What Does “Under the Law” Really Mean?

One of the reasons why there can be problems between Christians and Messianics is because many Messianics do not know how to properly defend their faith and practice. This is most evident when Christians who oppose the widespread Messianic conviction that the Torah or Law of Moses is valid instruction for today, claim that we are “under the Law”—and that this is not a position in which born again Believers should want to find themselves. Sadly, much of the Messianic handling of this one phrase has been rather underwhelming. We must be able to better see how it is used in the New Testament, and what “under the Law” really means.

This publication addresses the clause “under the Law” (Greek hupo nomon), how it is used, and what it means in its appropriate context in view of what both the Tanach and Apostolic Scriptures tell us about the significance of God’s Torah. It examines Yeshua’s words on the matter of the Law of Moses. It considers, in detail, how a variety of Christians and Messianic teachers have handled this term, defending the view that “under the Law” means being subjected to the Torah’s condemnation upon sinners—which born again Believers have obviously been redeemed from.

112 pages

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The Hebrew New Testament Misunderstanding

Over the years, Outreach Israel Ministries and Messianic Apologetics have had to field the question, Do you believe that the New Testament was originally written in Hebrew? many, many times. Given the complicated spiritual and theological dynamics present within the Messianic movement—one has to really have some courage to say, No, we do not believe that the New Testament was originally written in Hebrew. There is, to be sure, no Hebrew New Testament document or fragment of any kind from the broad Biblical period. This stands in stark contrast to the fact that the Greek New Testament, and fragments of the Greek New Testament, are the most widely attested and accessible work of antiquity—even more so than the classical works of Greece and Rome.

The claim that the Gospel of Matthew was originally written in Hebrew, has actually been disregarded by many in Biblical Studies. The idea that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of colloquial Hebrew expressions or Hebraisms contained in the New Testament, so-called proof of a written Hebrew original, can be contested. Ultimately, because of much of the Messianic movement’s leaders’ lack of homework—there are many ideas circulating about a presumed “Hebrew New Testament” which cannot be substantiated.

Sorting through this, sifting through data and noise, and evaluating what is fact and what is fiction—is by no means something easy. While seeking to maintain the inspiration, integrity, and reliability of the Greek Apostolic Scriptures—no one wants to be perceived as somehow trying to discount the veracity of the Hebrew Tanach, Hebrew language studies, or even studies in Judaism as somehow illegitimate. Yet, there are ideological questions to be asked about the existence of the Greek Apostolic Scriptures, historical questions to be asked about the logic of Hebrew New Testament proponents, and other significant side-issues to be evaluated. As we seek some resolution to these issues, we should each be asked to prayerfully and thoughtfully consider the following statement from Proverbs 18:17:

“The one who first states a case seems right, until the other comes and cross-examines” (NRSV).

Many of you are likely to have heard some teachings or statements on the origin of the Apostolic Scriptures or Messianic Writings—which have made some presumed “sense” to you. It may be time for you to perhaps consider another opinion as it involves the origins of the New Testament. This publication offers you some information, which you are going to have to weigh into your evaluations, as we consider some of the documented facts regarding the origin of the New Testament or Apostolic Scriptures.

168 pages

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 20-page excerpt

English Bible Versions and Today’s Messianic Movement

What English Bible version should you use as as a contemporary Believer? This is a topic that can not only be rather confusing, but is something that can also evoke some rather strong emotions. Very few English Bible readers, who are committed to a steadfast faith in God, ever stick with one single Bible version or translation to employ in their studies. At the same time, though, it might also be said that various Bible readers can get a bit too comfortable examining a particular version, because they just get too familiar with it, or they are too stuck reading a particular Bible with their personal notes in it, or they get too acclimated to a particular version for some other sentimental reason.

Today’s Messianic people are widely astute and aware of how each English Bible version, whether it be Jewish or Christian, is going to have some kind of translation bias to it. Jewish versions of the Tanach in English are not likely to translate various Messianic passages in support of the Messiahship of Yeshua of Nazareth, whereas Christian versions will. Various Christian versions of the Apostolic Scriptures, or New Testament, will not typically translate various passages about the Torah or Law of Moses in favor of its continued validity in the post-resurrection era. Yet, both Jewish and Christian Bible versions are used and employed by the broad Messianic movement. And, the Messianic movement itself has produced several Bible versions of its own which are employed within its ranks. Today’s Messianic versions tend to widely uphold the Messiahship of Yeshua and the validity of the Torah, but may have other limitations.

This analysis will attempt to explore some of the key details which today’s Messianic people need to be aware of when they encounter various English Bible versions. We will be reviewing some of the contemporary Jewish and Christian versions which are used in sectors of the Messianic movement. Also important will be a review of some Messianic Bible versions, particularly of the Apostolic Scriptures, which tend to be encountered.

58 pages

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