I've embarked on a journey of re-reading the Hebrew Bible, the Tanakh, with a specific goal in mind – to gain a deeper understanding of how Jesus understood the Scriptures. I want to dive into the texts that laid the foundation for my faith as a Christian.

As I am restarting my Bible study, I noticed that there are some of issues I had to confront head on and some practices I am choosing to commit to as I move forward in this journey through the Tanakh.

  • Unlearning the term “Old Testament” — When I read Jesus quoting the Scriptures in the Gospels, I have to make the observation that he is not talking about the same book I am sitting in my living room reading. He does not have an imitation leather-bound book with tiny texts, footnotes, cross references, and a concordance. He was talking about the Tanakh. Even as a Christian today, when I flip to the Old Testament, there is a disconnect. I don’t regard the Scriptures the way a Jewish reader would. I definitely don’t know the Scriptures the way a Jewish reader does. And, when I think about how Jesus would’ve understood and regarded God’s Word, when I think about His hearers… they would have had a shared context — the understanding and the teachings of the Tanakh!! There’s a shared hope that has been engrained in creation, exodus, and promise. I learned some things about the differences between the Old Testament and the Tanakh, and I am studying through the Bible this year using the arrangement of the Scriptures as they are ordered in the Tanakh.

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