Like many of you, I spend a fair amount of time reading and learning. There is so much!!
Here are a couple books I have recently finished that are well worth your consideration!
First up is a fantastic little volume that is chock full of thought trails. They Loved The Torah, by David Friedman, Ph.D., is possibly one of the best simple, concise defenses from Scripture dealing with first century believers and Torah.
While Dr. Friedman could have expanded this into a huge tome, he wisely kept it under 150 pages for a very fast and easily absorbed read. As such, he introduces the reader to a wonderful overview of Torah observance by Yeshua, Peter, Paul, James, some priests, believing Pharisees, etc. In short, there is not one instance of Torah denial or denigration anywhere in the New Testament.
As a professor of history and former college dean (if I remember correctly, I do not have the book in front of me), Dr. Friedman does a wonderful job of turning up passages that I had previously overlooked. To his credit, he exposes the passages with general insight, but leaves enough for the student to go back and explore on their own.
The book appears to be aimed primarily at his Jewish brothers, and therefore never discusses the Gentile responsibility (he conveniently skips over Acts 15:21 at one point), to the Torah. However, the clear implication is that the Body of Believers in the first century loved the Torah and considered it to be the standard of righteousness to which we are called.
I highly recommend this book and believe that after you read it, you will find that it is a choice selection for giving to those with questions about why you do what you do!
The second book I have had for a while and have read parts more than once. Having finished it again last night, I am convince that Hebraic Roots: An Introductory Study, by William Mark Huey and J.K.McKee is one of the very best ‘beginner’s manuals’ or overview’s of the Messianic position. Laid out in 12 concise chapters, complete with study questions and note taking spaces, this book is designed for group or individual digging into the valid claims of the “Hebrew Roots Movement.”
Each chapter deals with a specific topic, and most seek to answer a particular question. Chapter headings include: Why do we need the Torah? Why do we celebrate the Biblical feasts? Why do we eat Biblically kosher? Are Israel and the Church separate?
Each question is powerfully answered and defended in six to eight pages. Scripture from both halves of the Book are brought to bear in order to reveal a holistic approach to the Bible. McKee, particularly gifted in the original languages (he is the 2009 recipient of the Zondervan Biblical Languages Award for Greek), wonderfully cuts to the core issues, while being very readable for even the ‘non-scholar.’
This introductory study is excellent to have on hand for the next person with questions, or as a terrific refresher. I highly recommend it.
The final book for this installment, I picked up yesterday at noon and am more than halfway through. I just can’t put it down!! Restoration: Returning the Torah of god to the Disciples of Jesus, by, D. Thomas Lancaster is another absolutely fantastic introductory book.
Two parts of this book have been most impactful. First, Lancaster begins with a very personal chapter telling his ‘story’ of how our Father awakened him. He was the son of a pastor and from a family with long spiritual ties which led him to deep study. It didn’t hurt that his older brother was a professor in Israel for a while and blazed the trail that introduced him to what it really means to ‘walk as the Messiah walked.’
The second chapter is a quick but careful explanation of the first four centuries of belief in Messiah. He is careful to point out the errors and reasons for both sides that led to the ‘divorce’ between Judaism and Christianity. As he articulates the history, he does so in a manner that is neither ‘wild-eyed’ or ‘accusatory’ (aren’t we all guilty of both at times?), but stage-setting for explaining a 3400 year old prophecy concerning the very restoration we are seeing in this generation!
If only for the first and second chapters, this book is worth the price, however, I know the next seven chapters are just as good and I can’t wait to finish the book later today. He discusses the ‘Inner Torah,’ ‘Torah and the New Testament,’ ‘Festivals of Torah,’ ‘Sabbath and Torah,’ ‘Paul and Torah,’ ‘Yeshua and Torah,’ etc. Several of those topics he covers in a way that I did not expect… Maybe a slightly different angle, further equipping the reader to ‘give a testimony for the Hope within.’
Like the two books above, I would highly recommend adding this to your library and even having a ‘loaner’ copy. This book, if the first two chapters are read, will most assuredly open some doors.
I pray this post has blessed you and given more fodder for learning and pressing forward.