What is Studying Torah?

As we study and learn The Torah, the Tanach (the Jewish Bible) starts to come alive.

The purpose of Studying Torah is to assist those searching for the truth in Scripture. To help answer the questions that pertain to conflicting passages between the Tanach and the New Testament. This is accomplished by studying the foundation of our Holy Scriptures – The Torah, in conjunction with the Prophets and the Writings.

Introducing the Author –

Hi, my name is Jim Behnke. I was born and raised in a Evangelistic Christian home, we were in church whenever the doors were open. My parents were very involved in church activities. At a young age I felt that God was calling me to be a Pastor, thus I set out to attend a Bible College within the framework of the denomination we were affiliated with. One of my required classes was “Old Testament Survey”. One day after attending class, I had a question for the professor, pertaining to the commandments. My question was, “why do we follow some commandments and not others?”, and “Who made the decision about which ones we follow, and which ones we don’t?” His answer was, “Just accept it, that’s the way it is”. His response, was very frustrating, to the point that I didn’t open my Bible to study again for many years. At the end of that school year I left Bible College and transferred to a liberal arts college and on to a period of time in the military.

Looking back I can see where this was the beginning of my questioning Christianity, and searching for the truth. My search would be slow, but it would be thorough. I would attend church, wherever I was stationed in the military, but with limited involvement.

I met my wife to be, during my last year of military service. We both had been previously married, and took this commitment we were entering into very seriously. It was an instant family for me, as she was what I called, “a package deal”. I not only gained a wife, but two precious daughters. A year later we had a baby boy.

Being blessed with a wife and family, we jointly wanted to bring them up in a Christian home and with Christian values. So we were very involved in “the church” wherever we lived. A very good friend of mine, who was a retired Messianic Rabbi, introduced me to “Messianic Judaism”, during a church home group meeting. He used the approach that Christianity has its roots in Judaism, and so by learning about our Jewish roots will help us understand the Bible better. I was all in …. this may help me find the answer to my question from my college days, that continued to haunt me. He and his wife became very close friends with my wife and myself. Because of his extensive teaching we decided to leave the traditional church and join a Messianic Jewish fellowship in the local area.

We had left the traditional church, but Messianic Judaism wasn’t really different than the church, only names and labels were different. The beliefs were the same, even the service was basically the same, just some minor differences. One time in a church service we were singing the song, “O to like thee”, wile singing I had a “revelation” in my mind. I thought, “do I really mean that”, my answer was; “yes I do”. My next thought was, what does it mean, to be like him? To begin with, he was a Jew, not a christian. Did he start a new religion called Christianity? Was that his objective? After all these questions went through my mind, I went on a quest to find answers for me. They actually caused me to ask more questions.

I started to question everything about Christianity to where people shied away from me because, that was all I wanted to talk about. As I gained answers to my questions, and I investigated Judaism more, it became more an more obvious to me that my answers lied in the Jewish Bible and not in Christendom. A dear relative of mine and I were having a discussion about the Bible. His objective was to point out to me that I am going down the wrong path in my religious walk. I expressed to him that I was open to having a discussion, but I do not desire to allow it to lead into a an argument. We agreed. I expressed, “so we have a common denominator, can we agree that the base or foundation of the Bible is the Torah?” He would not agree to that statement. He believed that the New Testament was the foundation. I countered with the fact that without the Torah there would not be a New Testament. The Torah establishes the fact that there is a God, and He created all things. He still would not budge from his position. We had a friendly discussion, but that was all that it could be, without a common base. I was saddened by what I came to realize by our conversation. I heard a Rabbi refer to “the Christian Bible” one time meaning the New Testament only. I didn’t relate to his statement because I felt that the Christian Bible consisted of both the Old and New Testaments. However based on what my relative said, I then realized that what the Rabbi said was True. The Christian Bible is the New Testament and has precedence over the Old Testament.

It is my desire that as you read the topics in this Blog you will be motivated to investigate further looking for your answers to the questions that you are searching. I found my answers in the Jewish Bible, the Tanach and not in the teachings and misquotes of Paul from the New Testament Bible. Many of the Blog articles are to present the differences between the two Bibles. I also point some translation errors in the Christian Old Testament.

Jim Behnke

Below is Deuteronomy 13:1-5, from the NKJ. Please read it and keep it in mind as you read through the various articles. It is easy to get caught up in a “sign” a “wonder”, or a “miracle”. Thinking it must be “of God”, when in reality it isn’t. We do get tested, so we must study the Scriptures “in context”. So that we know what is true. Today there are hundreds and hundreds of religious groups looking for people to be a part of their sect. These groups work off from the members emotions, using a very effective charisma, drawing them into their web. Know the Scripture for yourself, don’t be dependent on a Spiritual Leader that is trying to build a spiritual empire.

If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’—which you have not known—‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him. But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has spoken in order to turn you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of bondage, to entice you from the way in which the Lord your God commanded you to walk. So you shall put away the evil from your midst. Deuteronomy 13:1-5

Your word is a lamp unto my feet. Psalms 119:105

You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commands of the Lord your G-d which I command you. Deuteronomy 4:2

Blessed are You, Adonai our G-d, Sovereign of all, who hallows us with mitzvot, commanding us to engage with words of Torah.

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