What do we mean by the term Torah?
The Hebrew word, turah, is derived from a root that was used in the realm of archery, yarah. Yarah means to shoot an arrow in order to hit a mark.
The mark or target, of course, was the object at which the archer was aiming. Consequently, turah, one of the nouns derived from this root, is, therefore, the arrow aimed at the mark, the target is the truth about God and how one relates to Him. The turah is, therefore, in the strict sense instruction designed to teach us the truth about God.
• Instruction, or
We should note that the usual translation of this word as law is not quite accurate (1). One of the most common ways that turah is rendered in the Septuagint (LXX) (2) is by using the word nomosv, nomo? The Greek word nomos, however, has a variety of uses, among which, to be sure, is law, but it is certainly not limited to law.
Following the precedent set by the LXX, the New Testament Scriptures consistently render the Hebrew turah by the term nomos. This is where things begin to become confusing. Sometimes, in the New Testament Scriptures, it is appropriate to translate nomos as law.
However, other times it is more appropriate to render it as God's teaching/instruction, or simply to transliterate the term as Turah. The context of the word is always the final determiner of its meaning.
There are at least two other related Hebrew words derived from the same root as turah. The first is the word for teacher, murah. A murah is one who imparts instruction to his/her students. The second important word is parent, hurah. This indicates to us that one of the primary roles for a parent is to teach and instruct the child. (3)
There is one additional thought we would like to share before we close this rather extended definition of the word turah.
Since the term turah means instruction or teaching, in a very real sense the word can be applied to the entire Bible. Whereas most would use turah in reference to the first five books of the Scriptures, we at Seed of Abraham Apostolic Fellowship believe that it is a term that can rightfully be extended to include the rest of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.
Hence, when we use the word turah throughout our website, unless we specify otherwise, we are referring all scripture. This means, among other things, that since all believers in Yahusha/Jesus claim that Genesis to Revelation is their sole spiritual authority, then all believers in Yahusha/Jesus are Turah observant.
The only question is to what degree are they Turah observant. One of the hopes of Seed of Abraham Apostolic Fellowship is that we can help all believers in Turah/Jesus to let the entire Word of God be applied to their lives.
Let us state the issue differently, with more accurate terms: One of the goals of Seed of Abraham Apostolic Fellowship is to help encourage every believer in Yahusha/Jesus to yield his/her members to Yahusha/Jesus who lives in them. When they do that, Yahusha/Jesus, the Living Turah, will live His Turah-faithful life in them and through them to others.
1. Roland de Vaux, Ancient Israel, p. 354.
2. The Septuagint is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures made approximately 250 years before Yahusha/Jesus. We will continue to designate the Septuagint in this essay by its oft-used abbreviation: LXX.
3. A commonly accepted resource for the information concerning the meaning of turah is Brown, Driver, and Briggs English-Hebrew Lexicon. Pages 434 - 436 will help.