “from a child”, could have known to study as part of the “holy Scriptures” a letter that he would not receive from Paul for many years – until he later grew to be a young man?  And what of the other epistles of Paul and others that were possibly not written during the time Timothy was a “child”?  Since the New Testament was centuries away from being canonized, how did Paul possibly expect Timothy to study the New Testament as part of these “holy Scriptures” if they were not to exist for many years?

Was Paul suggesting reincarnation?  Obviously if this passage is referring to the New Testament he must have been expecting Timothy to study the “New Testament” several lives later.  Did Timothy experience a miraculous time warp that was not recorded in the New Testament? Did “Dr. Who” from the popular British show of the same name arrive and give Timothy a ride in his magical telephone booth to a different place and time?

It seems most “New Testament” Christians would have us to believe the impossible.  Paul was not even aware of the “New Testament” when this letter was written.  There was no such thing as the “New Testament” writings during Paul’s ministry.  Therefore, to say this passage in which Paul encourages Timothy to study Scripture applies to the New Testament is beyond the realm of possibility if the actual intent of the author is applied.

I wish basic common sense would be used by more people when reading the Bible and long for the day when sincere Christians finally admit the obvious.  I pray The Most High hastens the day that the power of blind tradition is broken and Scriptural sanity and sincerity is finally established in the Christian faith.  A primary means to accomplish this is to use the same Scriptures as Messiah and his loyal followers.

It is undeniable that Paul, in his exhortation to Timothy, is advising him to study the Tanakh (Old Testament).  Furthermore, it will probably surprise most Christians that Paul proves in his letter to Timothy that he considered the Tanakh (not the “New Testament”) to be the source of doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction, and that the Tanakh (not the “New Testament”) makes one “wise unto salvation“, and that the Tanakh (not the “New Testament”) makes one “perfect, thoroughly furnished“.  Yet, I know of almost no Christian today who uses the Tanakh as their source for doctrine, reproof, correction, instruction, salvation wisdom, perfection, and to be thoroughly furnished.  How can anyone possibly teach that the Tanakh, which Paul so eloquently advises his beloved son in the faith to study is abolished or of no significant value to the Christian?  Quite frankly, such teaching is ludicrous, blasphemous, and in direct opposition to the New Testament instructions that Christians claim to follow!

So a clear fact is presented by 2 Timothy 3:14-17 – a fact that brings upon me fury and condemnation from Christians.  And that fact is this:

It is obvious Paul did not intend this letter to Timothy nor any of the other New Testament writings to be equated to the “Holy Scriptures” that he advised Timothy to study for knowledge of truth.  It is also obvious Paul had no other “Scripture” in mind except for the Tanakh when he wrote this letter to Timothy.

Why is this so clear?  The answer is implicitly obvious using necessary inference.  To repeat – the “New Testament,” which includes the letter to Timothy, had not even been canonized as “Scripture” at the time Paul wrote this letter to Timothy.  There was no such thing as a New Testament in Paul’s mind. It did not exist and would not exist for hundreds of years.  Paul, in his wildest imaginations, would never have thought that just a few hundred years later and for millennia to come his personal letters would be placed on an equal level with the “Holy Scriptures” he deeply loved – much less used to destroy the teachings of those beloved Scriptures – the Tanakh.  Paul, as well as the other writers of the New Testament, would lead the charge of those passionately calling for a return to THE Scriptures – the Tanakh.  It is undeniable that Paul, in his exhortation to Timothy, is clearly advising him to study the Tanakh – not the New Testament – and is clearly considering “Holy Scripture” to be the Tanakh.

What was Peter’s intent in 2 Peter 3:15-16?

Now, what of the one passage in the New Testament – the very last use of the term “Scripture” in the Bible – that some point to as “proof” that the New Testament is on an equal level with the Tanakh.  Although a common sense review of 2 Timothy and the 50 other verses in the New Testament should make the case, I realize tradition is often unbreakable and most will cling to it no matter what.  That is understandable.  I will now move to the “proof” passage used by most Christian clergy.  That passage is 2 Peter 3:15,16.

2 Peter 3:15-16 (KJV)
15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, unto their own destruction.

I will respond to those that demand these verses “prove” that the New Testament is scripture using the following arguments:

  1. This is the only passage in the entire Bible that even hints that the New Testament is Scripture; thus, those that use it as evidence of the New Testament being Scripture are fighting against all the rest of the Bible!
  2. The Greek word, graphe, used in verse 16 and translated as “scriptures” may not even mean “Holy” scripture; however, even if it does, which I believe to be the case, it certainly does not equate Paul’s writings or the New Testament to “Holy” scripture.
  3. The actual intent of Peter’s statement is misinterpreted to imply that somehow he was equating Paul’s writings to “Holy” scripture; however, he was actually intending to make an entirely different point.  His focus was upon the misinterpretation of writings.  His intention was not on the writings themselves.

Point 1: The Only passage hinting at the NT being “Holy” scripture

It must be realized that 2 Peter 3:15,16 is the only passage in the ENTIRE “Bible” that even suggests that the letters written in the New Testament may be considered “Scriptures” and thus equal to the Tanakh. However, does it really, without question suggests this, or is that interpretation forced upon it by the bias of the reader?

The assumption most Christians make is that Peter’s use of the term “Scriptures” during his reference to Paul’s epistles means that Paul’s writings must be “holy” Scripture.  Furthermore, the use of word “other” in the phrase “other Scriptures” is the primary reason many jump to the conclusion that the New Testament is on an equal level with the Tanakh.  So, what we have is actually a single word in the entire Bible that even suggests that the New Testament is “Holy Scripture”!  One single word!

Most contemporary Christians rarely use the Tanakh as the basis of their faith, choosing instead to overrule it with the New Testament.  Therefore, they effectively rip from their Bibles 77% of its content (the Tanakh is 77% of the Bible!) based upon one single word in the entire “Bible”.

There are 31102 verses in the “Bible” that most Christians carry – 23145 in the Tanakh and 7957 in the New Testament.  Despite the fact they are looking at a 31101 to 1 disadvantage with their claim that the New Testament is “Holy Scripture”, many still hold to their belief!  If that is not an amazing bit of trivia of unparalleled and eternal importance I do not know what is.  And that is assuming this 1 verse actually does support them.

Point 2: Is the passage actually talking about “Holy” scripture.  If so, does the use of graphe explicitly equate Paul’s writings to “Holy” Scripture?

What of the passage?  Well, first it must be noted that an entirely different word is used that clearly does refer to Paul’s writings.  That word in the Greek is epistole and is correctly translated as “epistles” in the verse.  Though some may argue of the relevance of this point, it nonetheless must be realized that an entirely different Greek word, which does not mean “Holy Scripture”, is used to refer to the letters of Paul.  Below is the Strong’s Exhaustive concordance definition of this word.

1992 epistole {ep-is-tol-ay’}
from 1989; TDNT – 7:593,1074; n f
AV – epistle 15, letter 9; 24
1) a letter, epistle

Secondly, the Greek word graphe, which is here and elsewhere correctly translated “Scriptures” does not necessarily have to refer to the Holy Scriptures.  Why do I say this?  Well, note the definition from Strong’s concordance:

1124 graphe {graf-ay’}
of uncertain affinity; TDNT – 1:749,128; n f
AV – Scripture 51; 51
1) a writing, thing written
2) the Scripture, used to denote either the book itself, or its contents
3) a certain portion or section of the Holy Scripture

Strong’s definition of graphe (as well as other Greek lexicons) suggests it could just as easily be referring to any “writing” or “thing written”.  Other lexicons define it as “document” – any general document.  To force it to mean “Holy” Scripture is to force upon the passage a meaning that the writer may not have intended.

It is very important to note that the Greek term, graphe, is used in a plural form here, which is why it is translated as the plural word “scriptures.”  In reference to the plural form of this word, the Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament based on Semantic Domains states the following:

The reference is to the OT (Old Testament) and not to the entire Bible, including both New and Old Testaments.”

Thus, use of 2 Peter 3:15,16 as “proof” that the New Testament was considered “Holy Scriptures” by Peter is nebulous at best and openly devious at worst.  Although it is true that the term did refer to “Scripture” in all other uses, the additional term specifically referring to Paul’s writings (epistole) implies this use of graphe may be better interpreted to be referring to general “writings” or “documents”, since that is exactly what the word means.

I do not force this opinion because there is no need to.  In fact, I will next show why even if the meaning is “scripture” it still does not prove Paul’s writings or the New Testament to be “Holy” scripture.  In effect, this verse must be relegated to the level of inconclusive, and I humbly disagree with anyone who forces upon it an interpretation that Peter may not have intended.

What was Peter’s intent in 2 Peter 3:15-16 (cont.)?

Point 3: Christian misinterpretation of the intent of Peter’s statement

Let’s assume Peter is referring to Holy Scripture within the context of his mentioning of “Scripture” in verse 16.  That still doesn’t prove Peter was equating Paul’s writings to Scripture.  An important point of clarification is with regards to the issue of what Peter’s actual point is in stating what he did in verse 16.  What is Peter’s point in that sentence?  What is Peter actually equating?  Is he equating Paul’s epistles to Scripture, or is he making an entirely different comparison?  Let’s look at the verses again.

2 Peter 3:15,16 (KJV)
15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, unto their own destruction.

Note the following.

  1. Peter mentions Paul’s letters (epistles) and states that those letters are sometimes misinterpreted.
  2. Peter then equates the misinterpretation of Paul’s letters with the common misinterpretation of “Scripture.”
  3. So, what Peter is equating is the misinterpretation aspect.  He is not equating the actual writings of which he speaks!  A simple, unbiased reading of the verse shows this to be an obvious grammatical fact.

Let me restate this.  Peter, in verse 16, is NOT equating Paul’s letters to “Scripture.”  What he is actually equating is the common problem of misinterpretation.

The focus is on the misinterpretation issue, not the writings themselves.

He mentions “Scriptures” ONLY so that he can provide an example of misinterpretation to help illustrate the problem he had seen of people also misinterpreting Paul’s letters.  Strangely, that same misinterpretation and misapplication problem Peter was warning about has been done with his own epistle!  Peter’s reason for verse 16 was to provide an example of how the “unlearned and unstable” often do not understand Paul’s letters JUST AS they often to not understand Scripture.  It is the misunderstanding aspect Peter is here focusing on, not the “scripture” aspect.

Also, depending upon how one reads verse 16, it can appear that Peter is actually distinguishing between Paul’s epistles and the Scriptures.  Frankly, when I read the passage I see little to suggest that Peter considered Paul’s epistles to be Scripture.

The problem is that bias has so infected the Christian mind, that the typical Christian reader of these passages is incapable of reading them without bias.  I present the short study above only because so many are intoxicated on contemporary Christian bias.

Read verse 16 again.  This time, don’t emphasize “other” so much.  Amazingly, if the word “other” is not read, the proof that Paul’s letters are “Holy Scripture” goes away.  Additionally, if the term “other” is read to simply be a reference to the true Holy Scriptures instead of some sort of “code word” to equate Paul’s writings to Scripture, the argument that the New Testament is “Holy Scripture” is again shown erroneous.

Finally, if Christians would consider how no other verse anywhere in the Bible supports their belief that the New Testament is Scripture, my point is proven.

So, even if Peter’s use of the term “Scripture” did refer to “Holy Scripture,” this verse is still shown to not be equating Paul’s writings to Holy Scripture.

But even if many still wish to use this passage as “evidence” that the New Testament is inspired to a level equal with the Tanakh and, more importantly, can be used to “abolish” or “overrule” the Tanakh, they must face the fact that their precarious belief is balanced upon one word, in one passage, in the entire Bible.

Let me say this one more time.  Second Peter 3:16, regardless of one’s view of what is “Holy Scripture”, is still the only verse in the entire Bible (Tanakh or New Testament) that even hints at the possibility that the apostles expected us to consider the New Testament as “Bible”.

Furthermore, this verse is only referring to the specific epistle or epistles that Peter was thinking about at that moment.  What of Peter’s epistles, or John’s, or the Gospels?  What about the book of Acts?  There is no mention by Peter in which he referred to them as “scripture”.

These facts are irrefutable.  You now have at your fingertips every New Testament use of this word.  Look at the verses yourself again and my point is proven.

If you wish to base your entire faith and eternal destiny on one word or even one verse in the entire Bible, go ahead.  If you choose to discard the explicit and implicit definition of “Holy Scripture” found in 77% of the Bible (the Tanakh), and all but one passage in the other 23% accounting for the New Testament writings, based upon one single verse (0.0032% of the Bible verses), that is your choice. I prefer to go with the overwhelming majority 99.9968% which constitute the remaining 31,101 verses.

What is the FINAL Authority for faith and practice?

This question is easily answered using the facts presented above.

Clearly, and in accord with the teachings of our Torah observant Messiah Yeshua and all His Torah observant followers, THE final authority is the Tanakh.

Furthermore, when one studies the New Testament this final authority must be kept in mind as apparent contradictions arise between what the New Testament writer appears to say and the Tanakh that he and his Lord so lovingly embraced as unchanging and ultimate truth.

Often, when one places oneself within the thoroughly Hebraic context and mind set of the writer he/she will realize there is actually no conflict at all.  That is a topic we will discuss in another writing.  However, to prime you for what is to come ponder this.  It is impossible to correctly interpret Hebraic writings from Israeli/Jewish authors who honor a Judean/Jewish Messiah if one uses westernized, Greek philosophy or thought patterns.

Conclusion

Why is it when someone like myself uses a correct contextual interpretation of the Bible as the basis of truth he/she is generally considered a “heretic?”  The dangerous grip of “tradition” is most clearly shown in such circumstances.  We should use the Bible along with a proper historical and contextual approach to define our faith.  It is from the Bible using a straight forward, rather simple and easily understood approach that I obtained the information presented above.

There is simply no way around the absolutely sure truth that all writers of the New Testament considered the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures) to be the “Bible”. The fact that so many are offended by this is troublesome, since their offence is really directed toward the Word of the Almighty Creator God.

Such anger also betrays a deep, dark antisemitism that still lurks within Christianity and the hearts of many Christians, since much of the resentment is due to the inescapable underlying fact that the Judaic Scriptures (Tanahk) used by Yeshua and all NT writers are still the only true “HOLY” Scriptures.  It is alarming to see so many Christians react so bitterly to that fact, and it is in this bitter reaction that I see the age-old satanic hatred of Hebraic truth, Jews, and Israel.

It is not my intention to reduce the immense importance and value of the New Testament.  I firmly consider it inspired and invaluable when interpreted rightly within the historic context and world-view of its alleged authors and when tested against the Tanakh as the New Testament commands.  I completely understand the anger most Christians or Messianics may feel as they read this, and it pains me.  I would have felt the same during the first 35 years of my life, but then I didn’t have someone showing me what I present to you.

I had to discover what I present on this website on my own through laborious, lengthy study. As of the date of this writing, it has been an educational journey of over two decades. Of course, I give all thanks to the Most High for guiding me and creating the circumstances that lead to my awakening. Notice I said “lead” in present/future tense instead of “led” in past tense, because there is always more knowledge to obtain from the infinite storehouse of God’s teachings.

All I hope to accomplish in this writing is to somehow persuade Christians to think as the authors of the New Testament thought – to cause Christians to consider “Scripture” to be what the authors considered it to be.  I hope to somehow awaken Christians to the danger to their eternal destiny if they reject the ultimate truth and final authority of the Tanakh.

Basically, I do what I can while hoping and praying that Christians will return to study of the actual Holy Scriptures, the Tanakh, which very few Christians ever spend time reading. Seriously. Few Christians expend much effort reading the Bible at all, and very, very few have ever read it in its entirety. The common notion is that studying what they irreverently call the “Old” Testament is a waste of time since, to them, it has been superseded by the “New” Testament – a notion that I can and have proven wrong.

It must also be noted, as discussed elsewhere, that the New Testament is not a perfect transmission of what was writen. Many who disagree with me vehemently present an argument similar to the following:

“The New Testament has been “proven” 99 percent accurate.”

Ok, let’s assume that I accept their statement. In fact, I will accept that the New Testament is highly reliable and state such elsewhere on this web site.  The question is, do they actually accept their own accuracy estimate?  Are they willing to stand by their statement?  If they so forcefully promote the idea that the New Testament is 99 percent accurate, then they must also accept what is implied by their statement, which is that there is 1 percent corruption.  Are they willing to admit that one out of every 100 words in the New Testament is incorrect, based upon their own vigorously stated position of 99 percent New Testament accuracy?

There are 7957 verses in the New Testament.  Are those promoting 99 percent accuracy willing to admit that by their own estimation roughly 80 New Testament passages present false information?  Depending on where those 80 (as a minimum) are located, they may greatly affect one’s understanding of the New Testament or its accuracy in transmitting truth.

The fact is, even those who assume 99 percent accuracy for the New Testament still refuse to admit there may be 1 percent error.  If one chooses to assume 99.5% accuracy that still leaves 40 corrupt passages, and they generally will not admit that either. Those who accuse me of discarding passages I choose not to accept do virtually the same thing when shown New Testament passages that conflict with their own beliefs.  They are proven to be hypocrites.

The difference between me and them is that I use the same approach as the “noble” Bereans in Acts 17:11.  I test the verses of the New Testament by comparing them to what is written in the Tanakh and the historical context of the first century.  This test is virtually never used by Christians, or even Messianics.  Therefore, my use of discernment to determine what may be incorrect within the New Testament is not only Scriptural, but is also commanded from within the very pages of the New Testament.  n truth, since I follow the command to “test” the apostolic writings I am more of an authentic “New Testament believer” than are those Christians who differ with me.

I am not saying the New Testament is bogus.  Many falsely accuse me of that since they cannot refute my arguments.  All I am saying is that even if the corruption exists in a small percentage of the overall number of New Testament passages it is unwise to ultimately base one’s faith on a collection of writings proven to be corrupt or questionable in various areas, which were collected by men who were driven by bias and often a lust for power.

I am not implying a lot of corruption. It doesn’t take much cyanide or cobra venom to kill.  One drop is all that is needed.  Likewise, a scribal “edit” of just a few carefully placed words can totally poison truth, particularly when those words are contained in a handful of crucial verses.  It is for this reason one should follow the New Testament authors’ pleas to always base one’s faith ultimately on what is written in the Tanakh by verifying that what they understand from the New Testament has proper contextual Tanakh support.

Christians need to also realize the New Testament canon underwent substantial redaction (editing) and that the available manuscripts exhibit clear scribal manipulation.  These manuscripts (the thousands of original Greek writings) also differ from one another, thus proving they are not “God breathed”. Next time a preacher tells you the New Testament is free of substantial error, ask him or her to provide the number of differences.  If they do not tell you the differences between manuscripts number into the thousands, they are either lying or ignorant of the facts.

The usual tactic is to declare the differences to be “minor.”  Though I would agree in most cases and do feel the New Testament is generally reliable, the fact is nonetheless proven that the available manuscripts do differ in thousands of places; therefore, they are obviously not the “pure” Word of God.  If they were “perfect” they would all be identical!  Anyone using common sense must admit this.

The immense reverence given the Hebrew writings (Tanakh) by Hebrew Scribes and the unthinkable idea of manipulating those revered texts was not followed by New Testament Scribes who looked upon the Greek New Testament manuscripts with far less of a “hands off” approach.  As uncomfortable as it is, it is nonetheless an absolute fact than scribal manipulation did occur as the New Testament underwent the process of canonization.

Fortunately The Living God gave us an easy means with which to verify the topics discussed in the New Testament.  That sure method of verification is to compare all of the writings within the pages of the New Testament to the Tanakh!  That is exactly what the Bereans of Acts 17:11 did!

Acts 17:11 (KJV)  These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

The Scriptures they searched was the Tanakh. The “New Testament” did not exist at that time!

Proper approach to the New Testament

A proper approach is to consider the New Testament as learned commentary – oral Torah – regarding what the authors considered to be the true Word of God and to always use the Tanakh to verify the New Testament.  In fact, I prove in a separate article that the New Testament is largely based on Judaic oral Torah and can, itself, be considered oral Torah.

I embrace and promote the New Testament and consider it an excellent composition of many of the primary teachings within the Torah.  I study it, love reading it, and am always assured of encouragement when I do.  It is a fabulous compilation of writings that, IF properly understood in the light of its Hebraic context, clarifies many things regarding Torah (Law), The Creator God, and the Messiah.  I cherish the clarity and concise presentation of many of the various aspects of God’s instructions (particularly moral) found in the New Testament as I do the many exhortations to persevere in this evil and often painful age.

However, I am constantly reminded of the sure fact that all the authors of the New Testament submitted to the ultimate Truth they considered to reside in the Tanakh and that they would be horrified at the thought of their letters were being used to abolish what they considered Eternal and perfect.

The writers of the New Testament – even with all the thousands of edits made by Christian scribes all the way up to the 16 century – clearly do show their view of what constitutes Holy Scripture, and it is not the epistles which they wrote.  I sadly am convinced that proper contextual interpretation and reverence of the Scripturally defined Holy Scripture (Tanakh) is rarely done in the overwhelming number of “Christian” organizations.

I do not support or agree with those who wish to tear the New Testament from the Bible or who consider Paul a false teacher.  Such people have, in my opinion, wrongly interpreted Paul’s writings and are far too quick to take the easy road of passing judgment instead of attempting to view his writings from the Pharisaic, Judaic context in which he wrote.  Therefore, the opponents of Paul and those who grossly misinterpreted what they call “Pauline theology” into an anti-Torah teaching both make precisely the same error.  They both seem to miss the dominant pro-Torah message of Paul. I discuss this at length in the article mentioned previously in which I prove the legitimacy and necessity of “oral Torah“.

Those of us who realize the Tanakh takes precedence in all matters of truth and who read the New Testament with that in mind began immediately to see perfect correlation without the slightest “speed bump” as we transition from the Tanakh to the writings of the New Testament.  Indeed, the inspiration of Scripture by God is clearly proven once one recognizes how perfectly a proper contextual interpretation of the New Testament dovetails with the Tanakh.  Virtually all supposed irregularities in the Bible disappear when the New Testament is rightly considered subject to the Tanakh.  Evidence proving the existence of the Almighty Himself blazes forth as the unbreakable chain of both testaments is recognized.

I have thus far had no one give me any Scriptural refutation of my conviction that the Tanakh is the ONLY pure Holy Scripture.  In every attempt the promoter of an incorrect “New Testament faith” who implicitly or explicitly discards the “Old Testament” definitions of faith (such as Torah observance) to the wastebasket, has had to resort to standard orthodoxy – Christian traditions of men.  No one has presented any Scriptural proof that the authors of the New Testament considered their writings to be superior to or even equal to the Holy Scriptures they adored.  Simply stated, there is no Scriptural proof that the New Testament is “Scripture”, and that “Scriptural” fact enrages “Dispensationalists” and others who wish to do the devil’s work by throwing out the only True Holy Word of God.  The New Testament has been grossly misapplied by those who seem determined to rid mankind of the Eternal Word as defined by His faithful followers.

I still seek scriptural opposition to the scriptural position I take.  This requires that the “Scripture” be interpreted and used as the original authors would have intended it to be – to whom was it written, when was it written, about what was it written, what traditions existed and how do they integrate into an interpretation, etc. Frankly, failure to actually interpret from the true Hebraic context of the writers is the cause for the popular blasphemy within Christianity of the Scriptures (Tanakh) that the writers of the New Testament so loved.

I will not consider as reproof of my opinion “traditional” teachings or opinions that are not supported by Scripture.  Thus far, such opposition is all anyone has been able to mount.  All I have ever received as opposition is the traditional, classic assumption that the authors intended their writings to be “Scripture” even though they never said so.  This is an enormous, possibly unparalleled assumption; yet, few ever consider the immense implication of such an idea.  By this assumption many are literally declaring the Eternal Torah (teachings) of the Creator God to be superceded, or abolished, or at the very least equaled by writings whose authors NEVER implied such an outrageous idea.  The ease at which most make this assumption is indicative of how horribly diminished the concept of God and His Word has become in the minds of many traditional Christians.  This is yet one of many proofs of how the fear, awe, love, majesty, glory, and honor of God is all but dead in the minds of many that have been fed false doctrines from their Christian leaders.  To assume, just because tradition has always said so, that the Almighty, Eternal, Creator God’s Holy Word has been superceded by other writings is pure blasphemy, and I cannot sit by and allow such evil assumption to go unopposed.  The Holy One commands in Ezekiel 3 and 33, as well as elsewhere, that I am to oppose all forms of wickedness, and nothing is more wicked than attempts to eradicate His Holy Word.

It is amazing how much hatred can be generated towards those that stand on the foundation of the Holy Scriptures.  Satan really emerges in others when he sees his attempt to rid the world of God’s Word exposed.  I have already shown that there is but one verse in the entire Bible to which Tanakh and Torah haters can go, and I have also proven that verse to be inconclusive at best.  Perhaps someone can find one or two more, but they definitely will not find any in the Tanakh.  Ok, fine.  Then we will say the standard Christian position has a 31100 to 2 or 31099 to 3 weight of evidence against it.  But, alas, I fully expect the traditional bias of many to rise to the surface as they find themselves without any sound basis for the dominant implicit or explicit teaching within Christianity that the New Testament is “better” or “supercedes” the Tanakh.  It does not, never did, and never will!

I choose to use the same Bible Messiah Yeshua used – the same Bible Paul used – the same Bible Peter used – the same Bible Timothy used – the same Bible James, John, Matthew, Mark, Luke and all of the original followers of our Lord used.  If others choose not to, they will have to answer to the ONE who inspired that Bible they are discarding.  I stand on the scripturally defined Scripture.  My friend, on what do you stand?

I sincerely pray you will deeply consider what Scripture defines as Scripture and will then seek truth from those Holy Writings.

© TORAH OF MESSIAH

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED