How this Christian JWR Reader found inspiration and enlightenment in her own faith through a new Jewish Bible
Dear Jewish World Review:
As a Christian who loves the Jewish people, I've been a fan of your site for several years. After a tour of Israel with my pastor a few years ago, I became absorbed with exploring the Jewish roots of my Christian faith. Along the way, I've discovered many other sincere believers who both love the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and His people, the Jews. Like me, they're engaged in a similar search of spiritual archaeology. The journey has been frustrating and fascinating, a kind of spiritual see-saw at times as I've vacillated between certainty and searching.
While my facility with Hebrew is limited, I know enough to see that there are some curious differences between the biblical text Jews have traditionally used and the translations I've relied upon to convey the meaning of the Hebrew text. That has been once source of my frustration.
(For those who may not know, Tanach is a Hebrew acronym which stands for Torah, Prophets, and Writings and constitutes what many refer to in English as the "Old Testament", though the order and method of numbering the books is different.)
I was familiar with ArtScroll as a well-known publisher of Jewish books in English. In fact, I have a few books from them. But I was overjoyed to find this "Jewish Bible for the English reader". It's an authentically Jewish interpretation of the Hebrew Scriptures. But it's not a liberal commentary, like others I've seen. It's written from a posture of faith and acceptance of God as Creator, as Sustainer of the world, and as Giver of the written Word to the Jewish people through Moses and the prophets. I also believe that.
Secondly, the commentary on nearly every page provides fascinating insights from the Hebrew language and from rabbinic interpretation. In flipping through the volume, I noted that the ArtScroll English Tanach explains a number of passages that have been misunderstood in other English translations. Two popular examples are "ayin tachas ayin an eye for an eye" and "lo tirzach do not kill." The Jewish Sages explain that "an eye for an eye" is a compensatory statement --- to pay damages for the loss of an eye. And the Torah's notion of killing goes further than murder. It also includes manslaughter; it can also mean to embarrass a person publicly or to deprive one of livelihood. I had no idea the Jewish point of view had such layers of meaning on a text.
The English translation is contemporary and engaging. There are a lot of useful maps, diagrams, charts, and other study aids in the back that add yet more depth. My favorite is the Tanach at a Glance section, which provides a quick overview of the contents of each chapter along with the verse reference where it appears. I do get a bit lost in the rabbinic commentary because I'm not familiar with all the sources cited.
Most amazing, though, is how the publisher has managed to make all 24 books of the Bible fit into one lightweight volume. Though the book is over 1,400 pages, it's just two pounds!
The "Jewish roots" movement among Christians is very widespread today. I see it manifest in so many ways; in our fellowship's menu of adult education classes, in the Hebraic flavor of music in our worship services, and even in the choice of some to keep a biblical form of kosher eating (avoiding pork and shellfish products, for example). I know believers who have stopped celebrating Christmas and Easter, claiming those holidays have their roots in paganism. Instead, they are celebrating biblical holidays, such as the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkos), Purim (associated with the salvation of the Jews described in the Book of Esther), and even Passover Seders.
At the end of the day, it all comes back to the Bible and its prescriptions for right living. This ArtScroll Tanach is inspiring me to deepen my understanding and appreciation of the Jewish perspective. I have so much to share now with my Bible study group! I've recommended this new Bible to a number of other believers who, like me, love the Word and who study it daily to "show themselves approved unto God".
SEE FOR YOURSELF
Witness the new Bible for yourself by
by clicking HERE. (Scroll down a bit). You can also buy it at a 10% discount.
I know JWR has many Christian readers. I hope that they'll too avail themselves to this spiritual gift.
As for your Jewish fans, I can't imagine that the People of the Book don't already have one at home or in the office. But if that's the case, take it from somebody who admires your heritage, this Book is a must-have. Treasure it.
In His love and grace,
Los Angeles CA
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