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Torah (Hebrew: תורה) is the Hebrew word meaning "teaching". Its root means to throw or shoot an arrow. God uses this word in scripture to signify His teaching to His people. When Torah is mentioned it is most often associated with the Torah of Moses, or Pentateuch, which is the first five books of the Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) written down, in traditional view, by Moses. The Mosaic Law is found in these five books.

However, God uses the word Torah to signify His instructions throughout the Hebrew scriptures, including the Prophets and the Psalms. Since all of His Word is His Teaching, all of it is His Torah.

Christians usually call the Torah "the Law," because most English translations of scripture translate "torah" as "law". The reason this came about is because rabbis before the time of Christianity are alleged to have translated the Torah into Greek, called the Septuagint. Other works were later added to it anonymously. The Septuagint translated "torah" into the Greek word "nomia". Nomia was used in Greek culture to mean "an unalterable law". Following this tradition, the Greek New Testament also used nomia to signify the torah. The Torah is unalterable, and technically it is law, since breaking it does have penal consequences. However, the Torah is first of all the teaching of a protective parent who loves His children enough to preserve them in righteousness.

This is the way which God wanted His people to view His instructions. To view Torah as arbitrary condemnatory legalese, used as tedious entrapment against mankind, is the gravest of misconceptions. Many have had this erroneous view of Torah, and thus feel impelled to find an excuse to discount or destroy its value.

Another Greek word used in the New Testament is "dogma". Sometimes this word is incorrectly translated as "ordinances", but the proper translation is "the authoritative opinions of men". This word is confused with nomia, and thus Torah, by many, yet they have nothing in common. It is dogma which Jesus has overcome and put away, but He Himself said the Torah would never, in time, pass away, because the Torah is His Word.

18For 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. 19Whosoever 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. Matthew 5:18-19 (KJV)

Since the New Testament confirms that the Torah is holy, righteous and good (Romans 7:12), Torah cannot in any way be a thing to be disdained or disregarded by true Bible believers. Also, Bible believers should consider that the very concept of Torah must include ALL that God ever commanded to be written as His instruction. If you believe the New Testament was given by God, then that makes it a part of Torah. Thus, to disdain Torah is to disdain the New Testament also. The Most High does not differentiate His Word, since He is always the same.

See also