The Pentateuch – The Origin
The Pentateuch refers to the first five of the Bible’s Old Testament books and the first of five Old Testament sections. It is has long been called by the Greek word Pentateuch, derived from pente (five) and teuchos (scroll or vessel). More accurately, both in origin and definition, the label Torah (Hebrew) can be applied since the Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew and Torah means to teachor teaching.
The earliest scrolls or writings of the Bible have come to us through the meticulous and thorough work of ancient scribes who copied the original writings of God’s inspired authors. Their tedious works proceeded with the same conscientious care by succeeding generations. The five books of the Pentateuch are credited in the Old and New Testaments alike to being authored by Moses.1 They contain the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
The books (in order) are named in Hebrew by the first significant word of the section.2
The Pentateuch – Purpose and Theme
The Pentateuch’s basic purpose is to teach of God and record instructions for His people. Each book has its own designed purpose, but in reading, we should begin at the beginning. The revelation of God Himself is the beginning of the entire Bible; He is the beginning and the end, “the Alpha and Omega…who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8).
The Pentateuch – Relevance Today
The most important and relevant message in the books of the Pentateuch is in the spiritual message God wants to reveal. What truths might God be saying about Himself, His sovereign power, and His promises to you?
The theological lessons of the Pentateuch illustrate what God has done and will do toward man’s reconciliation and restoration to Himself. Because of mankind’s disobedience and rejection of God, we all have need for forgiveness. As He brought the Israelites out of bondage and set before them the leader of Moses, He shows us that today we too have bondage of sin. Regardless of the trials and battles of our personal journey, He can see us through to the Promise Land as He did with the people in the books of Moses. He has given us a New Covenant and freedom from sin through Jesus Christ.
He is the One and True living God who doesn’t want anyone to perish. His arms are open to all people from every nation who will receive Him with faith. John 1:12-13 says, “Yet to all who receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural decent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” We each have the opportunity to be delivered from sin as were the Israelites from their idolatry and bondage. The theology of the Pentateuch is today’s example for our Lord’s eternal promises and protection.