Summary: Many today are obsessed with making the Bible fit our cultural perspective, even when it means abandoning sound principles of interpretation. Today we will find how important the historical/cultural context really is to sound biblical exegesis.


Interpreting New Testament passages through Jewish eyes.

Various Texts


Illustration: What Children Say About The Bible

· In the first book of the Bible, Guinness’s, God got tired of creating the world, so He took the Sabbath off. Adam and Eve were created from an apple tree. Noah’s wife was called Joan of Ark. Noah built an ark, which the animals came on to in pears. Lot’s wife was a pillar of salt by day, but a ball of fire by night.

· Samson was a strongman who let himself be led astray by a Jezebel like Delilah. Samson slayed the Philistines with the axe of the apostles.

· Moses led the Hebrews to the Red Sea, where they made unleavened bread, which is bread made without any ingredients. The Egyptians were all drowned in the dessert. Afterwards, Moses went up on Mount Cyanide to get the Ten Amendments. The First Commandment was when Eve told Adam to eat the apple. The Fifth Commandment is to humor thy father and mother. The seventh Commandment is thou shalt not admit adultery.

· Moses died before he ever reached Canada. Then Joshua led the Hebrews in the battle of Geritol. The greatest miracle in the Bible is when Joshua told his son to stand still and he obeyed him.

· David was a Hebrew king skilled at playing the liar. He fought with the Finklesteins, a race of people who lived in Biblical times. Solomon, one of David’s sons, had 300 wives and 700 porcupines.

· St. Paul cavorted to Christianity. He preached holy acrimony, which is another name for marriage. A Christian should have only one wife. This is called monotony.

· A ten-year old, under the tutelage of her grandmother, was becoming quite knowledgeable about the Bible. Then, one day, she floored her grandmother by asking, “Which Virgin was the mother of Jesus? The Virgin Mary or the King James Virgin.”

SOURCE: Collected from various sources

One of the keys to understanding the Bible is knowing the culture at the time it was written. In this message we will discover some insights into the text of the New Testament by learning some Jewish idioms that reveal the context behind the text.

(The primary source for these examples is the book Yeshua: A Guide to the Real Jesus and the Original Church, by Dr. Ron Moseley, Messianic Jewish Publishers, 1996


Pronounced zeet-zeet ( or

TSI-tsit (

Matthew 9:20-21

20 And suddenly, a woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years came from behind and touched the hem of His garment. 21 For she said to herself, "If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well."

A. The Tassels

1. Having learned that Jesus was near, this woman determined to touch the hem of His garment so that she would be healed.

2. Touching the hem of the garment is very important from a Jewish standpoint.

3. The English word hem is a translation of the Greek word kraspedon, meaning “a tassel of twisted wool.

4. The Jews attached tassels (tzitzit) to the corners of their prayer shawl.

5. The woman was actually reaching for the tassels on Jesus’ prayer shawl.

How Are The Tzitzit Tied?


1. Tying Tzitzit is a Jewish art, a form of macramé.

2. A hole is carefully made and reinforced in each corner of the tallit.

3. Through each hole, four strands are inserted: three short strands and one long strand.

4. The longer strand is called the shammash and this is the one that is used for winding around the others.

5. To tie the Tzitzit, line up the four stands so that the three of equal length are doubled evenly, and the fourth strand is lined up at one end with the other seven ends.

6. With four strands in one hand, and the other four in the other, make a double knot at the edge of the fabric.

7. Then take the shammash and wind it around the other seven strands seven times in a spiral motion.

8. Make a second double knot, with four strands in one hand and four strands in the other.

9. Then wind the shammash around the seven strands eight times and make another double knot.

10. Wind the shammash around eleven times and make a double knot.

11. Finally, wind the shammash thirteen times around the remaining seven strands and make one final double knot.

12. When done correctly, the Tzitzit will have 7-8-11-13 winds between the double knots.

What does the 7-8-11-13 winding pattern mean?

Source: Rabbi Scheinerman’s Judaism website,

1. One interpretation is that each set of windings corresponds to one of the four letters in God’s name. (YHWH).

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