Do you ever find the Bible difficult to understand?
The Bible was written over a span of 1500 years by Jewish men who lived in Jewish culture and spoke Hebrew, Aramaic, and sometimes Greek. No wonder we can have trouble. The Bible is filled with Hebrew idioms which are hard for us to understand without their proper context.
If I told my Iranian friend, “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch,” she would have no idea what I meant. That’s how it can be for us when reading the Bible.
For instance, Matthew 6:22-23 ESV says, “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!”
About ten years ago, I got excited when a local rabbi taught me a few things about the Hebrew language. He told me interesting things about the Hebrew letters and their meanings. You see, not only does Hebrew have an alphabet, it has a pictograph and a numerical part to their language.
The first letter of the Hebrew language is Aleph and looks like this:
It has three parts to it, but its numerical value is one (can you say, Trinity?). Its pictograph is of an ox and means strength and leader. It is the letter that represents the Father. It is used in El as in Elohim.
Every letter in the Hebrew alphabet has a name. English has the letters a, b, c, d… but that is it, no words, or names to represent them. Hebrew has a letter much like our W, but has the sound of an “s” or “sh.” It looks like this:
Its name is shin (pronounced sheen) and it means sacrifice. We find this letter in Jesus’ Hebrew name Yeshua. It is also in God’s name El Shaddai. It is believed that God wrote His name in Jerusalem. If you look at maps of the valleys in Jerusalem it looks like the letter shin.
The blue lines represent the three valleys in Jerusalem and the Shin–or Shaddai.
But enough of the alphabet… By the way, Hebrew is where we get that word, too. The first letter of their alphabet is aleph and the second letter is a bet. You can find more on this at http://www.hebrew4christians.com.
We have been taught for a long time that Luke was Greek. But from what I have learned he was a Jewish man and probably one of Yeshua’s seventy-two disciples mentioned in Scripture.
If you really pay attention to not only who Luke writes to, but what he writes about in his Gospel and Acts, you can see clues to who this man was. He dedicates his book to Theophilus (Theophilus ben Ananus). It has been found that this man was a high priest during the time of the second temple period from 37 to 41 CE. (https://www.geni.com/people/Theophilus-ben-Ananus-High-Priest-of-Iudaea/6000000021729306527)
Why would a Jewish High priest read a letter from a Gentile? He would not. Luke gave an account of Yeshua’s life to this high priest who was concerned about who the priests under him were following. (Many priests from the temple followed Yeshua).
Second, Luke wrote a lot about Yeshua’s life where the temple is concerned. He starts off his book introducing Zechariah, a temple priest, and the father of John the Baptizer. He moves on to the birth of Yeshua, his presentation by his parents at the temple, and later, his bar mitzvah and being found by his parents talking with the rabbis in the temple in Luke 2.
There is much we can learn from our Jewish friends about the Bible.
You may or may not agree with me. That is okay. We do not worship the Bible or its human authors, but we worship the Author and perfecter of our faith–Jesus Christ/Yeshua Ha Mashiach
I have much more to share. Stay tuned.
Please let me know what you think. If you have questions, I will do my best to answer them. Thanks for reading!
Genre: Bible study
Copyright 2020: The Aleph and Bet of Christanity: Stephanie Pavlantos: All Rights Reserved