My Own Personal Torah

My Own Personal Torah

“Form many groups and study Torah, for the Torah is only acquired through study in a group.” (Talmud, Berakhot 63b)

Ideas such as Sola Scriptura undermine the process of learning that is required in a community setting, where the open sharing of thoughts and ideas must be encouraged and not discouraged, in an environment of reverence and respect for the leaders.

Unfortunately, the concept which runs rampant within the Church and the Messianic world is that every individual believer can read the Bible for themselves and determine what it means on any subject matter, on their own, without the help of others or the opinions or traditions of alternate viewpoints¬†being brought to bear. This may sound wonderfully idealistic, but it’s just not possible.

No matter who you are, and regardless of how objective you think your approach is, you are no doubt highly influenced by an inherited tradition of interpretation. You may think that you came to a conclusion on your own, but if we could rewind the movie of your life, we would find a moment (more likely a series of reinforced moments) in which your understanding was suggested to you by a trusted source of information. This is how learning happens. This is a wonderful aspect of human relationship.

But there is an interesting psychological phenomenon which occurs in our brains, causing us to attach emotion to opinions which we embrace, forging, over time, an impenetrable wall which enshrines these opinions as facts, building layer upon layer of supporting evidence while dismissing any “facts” which seem to contradict it. In psychology, this is called confirmation bias, and we are all guilty of it. It’s part of how we survive in the world. It’s a healthy aspect of how God has wired us, when understood and not allowed to stop the process of seeking truth.

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Burning Your Neighbor’s Field

Burning Your Neighbor’s Field

Boundaries are healthy. We all have a plot of ground in which God is planting us, and growing a field of grace which forms our contribution to the greater “land” of God’s people. If we fail to respect those boundaries, we violate our brother’s “field”. Learn how the rulings of the sages in the Talmud concerning these laws in the Torah can affect our view of our ministry and the responsibilities we have regarding it.

(Audio) Mediator of the Covenant

(Audio) Mediator of the Covenant

What is the role of Torah in the life of a Gentile? Is there a precedent to Gentiles receiving Torah obligation? Why does God use the agent of a mediator in the establishment of the covenant at Sinai, and how does this relate to the ministry of the Messiah? Finally, what is the difference between irrational fear vs. the fear of the LORD?