Understanding the backstories behind the principal books of Judaism and Christianity—the Torah and the Bible, respectively—can give us, the readers, a clear view of how interpretations of each book have developed over time. This allows us to look beyond the stories to understand each religion’s followers and the meaning behind the two books. When we stretch our understanding, we can then find what the Bible and the Torah have in common with one another.
The Tanakh, or the “Hebrew Bible,” has much in common with what Christians refer to as the Old Testament. Within the Tanakh, there is the Torah, which comprises the first five books of Moses, or the Old Testament. Following the Torah are Nevi’im and Ketuvim—meaning “prophets” and “writings,” respectively—which also include books from the Christian Old Testament.
Judaism as a Precursor
Most of Christianity’s belief structure evolved from Judaism, which makes perfect sense: Jesus himself was a rabbi, or a teacher of Judaism. Therefore, outside of the Tanakh, the teachings that Jesus proposed were all rooted in Jewish thinking and in Judaism’s sacred traditions and beliefs.
The three most prominent religious traditions that exist in the world today—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—have close ties, and all believe in a singular god. These monotheistic traditions descended from a single progenitor, Abraham, who was the father of Isaac and Ishmael; they would become the predecessors to these three religions.
There are many other similarities between these beliefs and scriptures, but what’s important is knowing the roots from which they originated. With this in mind, we can have a clearer view of how these two religions came to be and why they’re so linked. Now you’ll know what the Bible and the Torah have in common if you’re ever asked.