Do Jewish People Read The Bible

The Bible is the sacred book for Christians and Jews, who both believe its contents to be inspired by divine inspiration and true. Jews place a significant emphasis on the ancient literature found in the Bible, especially the Torah. It is largely responsible for shaping their outlook, culture and values. But do Jewish people read the Bible?

According to Rabbi Joshua Heller, Rabbi at Congregation Shaaray Tefila in New York City, Jews typically view the Bible as a source of guidance and inspiration, rather than a set of rules and regulations to be followed to the letter. Although Scripture isn’t necessarily read in the same way as some Christian groups, they may still study it with great care and reverence.

Studies have revealed that Jewish people do in fact read the Bible. According to the Jewish Theological Seminary of America’s Rabbi Dr. Alan Brill, most Jews in the United States read various sections of the Bible as part of their religious practice, varying from once a year to several times a week.

The National Jewish Outreach Program conducted a survey in 2017 and found that nearly two-thirds of Jewish-American adults read from the Torah a few times per year, and that nearly half read from the Tanakh (Jewish Bible) a few times a week. This shows that there are actually quite a lot of people who understand, interpret and apply parts of the Bible in their regular lives.

In fact, there are entire organizations dedicated to studying and sharing the teachings of the Bible amongst Jewish people. The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, for example, is dedicated to teaching the values, stories and insights of Jewish scripture in an effort to unite Jews and Christians alike.

Simply put, most Jews do not believe blindly in the Bible. However, they do maintain that there are valuable lessons and stories to be gained from engaging in biblical text. They may even use Bible passages as part of meditative practices or to gain insight into their own lives and experiences.

The Oral Tradition of the Bible

A somewhat lesser known custom is that the Jewish people place great emphasis on the oral tradition of the Bible. According to the Jewish Virtual Library, this practice dates back at least as far as the fourth century BCE, when oral interpretations of the Bible were written down as the Mishnah.

This practice is still observed by many Jews today. They may interpret and teach the Bible through stories and teachings passed down from older generations, which allows them to interpret and apply the scriptures to their everyday lives

In addition to this, there are various Jewish commentaries on the Bible which can also help modern-day readers to interpret and understand the scriptures. Among the most popular and influential of these are the rabbinics of the Mishnah, Talmud, and Midrash.

The Midrash, for example, is a collection of ancient rabbinic commentaries, stories, and teachings which interpret the biblical texts. These were compiled over two thousand years ago, and are still studied and enjoyed by modern Jews.


It is clear that Jewish people do read the Bible, although this may take on a slightly different form than Christian traditions. The Bible is an integral part of Jewish life, culture and values, and studying it is seen as important to many Jewish people. From ancient oral traditions, to modern commentaries and teachings, the Scriptures remain a source of inspiration and wisdom in the lives of many.

Modern Biblical Interpretations

Today, there are multiple ways in which Jewish people read and interpret the Bible. Some may study it as part of traditional religious practice, while others may look to modern commentaries and teachings to gain insights into its teachings.

For example, the Bible for Dummies series is an approachable and informative way for the modern reader to gain an understanding of the Bible and its teachings. Similarly, there are multiple websites and online forums which provide user-friendly explanations and interpretations of biblical texts.

The result is an ever-growing array of resources which allows Jewish people to access, interpret and understand the Bible from the comfort of their own home.

The Role of Technology in Bible Study

Technology has also brought about a revolution in how Jewish people can study the Bible. With the advent of the Internet, websites and apps have made it easier than ever to access and interpret the scriptures. This is especially true for those who are unable to read or understand biblical languages such as Hebrew and Greek.

For example, Jewish App Central has created several apps which allow users to study the Bible with interactive podcasts and videos, as well as tailored lessons on biblical stories. Such resources can be extremely helpful in understanding the Bible, especially for those who lack the time or resources to engage in traditional religious practice.

In addition to this, many religious organizations, such as the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, have set up online communities for members to discuss the Bible, pose questions and share insights. Such activities can help nurture a deeper understanding of the scriptures, as well as foster closer ties between Jews and Christians.

Spirituality of the Bible

Finally, Jewish people may use the Bible to transcend everyday challenges and find comfort and solace in troubled times. In particular, many people find strength in the stories of courage and resilience which feature in the Bible. These may be interpreted and applied in order to channel that same courage and resilience in times of adversity.

In addition to this, some may also view the Bible as an opportunity to seek spiritual guidance in their lives. From finding comfort in difficult times, to meditating on lessons contained in the Bible, there are many ways in which Jewish people may seek inspiration and direction in their lives.

Critical Thinking Through the Bible

More recently, Jewish thinkers have also begun to question some of the ethical implications of the Bible. Rather than blindly following every commandment or story, they have begun to use critical thinking in order to assess the ethical value of certain teachings or stories.

For example, the Bible may be interpreted in different ways depending on the cultural and spiritual context of the reader. In this way, modern readers can evaluate the Bible in order to derive lessons and meaning which are relevant to their own experiences and beliefs.

Additionally, modern biblical scholarship has also revealed a more nuanced and sophisticated interpretation of the Bible, allowing us to better understand its history, context, and cultural significance among Jewish people.

The Future of Biblical Interpretations

The impact of technology and modern scholarship has opened up the possibility of re-interpreting the Bible in order to make it more accessible and relevant to modern readers. For example, scholars are now able to uncover and share long-lost stories and insights which may have been previously obscured due to language, cultural, or religious barriers.

Technology has also enabled the dissemination of this research more quickly and widely than ever before. With the use of online platforms and websites, Jewish people are now able to access and interact with ancient texts from the comfort of their own home. In this way, they can explore the scriptures on their own terms, find inspiration and renewed faith.

At the same time, traditional methods of studying the Bible remain popular amongst many, as they continue to provide invaluable teachings and insights to followers. This balance between tradition and modernity is likely to shape the future of Jewish interpretation of the Bible.

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

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