To the Reader:
Some years ago I came across an ad for Rabbi Tovia Singer’s “Let’s
Get Biblical” tapes -- “fifteen explosive programs on the Jewish response to
Christian missionaries.” (These lectures are currently posted on the rabbi’s website Outreach
Judaism.) I sent for the series right away and found myself challenged to re-examine the
Jewish Scriptures to see whether they supported the claim that Jesus was the Messiah. Aware that even
Christian scholars question the New Testament’s use of the “Old Testament,” I began
a study of the debated texts in context, using the original Hebrew.
God has given many gifts to the world through the Jewish people -- the law, the Bible,
their genius in religion, the arts, science, and business. Whether they like it or not, they gave us
Jesus. No one ever lived a life that matches His. Was He God or a false prophet? Is it possible to find
Him in the Jewish Scriptures? Was Messiah supposed to be God? Was he supposed to die? These and other
questions drove me in my search for truth.
In common with the rabbi, I have a conservative view of the inspiration of the Bible.
Like him I believe that Moses wrote the Pentateuch and Isaiah wrote Isaiah. (I use the term
“Second-Isaiah” simply to refer to chapters 40 to 55.) I respect his love for God and his
desire to be faithful to the truth. I believe with him that our eternal destiny depends on our fidelity
to God and His Word. I welcome his “Let’s Get Biblical!” approach -- to prove
everything by Scripture. I believe that the same God who inspired the Scriptures is able to enlighten
our attempts to interpret them.
While I am not a specialist in biblical studies, I have studied, taught, and written
on biblical subjects on three continents for many years. The articles in this series are the results of
the rabbi’s challenge to me to re-examine my faith in Jesus as Messiah. I join Rabbi Singer and
you in the search for truth. “Let’s Get Biblical!”
Beatrice S. Neall, Ph.D.
Professor Emerita of Religion
Union College, Lincoln, Nebraska
Several Bible translations have been used, mostly:
• The Revised Standard Version (RSV)
These are not usually identified unless there is some significance to the translation.
• The Authorized (King James) Version (AV or KJB)
• The New English Bible (NEB)
• The New International Version (NIV)
For the convenience of those who are not familiar with Scripture, books of the Bible
are spelled out in full at the first occurrence in each article, and abbreviated thereafter. The numbers
following the book indicate chapter and verse. A verse is abbreviated as v. and verses as vv. In a
reference, ff means the following verses; cf. means compare. Italics in quotations from
the Bible are mine.
Chapters and verses were not introduced into the Bible until hundreds of years after
the Bible books were compiled. Occasionally the Hebrew and English versification vary by a few verses.
To find the Hebrew equivalent it may be necessary to look back or ahead. The verse numbers I use are
mostly from the English except where the Hebrew is specified.
In quotations from the Bible, the word LORD always indicates the divine name Yahweh,
whereas Lord indicates the Hebrew Adonai.