UniversityONE of the many things I have learned over the years is that the learning comes from the doing. It is like God was saying to me, "You haven't been obedient to what I already taught you. Why should I teach you new things?" Once I got that into my brain many years ago, and started being obedient to God, then HaShem began to teach me far more than I could have ever imagined.

     As an example of this direction of thought: Try to imagine a place called Baseball University. Young people enroll in Baseball University. They study diligently for four years, watching reruns of historic baseball games, and under great experts in baseball. Some even go on to get a Masters Degree in "Baseball."

     They finally graduate and decide to join a baseball team. There's just one problem: They never actually played the game themselves! They get out on the field, and turn out to be terrible baseball players! Why is that? Well, like I said, the learning comes from the doing.

     It is the same with studying the Scriptures, both the Foundational Scriptures (O.T.), and the Apostolic Scriptures (NT). I hasten to add: You cannot possibly have a good understanding of the Newer Testament if you don't understand the Tanakh (OT). However, even then, if you decide to just get "head" knowledge without actually obeying God's instructions, you will fall woefully short in understanding the Bible.

     Here is one more tidbit of information: Torah is generally translated as "Law." With my hippie background, I was utterly appalled at a bunch of rules and regulations. I liked pastors who taught things like, "Jesus kept the Law so I don't have to." Wow! Great!  Of course, that saying isn't in the Bible, but it sounded wonderful to my ignorant ear drums.

     However, it should also be noted that Torah more accurately means "Instruction." And instructions are good, not bad. In the glove box of my automobile, there is a booklet called, "The Manufacturer's Handbook." This booklet gives me instructions on how to take proper care of my car. Do I have to obey those instructions? No, not really. I have a choice: I can obey those instructions and maintain my car in excellent running condition for many years. And when I decide to trade it in, it will be worth far more. I can also choose to disobey those instructions, and pay a fortune in auto repairs, and ultimately end up with a car that is worth almost nothing at trade-in time.

     The same holds true with Torah -God's Instructions to us. I have heard it said that it is the "Ten Commandments," not the "Ten Suggestions." However, in a sense the Ten Commandments (and many more!) are very much voluntary. Adonai does not force us to obey His words. We can obey, and reap the many benefits, or we can disobey, and reap the consequences - both in this life and also in the Olam Haba - the World to Come.

     And one of the many benefits of obeying God's instructions is that we finally begin to understand the Scriptures better. God isn't going to teach you new things until you have been obedient to what He has already taught you!

     Many men and women study for years in Bible colleges and seminaries. Regretfully, they are often taught that the "Old Testament" is outdated, replaced by the new, better version of Scripture. I have on occasion used Scripture to back up a doctrine. Then the Christian will say, "Oh, that's just Old Testament!"

     Imagine how that would sound to the ears of Yeshua. The "Old" Testament happens to be the only Scriptures that Yeshua knew. It is also the only Bible that existed for another century. Rav Sha'ul (Paul) wrote to Timothy, "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16)." When Paul wrote about Scripture, he was referring to the Tanakh, the Old Testament. When Yeshua or Paul wanted to back up any doctrine, they quoted the only Scriptures that existed at that time: The Old Testament. Both Yeshua and Paul loved the Scriptures. Please don't dismiss the Scriptures they loved.