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Torah Not Law Skewed in Translation

March 16, 2019

Blessed is the man [whose] delight is in the Torah (Teaching) of the LORD and he meditates on His Torah (Teaching) both day and night. Ps 1:1a-2

Torah Is Our Father’s Teaching / Instruction

Rev. William Morford’s exegesis of Torah versus Law states, “Christian translators nearly always translate both Torah and Nomos [Greek] as Law, even though that is not the meaning for either the Hebrew or the Greek. Torah means teaching or instruction, not law…. Nomos, the Greek word for Torah, frequently translated LAW…can mean law, but would more accurately be translated Torah (Teaching) 90 percent of the time in the New Testament.” [1]

Hebrew scholar Jeff Benner writes, “The Hebrew word ‘Torah’ is usually translated into the English word ‘law.’ Because of this translation there is a great misunderstanding of what ‘Torah’ truly is. ‘TORAH IS NOT LAW.’ When we use the word ‘law’ we assume a certain meaning and concept of the word that is not present in the Hebrew Scriptures.”  Benner emphasizes that Torah is our Father’s Teaching. A Hebraic definition of Torah is "a set of Instructions, from a father to his children; violation of these instructions are disciplined in order to foster obedience and train his children. We note the word ‘Torah’ is translated in the following passage in the NIV: Listen, my son, to your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching [Torah], Pr 1:8.” [2]

Etymology of the Hebrew Word Torah

 “Torah comes from the Hebrew verb yarah, ‘to cast, throw, shoot.’ This same Hebrew root is also used as an archery term meaning ‘to take aim, to shoot,’… to hit a target…. The opposite of [Torah] is chata which means ‘to miss the mark.’ Chata is the word translated as ‘sin.’… In Paul tells us that all have sinned [chata] and fallen short of the mark, Rom 3:23. The Torah is the target at which we aim our arrow. When our shot misses and falls short of the target, we have sinned. Sin is missing the mark of the Torah [our Father’s Teachings].” [3]

In Rom 10:4 Paul writes, Christ is the end of the law.  Jewish scholar, David Stern translates Rom 10:4, For the goal at which the Torah aims is the Messiah.[4] Christians read this that Christ is the cancellation of the law. However, the word telos (Greek) translated “end” means to arrive at a goal. Torah is from yarah to hit the mark, the bull’s-eye. The bull’s eye of Torah is the Messiah. Paul is saying Torah points to Messiah. Messiah is the target/goal of the Torah. Jewish writer Michael Washer examines Rom 10:4, “The word used for END is ‘telos.’ It means TARGET. It is the word from which we get ‘telescope.’ It could read Messiah is the goal, the bull’s-eye, the target of the Torah,” [5]

[1] One New Man Bible, p. 1804

[2] Torah Resources International

[3] Robert Lancaster, Restoration, pp. 37

[4] Complete Jewish Bible, p. 1413

[5]Pictures, p. 70