Thursday, December 31, 2015

Last Chance to Make 2015 Tax-Deductible Donation

Today is the final opportunity to make a 2015 tax-deductible donation to support the work of the Biblical Heritage Center. It must be made online for us to receive it today. Your help is greatly valued and appreciated. To donate go to --

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Once upon a time a Preacher, Professor & Rabbi . . .

Once upon a time a Preacher, Professor & Rabbi . . .” sounds like the beginning of a good joke, but in this case it is the beginning of a twenty-five journey. I am the preacher, Dr. Ike Tennison is the Professor and the Rabbi is Jeffrey Leynor. Our destination was to more accurately understand the words of our Bibles and the histories of our religions – Christianity and Judaism. We specifically wanted to focus on the first century CE when both of our religions were Jewish sects and part of Second Temple Judaism and learn more about how one of those sects – the Jesus Movement – became a universal Gentile religion, and the other – the Pharisees – became Rabbinic Judaism. What we discovered, however, is much more important than what we planned. Today, the social bonds that are required to hold Americans together and make it possible for our democracy to exist are breaking down and many of the problems we face – political, economic and religious – are the result. We believe that what we discovered on our journey has the power to strengthen those bonds and bring Americans together -- especially those with Judeo-Christian values and heritages. Click on “Once upon a time a Preacher, Professor & Rabbi” at --

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Jacob’s Descendants who Go to Egypt: The MT Versus the LXX.

A close look at the different references to Jacob’s descendants, and their number in both the MT and the LXX shows how the tradition of Jacob’s descendants developed over time. Genesis 46:8-27, in Parashat Vayigash, lists Jacob’s descendants who came to Egypt; in the Masoretic Text (MT) they total 70, whereas in the Septuagint (LXX), they total 75.  In other words, the MT is missing five names found in the LXX.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Story of the Ten Commandments You Didn’t Learn at Your Church or Synagogue

If there is one thing in the Bible that Christians and Jews agree on, it is the story of the Ten Commandments and the words that were written on the two stone tablets. Many readers picture someone like Charlton Heston holding two stone tablets in a movie. And then they read the words on the stone tablets, words that are found in Exodus 20. Would you be surprised to discover that those words were not written on the stone tablets? Discover what was written on the stone tablets by clicking on this article at --

Friday, August 28, 2015

Are you seeing the people in the Bible in "Their Contexts” or “Your Context”?

 When reading the Bible, we are the Receptor and it is our responsibility to search for the Source’s “bundles of associations” and make sure we attach the Source’s “bundles” to the words of our Bible.

 We are not solitary beings, but social ones. Our “bundles of associations” attached to our words include much more than “lexical meanings.” They include feelings, emotions, smells, tastes, sounds, appetites, desires, longings, fears and much more. We must learn as much as we can about the Source’s society as we search for the “bundles of associations” attached to his or her words.

If you like this BHC Bible Study Blog, please let us know by “Liking” BHC on Facebook by clicking here. Also, please share it with others.

If you value our work make a donation today by clicking here.

Jim Myers

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Did Paul learn to write Epistles from Gamaliel?

Gamaliel the Elder (Rabban Gamaliel I) was a leading authority in the Sanhedrin in the early 1st century CE. He was the son of Simeon ben Hillel, and grandson of the great Jewish teacher Hillel the Elder, and died twenty years before the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem (70 CE). In Jewish tradition, Gamaliel is described as bearing the titles Nasi and Rabban (our master), as the President of the Great Sanhedrin in Jerusalem.[i]

Gamaliel was well-respected and, according to one rabbinic tradition:

When Rabban Gamaliel the Elder died, the glory of the law ceased and purity and abstinence died. (m. Sot. 9:15)

In the Book of Acts Gamaliel is mentioned twice:

Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people. (Acts 5:34)

I (Paul) was raised in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and I was instructed perfectly in the tradition of our fathers.” (Acts 22:3)

In The Jewish People in the First Century we find the following reference to Rabban Gamaliel the Elder:

Our (Jewish) sources have preserved some epistles announcing intercalations, such as those sent by the court of Rabban Gamaliel the Elder, which clearly illustrate the measures the court took to publicize its decisions: ‘It once happened that Rabban Gamaliel and the elders were sitting on steps on the Temple Mount, and that the scribe Johanan was sitting before them.

He bade him write: To our brethren in Upper Galilee and to those in Lower Galilee: May your peace be great. We beg to inform you that the time of removal has arrived for setting aside the tithes from the olive heaps.’

And: ‘To our brethren throughout the South: May your peace be great. We beg to inform you that the time of removal has arrived for setting aside the tithes from the corn sheaves.’

And: To our brethren the exiles in Babylonia and to those in Media, and to all the other exiles of Israel: May your peace be great. We beg to inform you that the doves are still tender and the lambs too young and the crops not yet ripe. To me and my colleagues it seems right to add thirty days to this year.’ [ii]

Although Paul never mentions Gamaliel in his writings, the structure of Paul’s epistles reflects the general theme of those of Gamaliel. Paul is portrayed as person sitting in a position of authority using epistles to publicize his decisions about various matters to different communities.

If you felt this information was useful, please let me know by “Liking” BHC on Facebook by clicking here.  

Jim Myers

[ii] The Jewish People in the First Century Volume Two: Historical Geography, Political History, Social Culture and Religious Life and Institutions; Edited by S. Safrai and M. Stern in co-operation with D. Flusser and E. C. van Unnik; © 1976 By Stichting Compendia Rerum Iudaicarum Testamentum; Fprtress Press, Philadelphia, PA; pp. 856-57.

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Unusual Pe Preceding Ayin Order in the Acrostics of the Book of Lamentations (Eikhah)

The first four chapters of the book of Eikhah (Lamentations) are alphabetical acrostics (each line or stanza begins with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet in order). Surprisingly, in the acrostics in chapters 2, 3 and 4, the verses that begin with pe precede the verses that begin with ayin.



The Soncino commentary to Eikhah remarks: “This unusual order has never been satisfactorily explained.” In light of the archaeological discoveries of recent decades, it is time to provide this explanation. We are really dealing with two separate problems:

(1) Why does pe precede ayin in chapters 2, 3 and 4?

(2) Why is there a difference in the order between chapter 1 and chapters 2, 3 and 4?

We would expect there to be consistency in a small Biblical book. We can perhaps answer the second question based on the Dead Sea Scrolls text of the first chapter: the pe verse precedes the ayin verse here. Perhaps this Dead Sea text reflects the original text of the first chapter. Read the complete article at --

Sunday, July 19, 2015

The search for the most accurate ancient manuscripts of the biblical text.

An important component of the search for the original manuscripts of the books of the Bible – or later copies that are the most accurate – is called “Textual Criticism.”

(1) Textual criticism deals with the origin and nature of all forms of a text, in our case the biblical text.

(2) This involves a discussion of its supposed original form(s) and an analysis of the various representatives of the changing biblical text.

(3) The analysis includes a discussion of the relation between these texts, and attempts are made to describe the external conditions of the copying and the procedure of textual transmission.

Scholars involved in textual criticism not only collect data on differences between the textual witnesses (manuscripts) -- they also try to evaluate them. Textual criticism deals only with data deriving from the textual transmission (copying and recopying) — in other words, readings included in textual witnesses which have been created at an earlier stage.

The biblical text has been transmitted in many ancient and medieval sources which are known to us from modern editions in different         languages. The primary texts of the Jewish Scriptures we now have include are manuscripts (MSS) in Hebrew and other languages from the Middle Ages and ancient times as well as fragments of leather and papyrus scrolls two thousand years old or more.

These sources shed light on and witness to the biblical text, hence their name: “textual witnesses.” All of these textual witnesses differ from each other to a greater or lesser extent. Since no textual source contains what could be called “the” biblical text, a serious involvement in biblical studies clearly necessitates the study of all sources, including the differences between them. The comparison and analysis of these textual differences hold a central place within textual criticism.  


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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

History of the Name “Jesus”

The history of the name “Jesus” begins in the Torah in the account in which Yahweh commanded Moses to choose one man from each of the twelve tribes to spy out the land of Canaan.

Of the tribe of Ephraim, Hoshea[1] the son of Nun . . . These are the names of the men which Moses sent to spy out the land. And Moses called Hoshea the son of Nun Yehoshua.[1]

The root word of Hoshea is HOSHUA, which means "salvation." It is important to understand that "salvation" in the Hebrew Scriptures or the Jewish culture did not mean “go to Heaven after death.” It meant “being delivered from some danger or threat.” Read the complete blog at --

Thursday, May 7, 2015

How We Received the Words of Jesus

Jesus wasn't an American who lived in the 21st century and spoke native English to his audience. He wasn't a Christian and didn't attend a church every Sunday. Based on what we know from the Synoptic Gospels, Jesus was a Jew who lived in the 1st century, spoke Hebrew and Aramaic, practiced Judaism, attended a synagogue every Shabbat and engaged in rituals at the Jerusalem Temple. This is very important information to know when our goal is to linguistically understand the words of Jesus.

In the previous blog I introduced the linguistic model we use at the Biblical Heritage Center to determine the meanings of the words of our Bibles. Words originate from a Source (author/speaker) and they are passed on to one or more Receptors (readers/hearers).

(Click on the graphic above to enlarge.)

Our goal is to determine what the words meant to the original Sources.

Jesus lived in the first decades of the 1st century. We live in the first decades of the 21st century. It is safe to say that none of us attended any of the meetings at which Jesus taught. The point is -- Jesus is not the direct Source of the words of Jesus we read. 

How did the words of Jesus travel across 2,000 years and make it to us? 

(Click on the graphic above to enlarge.)

It is important to understand that in the communications process, people often wear two hats -- Source & Receptor. When we are working to understand the meanings of the words of our Bibles we must do our best to identify all of the people involved in the transmission chain and factor their lives into the process. It is clear that their cultures, time periods, geographical locations, and personal experiences factor into the messages that send to the next Receptor -- just as yours does when you explain what the words of Jesus mean.

(1) Jesus didn't write down his messages, he spoke them to followers.

(2) The earliest accounts of Jesus's words were made by his followers.

(3) Copies of copies of copies, etc. of those accounts were made by scribes.

(4) English translators chose which copies of the manuscripts of the scribes they would translate.

(5) The translators made their translations.

(6) Readers determine what the words of the translators mean based on what's in their minds.
For the past five hundred years people have been reading the Bible without understand the linguistic laws that govern the human mind. The result has been that hundreds of different translations of the Bible are in circulation and literally thousands of Christian denominations have been created through conflicts over what the words of our Bibles mean. We can change things by simply asking the simple question above and working to find the answers:

What did the words mean to the original Sources?

Jim Myers


Accurately Understanding the Words of the Bible

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

My Journey to Discovering the Real Yeshua

My journey to discovering the Real Yeshua began in 1980. I believe that it will help you understand what I write in our newsletters, blogs, groups, etc., if I share some of the most important events on my journey. Something that I quickly discovered is that one of the greatest obstacles I repeatedly faced on my journey was my own Belief System. Chances are, that as you read this, you may become aware of some conflicts with your Belief System too. Hopefully, my experiences will be beneficial and help you on your journey. Read the complete blog at --

Friday, April 24, 2015

Bald Spots on Clothing

The Torah portion that will be read in many synagogues tomorrow is Parashat Tazria (Leviticus 12:1 - 13:59). A literal translation of the end of Leviticus 13:55 is:

It shall be consumed in fire; it is an erosion, whether on its back bald spot (קרחתו) or its front bald spot (גבחתו).

Rabbi Dr. Zev Farber wrote:

I first noticed this problem a few years ago when I was learning שנים מקרא ואחד תרגום with the LXX (Septuagint – Greek translation of the Hebrew text) as my preferred translation. I was oblivious to the problem with the MT (Masoretic Text – Hebrew), but noticed the fact that the Greek was unlike the Hebrew. It was only when I compared the two, it struck me that the Hebrew made no sense. I must have read the parasha over 100 times, and certainly had read Onkelos (an interpretation of the Torah) and Rashi (a commentary), both of whom creatively translate the phrase… and yet, it never clicked.  That Shabbat I turned to the person sitting behind me (an Israeli and amateur Bible scholar) and asked him what he thinks the verse means. He looked at it, thought for a moment, and said, this makes no sense. I then told him what the LXX said and he smiled and said: `So it’s a typo.’”

Read Rabbi Farber’s article about correcting the typo at --

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Different versions of one account or two completely different accounts?

There have been many discussions about the two accounts that appear in Genesis 1 & 2. Below are the opening verses from the accounts.

1st Account
2nd Account
In the beginning
In the day
the Creator created
Yahweh the Creator made
the Heavens
the Earth
and the Earth
and the Heavens

Compare the opening verses of each account above and let us know what stands out to you and whether you believe these are different version of one account and two completely different accounts. Email your answers to me at --


Jim Myers

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Greatest Commandment & Eternal Life

Yesterday, in the BHC Bible Study Blog, I wrote Comparing Parallel Accounts in the Hebrew Scriptures. Anytime parallel accounts, or things that look like parallel accounts appear in your Bible, they always present great opportunities to discover some very interesting, and sometimes, unexpected things. This will be true in the subject of this blog – The Greatest Commandment & Eternal Life. If you want to have some fun – and exercise your powers of observation – get some paper and a pen (the old fashion way of studying). Below you will find three accounts that are often considered to be about the same event. Read the complete study at --

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Comparing Parallel Accounts in the Hebrew Scriptures

Many people are aware of parallel accounts – the same event recorded in more than one book – in the New Testament. But you may not be aware of the fact that the same thing occurs in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament). Sometimes the words are identical, but other times there are differences. The example below contains an event recorded in three different books. There are no important theological revelations here, but it will make you aware of minor differences that may be interesting.

II Kings 18:13
Isaiah 36:1
II Chronicles 32:1

After these things and these acts of faithfulness,
In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah
In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah 

Sennacherib king of Assyria came up
Sennacherib king of Assyria came up
Sennacherib king of Assyria came and

invaded Judah and encamped
against all the fortified cities
against all the fortified cities
against the fortified cities,
of Judah and took
of Judah and took

thinking to win

for himself.

Always check to see if there are any parallel accounts of the sections you are studying in your Bible. You never know what you will find until you look.

Jim Myers

If you like this BHC Bible Study, please let me know by “Liking” BHC on Facebook by clicking here. It will only take a minute and doesn’t cost anything – but it really helps me to know that you benefited from my work. Also, please share it with others.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

If it doesn't make sense it may be a euphemism!

 Two challenges for Bible readers and translators are idioms and euphemisms.

An idiom is a word or group of words that cannot be understood by their literal meanings.

The Bible contains a number of idioms and when we encounter them, if we are paying attention, we will realize that what we read simply didn’t make sense. I will discuss idioms in a future blog, but for now consider what a person from another culture with a different language would think of he or she was charged with the task of translating the following idioms (underlined) without know they are idioms:

(1) If that happens, I will eat my hat.
(2) I got it straight from the horse's mouth.
(3) I'll do it when the cows come home.
(4) You really put your foot in your mouth this time.
(5) It's raining cats and dogs outside.

If the translator simply used the literal translations of the underlined words their readers would have some strange images popping up in their minds, but they wouldn’t have a clue as to what the original author meant.

A euphemism is the substitution of an agreeable or inoffensive expression for one that may offend or suggest something unpleasant.  

An example of a common American euphemism is - "I'm going to powder my nose." Just like with idioms you can’t use the literal meanings of the words of euphemisms.  Obviously, the literal meanings of the words powder and nose have anything to do what the euphemism means.

English translators of the Hebrew Scriptures often use euphemisms instead of literally translating the Hebrew word below:

It is called the tetragrammaton which means the four letters, which are transliterated “YHVH” and translated as “Yahweh.” A popular euphemism for the above name in English translations is “LORD.”  Notice that it is written with all capital letters. Readers of these translations encounter the following words in their Bible -- LORD, Lord and lord.  I would wager that many fail to even notice the differences between them. The English word “lord” has the following definition -- a person who has authority, control, or power over others; a master, chief, or ruler.[i]

Obviously, the above definition doesn’t apply when the word is used as a euphemism because of the second word in the definition – “person.” Yahweh is a god, not a person. Keep in mind that the Hebrew Scriptures didn’t come with an attached New Testament and the earliest manuscripts of New Testaments books were written in Greek. In those manuscripts we find a Greek word that is translated “lord” and it means the same thing as the English definition above.

Some English translations made by Jewish translators avoided the confusion created by using the word “LORD” by using the following euphemisms:

(1) G-d
(2) HaShem (The Name)
(3) The Power
(4) Heaven
(5) The Holy One
(6) The Most High
(7) The Blessed One

In the New Testament we find one of the above euphemisms embedded in the Greek text. It is strong evidence that the words were originally spoken in Hebrew, but later translated in Greek. The word I am referring to is “Heaven.”

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 5:3)

Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God (Luke 6:20)

Many theological debates have taken place over the meanings of the two underlined phrases. When we recognize that “Heaven” in this context is a euphemism we realize they mean the same thing. The question often asked is – why are they different? The answer appears to be that the text with the euphemism was meant for a Jewish audience, while the text with the word “God” was meant for a non-Jewish audience.

Whenever you read your Bible don’t turn off your mind – be alert for things that simply do not make sense in English. Chances are you may have discovered a euphemism or idiom. Do a little digging in footnotes or online and chances are you may discover what it meant to the ancient author.

Jim Myers

If you like this BHC Bible Study, please let me know by “Liking” BHC on Facebook by clicking here. It will only take a minute and doesn’t cost anything – but it really helps me to know that you benefited from my work. Also, please share it with others.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Will you go to Hell if you call someone a “fool”?

“. . . but whosoever shall say, `Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.’”

The above quote is attributed to Yeshua and translated by King James translators (Matthew 5:22).

Over the years I have had a number of people ask if they would really go to Hell just for calling someone “a fool.” Most questions like this come from people who belonged to churches that teach their members the doctrine of inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible. Obviously, if a person’s church teaches that doctrine and if their Bible contains the above words, what else could they believe – if every word of the Bible is to be taken literally and if the Bible says if someone calls someone else a “fool” they will go to Hell, then it must be the divine truth! Read the complete Real Yeshua Blog at --

Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Prayer Yeshua Prayed Twice Every Day

One of Jesus’s earliest memories was no doubt watching and listening to his family when they gathered to pray the Shema at sunrise before the day’s work began and after the working work day was over at sunset. He also heard and participated in praying the Shema at their synagogue. He was surrounded by neighbors who also prayed the same prayer in their homes every day. The Hebrew word for prayer is tefilah. It is derived from the root Pe-Lamed-Lamed and the word l'hitpalel, meaning “to judge oneself.” This surprising word origin provides insight into the purpose of Jewish prayer. The most important part of any Jewish prayer, whether it be a prayer of petition, of thanksgiving, of praise of God, or of confession, is the introspection it provides, the moment that we spend looking inside ourselves, seeing our role in the universe and our relationship to God. Read the complete Real Yeshua Blog & Take The Real Yeshua Challenge at --

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Why Are There Only Four Gospels in the New Testament?

In the earliest centuries of Christianity, many different writings were copied, shared and circulated among the different churches located throughout the Roman Empire, Syria, Asia, Egypt, and other place. Some recorded the life and sayings of Jesus, Paul’s writings to different churches, and writings by other apostles and church leaders. There were so many writings in circulation that some of church leaders became very concerned. Read complete blog at --

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The First Church of Moses in the Wilderness

 This title is meant to be funny and serious at the same time.  It is meant to be funny because in the time of Moses there was no such thing as a “church.”  It is meant to be serious because the Greek text of Acts 7:38 uses the Greek word evkklhsia (ekklēsia) that is often translated “church” in the New Testament.

KJV Acts 7:35 This Moses whom they refused, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge? the same did God send to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the angel which appeared to him in the bush. 36 He brought them out, after that he had shewed wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red sea, and in the wilderness forty years. 37 This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear. 38 This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sinai, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us: 39 To whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt.

The American Standard Version also uses “church” to translate the word.  The New International Version, however, does translate the word “assembly”—and the Revised and New Revised Standard Version translate the word “congregation.”  The Vulgate uses the Latin transliteration of the Greek work: ecclesia.

By way of introducing this study, I want to tell you the story of a little Latin word.  Prior to the time of Cicero, the great Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, orator, political theorist, Roman consul and constitutionalist, who lived from January 3, 106 BC to December 18, 43 BC.  He came from a wealthy municipal family of the equestrian order, and is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.  He introduced the Romans to the chief schools of Greek philosophy and created a Latin philosophical vocabulary distinguishing himself as a linguist, translator, and philosopher.

When Cicero encountered the Greek word kosmoj;vjjJß (kosmos), he knew there was no corresponding word in Latin for the meaning of this Greek work in its philosophical use—“the world” or “the universe” [the Russians call their astronauts “cosmonauts”].  So he studied the Greek word’s first and continuing meanings of “ornament, decoration, dress.”  We still have an English word that comes from this older meaning of kosmojς—“cosmetic, cosmetics.”  So Cicero found a Latin word that meant “ornament, decoration, dress”—and that word was mundus.  To this word he added the new meaning of “world” or “universe.”  That is why most of the Romance languages have words for “world” taken from this Latin word:


The Romanians use the word lume, which was taken from the Latin noun lumen, luminis, “light.”

But the Greek word evkklhsia did not originally mean “church.”  I will write another blog to comment on the origin and meaning of the word “church.”

So the Greek word evkklhsia originally meant “assembly.”

Thanks for visiting our blog.
Dr. Ike Tennison

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Eight Great Tips for Studying the Parables of Jesus

I was reading Short Stories By Jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi by Amy-Jill Levine and found eight great tips for studying the parables of Yeshua – and for Bible study in general. Read them at --