The Torah and the Bible are two sacred scriptures of Judaism and Christianity. Before we jump into the difference between the Torah and the Bible, let us go through some similarities.
Followers of both holy scriptures believe in one God: omnipotent, kind, and the creator of the entire universe. They both share the Hebrew scripture as God’s dictations. They regard Abraham as the first patriarch and have faith in the concept of heaven and hell.
The primary difference between the Torah and the Bible is in the addition of the new testament. While Torah tells the story of creation and the history of Israelites, the Christian Bible adds the life, living, and teachings of Jesus Christ.
Table of Contents
|Difference||The Torah||The Bible|
|Number of books||Five||Protestant Bible has 66 books, while the catholic Bible has 73|
|Period of writing||3500 years ago||Old Testament: between 1200 to 165 B.C New Testament: first century A.D|
|Authors||Moses, Joshua||Paul the apostles and others who came close to Jesus|
|Languages||Hebrew||Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic|
What is the Torah?
When we say Torah, it refers to the first five books of the Hebrew scripture-
- Genesis– the first book of Torah, a document to the creation of the earth
- Exodus– an account of the departure of the Israelites from Egypt under the leadership of Moses
- Leviticus– the third book of Pentateuch concerned with the priests and instructions for them.
- Numbers– The history of Israelites when they wandered in the wilderness.
- Deuteronomy- The final book of the Torah, where Moses speaks to the Israelites before entering the promised land.
That’s why the Torah is also called Pentateuch: a term derived from Penta, meaning ‘five’ in the Greek language. Torah is the holy scripture for Jewish people. The word Torah means “law” or “instruction”. The Jewish people believe these scriptures are God’s instructions for them, dictated to prophet Moses on the mountain Sinai.
The five books of the Torah are the basis of all sacred texts for Jews. These books tell the story of creation, the beginning of humankind. They tell the story of father Abraham, His covenant with God. They tell the story of Israelites, their struggles, and all the instructions for jews from GOD himself.
When was the Torah written?
Many believers say the Torah existed in heaven even before the creation of the earth. The most common tradition is, some 3500 years ago, the prophet Moses received Torah’s words from mountain Sinai.
However, there is a lot of disagreement on the writing period of the Torah among scholars. A group of scholars asserts that the Torah was written down in the Babylonian exile days.
The oldest complete Torah found is around 800 years old. Scholars say it comprised between 1100-1200 century. Based on evidence and beliefs, it can be said; these holy scriptures were written down at different times between 1200 to 165 B.C.
Who wrote the Torah?
According to traditional belief, the author of the Torah is Moses. Although Joshua wrote the final eight verses of Deuteronomy, describing the death and burial part. However, modern scholars have various arguments regarding the authors of the Torah based on discovered manuscripts. They think that several writers from different periods wrote the Torah.
What is the Bible?
The word Bible derives from the Greek word (ta) Biblia or “the books.”The Bible or the Christian Bible has two sections: the old testament and the new testament. A collection of 66 books that are considered as the sacred scriptures for Christians.
The old testament has a collection of 39 books, while the new testament has 27. The new testament books are fundamentally divided into four parts:
- Gospels – The life and the teachings of the prophet Jesus
- Acts of apostles– the closest followers of Jesus Christ and their activities
- The epistles– Guidance for the earliest church communities
- The book of revelation– A prophecy to the seven churches of revelation
While the old testament tells the story of creation and the miraculous majesties of past prophets, the new testament focuses on the life and living of the prophet Jesus Christ, the early days of Christianity, and churches’ significance.
When was the Bible written?
So, how old is the Bible? As we already know that the Christian Bible has two parts. The Old Testament and the New testament. The Old testament is deemed as another version of the Original Hebrew Bible. So the history of its composition is quite the same as the writing period of the Hebrew scriptures.
When it comes to The New Testament; The gospels were written around 70 A.D ( 40 years after the departure of Jesus Christ). St. Paul and several other Christian leaders wrote the letters (or the epistles) between 50 to 60A.D. And the book of revelation was written around 95 A.D.
Who wrote the Holy Bible?
The origin of the Bible is still a matter of mystery, especially regarding its writers and writing period. However, the traditional belief is that the old testament’s five holy books were written by the prophet Moses himself. God gave him the words of the old testament as the instructions for His chosen people.
Traditionally believed, the apostles and the ones who closely interacted with Jesus wrote the new testament. Among the 27 books of the new testament, 13 were attributed to Paul the apostle. He wrote the series of letters containing teachings and preaching of Jesus Christ for his followers. Other books were attributed to different authors like Mark, Mathew, Luke, John, James, Jude, Peter. Not to mention, modern biblical scholars propose that almost all the books of the new testament were not written by the authors to whom they are attributed.
The key differences between the Torah and the bible
- Torah is referred to as the first five books of the Hebrew scripture that are the basis of Judaism. The Bible or the Christian Bible has two parts: the old testament and the new testament. Where the old testament shares the same set of writings as the Hebrew scriptures, the new testament describes the life and living of Jesus Christ.
- The Torah was written about 3500 years ago by Moses on the mountain of Sinai. The Christian Bible’s old testament was written between 1200-165 B.C and the new testament in the first century A.D.
- Torah speaks the history of Israelites. It describes how God created the universe, tells the stories of past prophets, and God’s agreement with the first patriarch Abraham for a promised land. While it comes to the Bible, the new testament elaborates on the life of Jesus, his teachings, prophecies, and the instructions he gave to the earliest churches.
- Moses wrote most parts of the Torah, and Joshua wrote the death and burial part in Deuteronomy. In the Bible, Paul the apostles attributed to 13 books of the new testament, and other books are believed to be written by different authors who came under the instructions of Jesus Christ.
- The Torah was written in Hebrew, while the original Bible was written in Greek.
Torah vs. Bible: The context
Judaism and Christianity both consider the Hebrew scripture as the authoritative word of God. When it comes to history and beliefs, these two are probably the most similar among all the existing world religions. They both believe in one God, the existence of heaven and hell, and many more.
Torah is the first section of the Hebrew scripture: a combination of five different books. But when it comes to the Christian Bible, it includes the new testament. So what is the difference between the Torah and the Bible when we talk about the context? It’s basically one person: Jesus Christ.
The New Testament describes the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, his relationship with his twelve apostles, the guidance for the earliest churches and Christians from the closest followers of Jesus. The holy books of the new testament describe Jesus as the fulfillment of the old testament and consider him as the Messiah son of God.
On the other hand, the Torah doesn’t have any specific view on Jesus Christ. However, some orthodox Christian scholars believe that some passages are mentioned in the Hebrew Bible regarding him.
It is said that the Torah orally came to prophet Moses on the mountain of Sinai, and he the one who wrote them down on scrolls. So what language did Moses speak? The answer is ancient Egyptian and Hebrew both.
The written language of the Torah is Hebrew. Why did Moses choose Hebrew as the language of the Torah? Well, it is because the Torah was dictated for the chosen people of God: the Jewish. And Hebrew was the language they used to speak.
Biblical scholars say that the spoken language of Jesus was Aramaic. He also had a grab on the Hebrew language. But the language of the original Bible is greek. It is because apostles wrote them. The language apostles used to speak and write was greek, Aramaic, and probably Latin. The full Bible has been translated into approximately 700 languages.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Who are jews?
A Jew is a person who believes in Judaism. Judaism has a history of approximately 6000 years. They consider the Hebrew Bible as the sacred scripture and Hebrew as the holy language. However, Jews are also mentioned as Hebrews or Yehudis.
Who are the Christians?
Christians are the people who believe in the sacred scripture Bible. They consider Jesus Christ as God in a human form. The current population of Christians in the world is about 2.3 billion.
What is Tanakh?
Tanakh is an acronym for Torah, Nevi’im, and Ketuvim. These are the three divisions of Hebrew scripture. Torah means instruction, Nevi’im means prophets, and Ketuvim means writings.
Is the Torah the old testament?
Torah and the old testament share the same context. Torah is the first five books from the Hebrew Bible, while the old testament is the first part of the Christian Bible. The original Torah was written in the Hebrew language, but the language of the first written Bible was Greek.
Is the Torah part of the Quran?
Technically Yes. The Quran displays the Torah as “Tawrat”, and the prophet Moses as “Musa.” The word Towrat and Musa both are mentioned several times in the Quran. And in Quran, the Torah has been regarded as one of the holy books that were sent by Allah.
When we talk about the difference between the Torah and the Bible, it generally indicates some empirical factors. However, these two sacred manuscripts cannot be asserted as the opposite. Both of them convey the message of God and sprout from the same origin.
Craig is a full-time academic and research-based article writer from California. A trained content creator who started his career as a column writer for local magazines and newspapers. His works have been published on many renowned online platforms.