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The Pentateuch and the 21st Century Church

The first five books of the Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) are considered the Pentateuch or to the Jewish Religion Proper it is acknowledged as the Torah. The New Testament is considered to be the foundation of Christian Belief; however, I would argue that unless we understand, respect, and apply the principles of the Old Testament then we are not true New Testament believers. Jesus’ Ministry did not find its basic principles in the Old Testament, instead He preached from the Scrolls of the Old Testament and identified Himself as the fulfillment or full expression of the Old Testament or Old Covenant[1].

“17 If you think I’ve come to set aside the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets, you’re mistaken[2] all that has been written. 18 Indeed, I assure you, as long as heaven and earth endure, not even the smallest detaili of the Law will be done away with until its purpose is complete.a[3]

The Pentateuch is vital to both Christian Biblical Beliefs and Christian Spiritual Formation because it gives personification to man’s first dealings with God, defines man’s relationship with God, as well as provides direction for understanding why the world is in the state that it is in today.

Genesis sets the stage for the redemption story. Deuteronomy lays a foundation of covenant with God and gives revelation to the consequences of obedience juxtapose to disobedience as it relates to the covenant of God with man.

Leviticus changes the pace a little, but still provides very key concepts that are still, in my opinion, vital to the Christian development. Leviticus focuses on animal sacrifice and laying the groundwork for exactly how sacrifice is to be accomplished[4]. This is one of the things that makes it hard for many to reconcile as it pertains to being important to modern day Christianity. The covenant that God made with Israel is largely predicated on their ability to obey the instructions of this book. I believe there are key principles of sacrifice and obedience that can be pointed out in this book in order to allow the 21st Century Christian to live a dedicated life to God. This life is not without sacrifice. Sacrifice must become a common practice if we are going to be all that the Lord requires us to be.

The book of numbers often also loses its meaning because of the length of names that are often hard to pronounce, as well as details that the common lay person may not believe are relevant to the development of their life as a Christian. This book of the Pentateuch is about preparation for the promise of God. The first part of the book deals with “preparation to leave Mt. Siani[5]” the last half deals with “preparation to enter Canaan[6]”. This book also deals with vital principles that believers need in our spiritual formation to develop us into true disciples of Jesus.

It’s vital that we as believers take the Pentateuch or Torah just as seriously as our Lord Jesus in order to truly be shaped in his image. While the focus of this literature is the Pentateuch, the philosophies presented here are also relevant to the Old Covenant in its entirety. While we are under the New Covenant, until we understand the Old Covenant we will never be able to maximize our relationship with God and His Kingdom in the New.


Arnold, Bill T, and Bryan E Beyer. Encountering the Old Testament: A Christian Survey. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2015.

[1]Matthew 5:17

[2] Brian Simmons, tran., The Passion Translation: New Testament (BroadStreet Publishing, 2017), Mt 5:17.

iOr “not even one letter or even a part of the letter of the law.”

aOr “All its teachings come true.”

[3] Brian Simmons, tran., The Passion Translation: New Testament (BroadStreet Publishing, 2017), Mt 5:17–18.

[4]Bill T Arnold and Bryan E. Beyer, Encountering the Old Testament: A Christian Survey (Grand Rapids, Baker Academic, 2015)

[5]Arnold, Baker, Encountering the Old Testament: A Christian Survey

[6]Arnold, Baker, Encountering the Old Testament: A Christian Survey

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