Archive for the ‘Biblical Literacy’ Category

     Midrash, according to Dictionary.com is “an early Jewish interpretation of or commentary on a Biblical text, clarifying or expounding a point of law or developing or illustrating a moral principle.”  It can be understood as an intensification of Torah and the prophets.

     If we examine the teachings of Yeshua (Jesus), we can see that Yeshua did not cancel or nullify the law by His teaching, rather He intensified Torah by His midrashic interpretation. For an example, we can look to  Matthew 5:21-22 where Yeshua says, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.” We see Yeshua is taking the Torah (Exodus 20:13) and making application with intensification. Other examples can be found in Matthew 5:27, 33, 38 and 43.

It is our desire to help you grow in your knowledge of Adonai and His Word. If you are looking for additional information and/or materials, please visit our website at RootedinHisWord.org and our Facebook page. 

Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) where Yeshua ministered.

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To blame the Jews for the death of Jesus is a theological error so profound as to be only possible amongst those who suffer from severe Biblical illiteracy.

To suggest the guilt of the Jews is to ignore 6,000 years of Biblical history as well as both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament writings. Such a view can only be held by those who lack a true understanding of who Jesus really was and what He accomplished by dying as He did.

Jesus was a Jew. He was born and lived in Israel. He was circumcised. He spoke Hebrew. He wore a tallit (a prayer shawl). He learned the scriptures by rote memorization as a boy. He was in outward appearance like the other serious Jewish boys his age.

He would have called his father “Abba.” He would have attended synagogue with his family on Shabbat. He would have traveled with his family to Jerusalem for the three required feasts each year. He would have sung the songs of ascent on His way up to Jerusalem each year.

Like other Jews, Jesus had heroes–Abraham and Moses. Like other Jews, He had enemies–the Romans.

The Hebrew Bible is clear about Messiah. He would be born in Bethlehem. (Micah 5:2) He would be born of a virgin. (Isaiah 7:14) He would enter Jerusalem in triumph. (Zechariah 9:9) Messiah was to be rejected by his own people. (Isaiah 53:1, 3; Psalm 118:22) Even Jesus himself prophesied his arrest and execution by the religious authorities. (Luke 9:22) Messiah was to be betrayed by one of his followers. (Psalm 41:9) Messiah was to be tried and condemned. (Isaiah 53:8) Messiah would be silent before his accusers. (Isaiah 53:7) Messiah was to be struck and spat upon by his enemies. (Isaiah 50:6) Messiah as to be mocked and taunted. (Psalm 22:7, 8) Messiah was to die by crucifixion. (Psalm 22:14, 16-17)

The list of Hebrew Bible prophecies that foretell the details of Jesus final days on earth goes on in detail. These details were written hundreds of years before Jesus was even born. They were written by Hebrew prophets speaking the Words of Adonai–the only true and living God–the God of the Jews and the Christians.

Jesus’ fate was not determined by the Jews. His fate was set by God. To blame the Jews is to turn a blind eye to God and his plan for redemption which made clear through the Hebrew Bible. To blame the Jews is to overlook the sovereignty of God and to miss the message of His great love.

The Jews didn’t kill Jesus. Jesus gave His life–laid down His life–as a sacrifice to meet the requirements of the Torah, the law. He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God.

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Read Psalm 5
Because the Psalm is short, try to read it over several times during the week. Maybe even in different translations.

Psalm 5 is considered an individual lament psalm because it is a cry for help to God in a time of distress.

1. What background and/or historical knowledge do you have for this Psalm?

2. What is the Psalmist asking of God in the opening verses?

3. What does David (Psalmist here) have to say about God’s conduct and character? (Verses 3-6)

4. How does David describe his time with God? (Verses 7-8)

5. How does David describe his adversaries?
Going Deeper: From what you know of his life, who were some of David’s adversaries?

6. What do you learn about David from this Psalm? God? Believers (those who love God/righteous)?

7. What application can you make to your own life?


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Hopefully, you were reading your Bible this year. There are many different ways to read systematically through the Bible. This is the most effective way of ensuring you are not “cherry-picking” scriptures to read – that is choosing those parts of the Bible that say the things that you like and don’t confront you in the areas where you are not lined up with God. It is important to study the whole counsel of God to know God and to be able to walk with Him consistently – in the good times and in the tough times.

The following are some links to help you find a schedule of reading that suits your desires:

Blue Letter Bible reading plans

Ligonier Bible Reading


While it is not the time frame in which you finish reading the Bible through, it is the consistent, daily, verse-by-verse and chapter-by-chapter reading of the Bible that makes a huge difference. It is not that you will understand everything or apply everything, but it is the idea that you are exposing yourself to the entire revelation of God. By doing that consistently over time, you will begin to see that the word of God will change you.

I also recommend that as you read through the Bible, you write down verses or sections of scripture that minister or speak to you on any given day. This writing out of scripture helps to reinforce it in your mind. It also helps you to meditate on it as you write it out by hand.

The benefits of a journal are to numerous to go into here, but perhaps that is a topic for another post.

May the LORD richly bless your efforts to study His word consistently every day of 2017.


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In preparing for the coming year of building Biblical literacy, it is important to evaluate last year’s progress and to take a spiritual inventory of sorts. Consider the following questions as just some of the aspects of your spiritual life to consider:

1. What did you learn about studying the Bible this past year?

2. What books of the Bible did you read? Study?

3. Did God give you a scripture(s) this year? If He did, explain how that spoke to you throughout the year.

4. Did you share with anyone what you were learning from the Bible this year? Explain.

5. Did you share your testimony this year with anyone? Explain.

6. Did you lead anyone to Christ this year? Explain.

7. Did you disciple anyone in their walk with God this year? Explain.

8. Did anyone disciple you in your walk with God this year? Share your story.

9. What would you consider the spiritual highlights of this past year for you?

10. What, if any, spiritual goals do you have for the coming year?

As you consider these questions, feel free to post a comment sharing how God has brought you forward in your knowledge of Him and His word in 2016. I am sure this would be encouraging for everyone.

May God bless you as you close out 2016 and may He embolden you as you march forward into 2017.

Soli Deo gloria!

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Read Genesis 13.
1. What does Abram do after leaving Egypt according to Genesis 13:4?

2. A dispute arose between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock. How did Abram resolve the dispute according to Genesis 13:8-12?

3. Abram seeks peace with Lot and he even allows Lot to choose the land first. Read Psalm 33:16-22 and consider how Abram trusted in the LORD. How can you apply this to your current situation?

4. What do you learn about Sodom from Genesis 13?

5. Copy the promise of God to Abram in Genesis 13:14-17 below.



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The story of Abram (later known as Abraham) spans more than nine chapters in the book of Genesis. In order to be able to study the life of Abram and his part in God’s plan of salvation, we must look to chapters 12 to 20.

The introduction to Abram begins at the end of Genesis chapter 11. Re-read this section.
1. Record what you learn about Abram in Genesis 11:27-32.

2. Record what you learn about his wife, Sarai (Sarah).

3. What does Hebrews 11:8 tell us about Abraham (Abram)?

Read Chapter 12 of Genesis which begins with the call of Abram by the LORD.
4. What does God tell Abram in Genesis 12:1-3? How does Abram react?

5. What additional information about these events to you find in Acts 7:2-4?

6. In Genesis 12:7, God makes a promise to Abram. Copy it here. What does Abram do in response?

7. What does Abram do in Genesis 12:10? Why?

8. What does Abram tell Sarai to do when they get to Egypt in Genesis 12:11-13? Why?

9. What did Pharaoh do with Sarai? Why? What did he do for Abram?

10. What happened to Pharaoh after Sarai came to Pharaoh’s house? Why?

11. What is Pharaoh’s reaction to Abram when he finds out about the situation?

12. What do you learn about Abram from this story? What was Abram’s solution to his situation? What should his solution have been?

13. What do we learn about Sarai from the situation? Do you agree with what she did? Why or why not? How did God protect Sarai?

14. What does 1 Peter 3:1-6 add to what we know about Sarai (Sarah)?



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Read Genesis Chapter 11
1. What was the situation on the earth at the beginning of Genesis 11?

2. How did it change in the chapter?

3. What does Genesis 11:4 tell us about the heart of man at that time?

4. What does God do in genesis 11:5? What observations does He make?

5. What did God do? Why?

6. What happened as a result?

7. Who is Terah? What do you learn about him from the chapter?

8. Who is Abram? What do you learn about him from the chapter?

tower of babel 2

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Some biblical concepts are easier to understand than others. Redemption may be one of the easier ones. To redeem something means to buy it back.

Imagine you are short on funds for your rent payment. The landlord is threatening to evict you if you don’t pay by the close of business. How do you get money quick? You might consider pawning your Fender guitar – not because you want to sell it, but because it has value and the pawn shop owner might give you enough cash to make your rent. When you get paid at the end of the week, you might head back to the pawn shop to redeem – or buy back – your guitar.

  • What does this have to do with Jesus?
  • Who is being redeemed?
  • From what?
  • How?

The Bible teaches us that Jesus is the redeemer. (See Galatians 3:13; Titus 2:14, Hebrews 9:12)

We are the redeemed – some of us. The redemption is not limited to any particular group of people. The redeemed come from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. Revelation 5:9)

The redemption Jesus Christ offers is redemption from the curse of the law (Galatians 3:13), from every lawless deed (Titus 2:14) and from  power of the grave (Psalm 49:15)

It is by Jesus’ own blood that He redeemed us, purchased us back from the ruler of this world (Satan). (See Hebrews 9:12, Revelations 5:9)

The best news is that this redemption Christ has accomplished for me – for you – is eternal (it has no end).

pieces of silver

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In this series of posts on the vocabulary of the resurrection and surrounding events, today we consider redemption.

Here’s your assignment:

  1. Consider the dictionary definition of the words redeem and redemption.
  2. Consider the following verses and what they add to your understanding of redemption:
  • Psalm 49:8, 15
  • Lamentations 3:58
  • Galatians 3:13
  • Titus 2:14
  • Hebrews 9:12
  • Revelation 5:9


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