Law – Hebrew: Torah


Torah in Hebrew means ‘teaching and instruction.’ Torah is also known as the ‘commandments of God,’ ‘law of the LORD,’ the ‘law of Moses.’ According to God, it is to be guarded and observed in order to have abundant life. In the Complete Jewish Bible, Torah is found 410 times; 174 in the Old Testament and 236 in the New.

“Then he took the book of the covenant (instruction) and read it aloud so the people could hear; and they responded, “Everything that ADONAI has spoken, we will do and obey.’ Moshe took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, ‘This is the blood of the covenant which ADONAI has made with you in accordance with all these words” (Exodus 24:8, Complete Jewish Bible).

“Then he (Moses) took the Book of the Covenant (instruction) and read it to the people.  They responded, “We will do everything the LORD has said we will obey” (Exodus, 24:8, New International Bible).

When Torah is mistranslated as ‘law,’ it gives sense of legalism which perverts the true meaning and purpose of the word Torah.

“ADONAI said to Moshe, ‘Come up to me on the mountain, and stay there.  I will give you the stone tablets with the Torah (direction and instruction) and the mitzvot (commands) I have written on them, so that you can teach them” (Exodus 24:8, CJB).

“The LORD said to Moses, ‘Come up to me on the mountain and stay here, and I will give you the tablets of stone, with the law (torah) and commands I have written for their instruction” (Exodus 24:8, NIV).

Hebrew Word Picture

ת Tav – Crossed Sticks means ‘sign’ or ‘covenant.’

ו Vav – A Nail means ‘binding.’

ר Resh – A Head means ‘highest authority.’

ה Hey – A Window means ‘behold’ or ‘reveal.’

The Hebrew Word Picture for torah: covenant binding to the highest authority revealed.

Greek – nomos means that which is assigned, prescribed by custom or statute.  This word implies administration of justice.

Vines Expository Dictionary of Hebrew and Greek Words says, “The statement maintains the freedom of the believer from the ‘law’ in its totality as a means of justification. Nomos is a term for ‘law’ comprising all Scriptures, not a ‘law’ of compulsion enforced from without, but meeting with ready obedience through the desire and delight of the renewed being who is subject to it; into it he looks and in its teaching he delights.”

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