Bible Question:

In reading your answer to the question about why Jews do not believe in Jesus you mention that the Jews, read the Tanakh. I thought they read the Torah. Is this another version of the Torah just like we have different versions of the Bible?

Bible Answer:

The Tanakh is a Jewish name for the Old Testament. The term Old Testament is a Christian term which refers to the sacred books written before Jesus Christ. We believe that God has added new revelation or books after Jesus Christ and so we call them the New Testament. Together, the Old and New Testaments are called the Bible.

The Tanakh of Hebrew Scriptures

The Tanakh includes all of the Old Testament books. They are arranged into different groups and into a different order from their order in the Bible. The Tanakh includes sections called “The Law” or Torah, the Nev’im or “The Prophets,” and the Kethuvim or “The Writings.” The Tanakh is an acronym of the Torah, Nevi’im, and Kethuvim: TaNaKh.

The Tanakh

Here is the order of the books within the Torah, The Writings, and the The Prophets.

The LawThe ProphetsThe Writings
Leviticus1-2 SamuelJob
Numbers1-2 KingsSong of Solomon
The TwelveEsther
Obadiah1 and 2 Chronicles

Jesus referred to the Tanakh in the gospel of Luke when He said,

Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” (NASB) Luke 24:44

The Talmud

The Talmud is essentially an interpretation of the Tanakh. It contains the opinions of ancient rabbis. It provides laws, comments, Jewish traditions and regulations of Jewish life. The regulations speak to prayer life, “mitzvot” or Jewish obligations, and rules about holidays.

The Talmud

The Talmud is both oral and written. The Mishnah is the oral law and the Gemara is written.


On the Sabbath, only certain portions of the Tanakh are read. The entire Old Testament is never read, only portions. There are Jews who have never read the sacred writings. A Jewish friend has stated that many Jews have never read the entire Tanakh. What they believe is what has been taught to them by their rabbis, just like many Christians. This means that most Jews have never read Daniel 9:25-26, Isaiah 53 or Psalm 22. The Talmud explains “everything” most Jews believe they need to know. That is true of Christians too! We all need to be students of the Word of God. He wrote it for us.