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Vocab Insight: Torah / Instruction

What does the Hebrew word “torah” mean in the Bible? Explore the many ways this word is used and how it connects to Jesus.

Insights Mar 18, 2024



“Blessed is the person who does not walk in the council of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers. But his delight is in the torah of the Lord and on his Torah, he meditates day and night.”1

“Torah” means instruction and teaching, mainly from God, but also from priests, prophets, wise people, parents, and even friends.

“Torah” sometimes refers to the Hebrew Bible's first five books. It's also a shorthand for the Hebrew Scriptures as a whole.

“Torah” can also specifically mean laws and rules, like those given through Moses. With these laws, God instructs Israel in ways of love, justice, and generosity.

Jesus and the New Testament authors touch on all three meanings when calling the Scriptures the “Torah and the Prophets.” They’re referring to these instructions, stories, and laws found in the Hebrew Bible. It’s all Torah. And as Jesus says:

“Do not presume that I came to abolish the Torah and the Prophets. I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill.” 2

1. Psalm 1:1–2
2. Matthew 5:17
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