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Frequently Asked Questions About Hebrew Roots

Hebrew Roots FAQ's and Myths



Myth. The ISR Scriptures, Hebrew Roots Version (HRV), Restoration Scriptures, etc. are translated with the correct names while also removing declared pagan elements.


The ISR : The Scriptures

Most within Hebrew Roots seem to have promoted the Institute for  Scriptural Research's (ISR): The Scriptures, or continue to do so. Based in South Africa it began it's efforts in  1992, with it's first edition in 1994. It continues to publish material, books and other articles related to the "restoration and understanding of the Hebrew Roots of the Messianic Faith."

The ISR uses the Textus Receptus [NT] and the Masoretic text [OT] as it's base text. Those are the same base texts for the King James Version. They then modified those texts as they saw fit, by utilizing the Nestle-Aland texts and Shem Tob.

From Tyndale in the UK, which used to distribute the ISR, discussing the ISR sources: "... The Old Covenant is based on the Massoretic Hebrew and Aramaic text, according to the 1937 edition of Kittel's Biblia Hebraica. The New Covenant is based on the Textus Receptus, being modified with the use of such other texts as the Nestle-Aland and Shem Tob, as seemed appropriate. ..." 1

Unfortunately, after use of the corrupted Alexandrian texts as well as Shem Tob Matthew,  the ISR inserted their "choice" of sacred names, which compiled into a pseudo "corrupt" KJV version.

The ISR omits the reference to the Messiah's Deity [Theos/God] from 1 Timothy 3:16. They clearly did not follow the Received Text on this and other very definitive passage that illustrates the Deity of The Messiah. For those important verses such as Colossians 2:9, the ISR appears to have switched to the Alexandrian text, which is what the Westcott and Hort, Nestle Aland and other base texts are and which most new Bible translations are based on.

For example, the NIV, which has been used extensively in Messianic Jewish Alliance of America (MJAA) documents, for example, such as their Statement of Faith.  Surprisingly, Colossians 2:8-9 is actually not used in relation to the Deity of Christ, in the MJAA statement of faith. The NIV states:

Colossians 2:8-9 8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. 9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 

Colossians 2: 8-9

KJV - Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

LITERAL - Watch that there not be one robbing you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the elements of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;

What the unnamed translators of this ISR "bible" did, was to take a text that was used in the translation of the KJV Bible, and then alter it by inserting other texts in various areas to promote an anti Christian theological bias. This version alters key passages that would demonstrate the Deity of Christ. The late Chris "CJ" Koster was one of the people apparently involved with this project. A perusal of the numerous articles written by Mr. Koster, reveals that he called his messiah YAHshua (he insisted that the Name Jesus was "pagan.)

Koster also wrote a book called "Come out of her my people" which is also heavily promoted within HR. In Koster's book, it was stated that all things that Christians believe originated from paganism, including the words Lord, God, Jesus, etc.  He did not believe that Jesus was divine, denying His Deity, and therefore denying Him as the Christ. Mr. Koster also taught that the Name of Jesus was the same as zeus, which many HR associates also claim, and are also just as wrong.

Tyndale at one point listed all of the words that were removed from this "translation" because of their supposed pagan origin as presented by Koster. Including: Bible, Testament, God, Lord, Holy, Amen, Glory, Jesus, Christ, Church, Cross.

It is interesting to note that this "translation" utilized the supposed "Hebrew" text of Matthew in the New Testament of the ISR. The origin of this supposed original reveals it was a 1400's copy of a Latin text which was changed to promote an anti Christian bias. In other words a polemic against Christ and Christians. In this "version" of Matthew, it is taught that preaching the gospel to the gentiles is of the anti-christ.

It reads: Matt 24:14-15: "And this gospel will be preached in all the earth for a witness concerning me to all the nations and then the end will come. This is the Anti-Christ and this is the abomination which desolates which was spoken of by Daniel as standing in the holy place. Let the one who reads understand."

This "translation" also denies the divinity of Jesus, because it never identifies Him as the Christ; Matthew 1:1 "these are the generations of Jesus..."; 1:18 "The birth of Jesus was in this way . . ."  John the Baptist is given an exalted role: Matt 11:11 "Truly, I say to you, among all those born of women men has risen greater than John the Baptizer.", while the rest of the passage "notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he" has been eliminated

The supposed Hebrew Matthews or Shem Tob Matthew used by many in HR are from the 1400-1500 range CE. Precisely, ShemTob is dated 1380, while DuTillet and Muenster are about 1550. Together they make up the "Middle Ages Matthews" but, they are very different, and are in disagreement with each other in various places, and as one stated, that is one of the ironies.


1.>no longer valid link

For indepth evaluation of the Shem Tov please see: Myth. The "Hebrew Matthew, or Shem Tov, or Shem Tob Matthew prove a Hebrew original.  The Hebrew Matthew proves that the NT was written in Hebrew first >

>On the promo for the ISR download to e-sword is  Source Information
Source: The Scriptures
Author/Creator:  Our Heavenly Father
Publisher Link: Institute for Scripture Research
Date Published: 12/31/1998
Subject: Bible/Dictionary

ISR - The Scriptures 1998 "Scripture taken from The Scriptures©, Copyright by Institute for Scripture Research. Used by permission”.

The Restoration Scriptures True Name Edition (RSTNE) 

Written by false prophet Moshe Koniuchowsky aka Marshall Koniuchowsky, is a deplorable attempt at changing the Word of God. Dubbed the RSTNE, or Renewed Covenant Scriptures or Two House Scriptures because of the Two House theology bias,  it is published in English and Spanish with a myriad of inaccurate words either linguistically or to the Word of God. After limited success with the first edition, two more editions were published. It would not surprise anyone if the latest edition included Koniuchowsky's penchant for the promotion of polygamy as desirable.

The original (after April 2004) attempt to eliminate all suggested pagan elements and words, which would include anything Greek, with the preference being the claimed holy language of Hebrew, failed miserably. Included were the dreaded and often misspelled Greek names, words in Yiddish, German, Islam and English and some made up words with no known source except a lively imagination. Also was the apparent ignorance of actual Hebrew words, including the actual Hebrew name of Jesus, Yeshua. That lack of knowledge and accuracy was also obviously the reason for the second edition (August 2004) which was done almost immediately after the first, and then a third in November 2005. To appear to correct the corrections. Incidentally, the copy at my disposal from 2004, had included in the front, a half page pasted in with some identified errors and their corrections.

In his announcement of the RSTNE it was stated the Masoretic Text was the foundational text for the "First Covenant Tanach." The attempt was made to correct perceived " anti-Yahshua redactions", claimed to have been tampered with by the Masoretic editor. The claim was also the "reinsertion" of the true Name, which choice is not found in actual Hebrew manuscripts.


For the "Renewed Covenant", which is the false doctrine and rejection of saying the New Testament or New Covenant, the Textus Receptus, or Received Text in the Greek was used--which contradicts his claim that Greek is pagan. Other claimed sources included the Aramaic Peshitta, Matthew Shem Tov (a polemic against Christ and Christianity written by an unsaved Jew), Dead Sea Scrolls, and the Septuagint (LXX), along with other unspecified sources.


For more on the RSTNE please see: The Restoration Scriptures True Name Edition (RSTNE) By Moshe Koniuchowsky >

For more on Marshall Koniuchowsky, please see:


The Hebrew Roots Version (HRV) by James Trimm

It really does matter where one obtains their doctrine. 

James Scott Trimm> James Trimm is most well known for his Hebraic Roots Version [HRV] of the Bible - he allegedly plagiarized the NT and used corrupt manuscripts such as the Shem Tov, Hebrew Matthew and changed the Names of God, Jesus, and Lord to the Sacred Names. The Way International filed a lawsuit against James Trimm for plagiarizing their Bible in 2009. There has been no results of that lawsuit to date, that was filed as "COMPLAINT FOR COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT AND FALSE ADVERTISING".

Mr Trimm took prepaid pre-orders for the complete HRV four-five years before it was published. Then those who had ordered it never received the version and were told that the money was for a "donation", not for product. Some people spent a good sum having ordered multiple copies for their congregations at $50-60 each. Although some people finally received their version, it was of inferior quality, with grammar and spelling issues.

He also came out with a NT commentary based on his NT HRV that was loaded with kabbalah. Mr Trimm has many kabbalistic teachings via his email forums as well. He has "translated" several pseudographical books [Apocrypha] which he accepts as inspired scriptures. Mr Timm has no degrees in Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek, but promotes himself as "Dr" Trimm with a "doctorate" from a diploma mill. He has never provided proof of either a BA or a Master's Degree which are mandatory prerequisites for a doctorate in any field of study. According to language scholars that have spoken with him, he is not familiar with either Hebrew or Aramaic.

Mr Trimm's private life is blatantly unscriptural. Pornographic material has been seen in his home by credible witnesses, and he and his wife had a soap opera forum promoting an ungodly life style. At one point, Mr Trimm was involved in an adulterous affair, all the while promoting and writing his teachings. At this time he was also begging for money for his family via the internet. Mr Trimm admitted to the adultery publicly via his email forums, but the full story was disclosed on another forum by one of his close associates at that time. It can be read here, which includes the legal removal of Mr Trimm from his Beit Din:


For more on James Trimm please see:

Myth. David Stern's Complete Jewish Bible (CJB), is the best Bible to use

It's common for most in these groups to reference David Stern's Complete Jewish Bible Translation(CJB), which is not a literal translation of the original with Hebraic terms substituted. The Old Testament portion is actually a paraphrase from the Jewish Press Society 1917 English translation. The Jewish New Testament is based primarily on the United Bible Societies ' The Greek New Testament." (3rd Edition New York: American Bible Society, 1975). Interestingly Stern's Bible seems to compare closely to the NIV, which is translated from the same base texts. That is, the Westcott and Hort, Nestle Aland translations, etc. which most new Bible translations are based on. Stern also wrote the Jewish New Testament Commentary.

The promotion for his Jewish New Testament, holds the same rhetoric one finds throughout the Hebrew Roots and Messianic movements:

"The New Testament is a Jewish book, written by Jews, initially for Jews. Its central figure was a Jew. His followers were all Jews; yet no translation--except this one--really communicates its original, essential Jewishness. Uses neutral terms and Hebrew names. Highlights Jewish features and Jewish references. Corrects mistranslations from an anti-Jewish theological basis."

The New Testament was written in the common language of Greek so it would be apparent that salvation was offered to all mankind as God decreed, and was not limited to Jewishness or heritage. There were many thousands of Jews who came to Christ, but there were also many thousands of Gentiles, starting with when Jesus was on the earth. It's not about heritage. It's about Christ.

Colossians 1:26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:

27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:

Ephesians 2:13-22 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. 14. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15. Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 16. And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 17. And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. 18. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 19. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20. And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21. In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22. In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

The promotion for his Commentary, states:

"This companion volume to the Jewish New Testament enhances Bible study. Passages and expressions are explained in their original cultural context, the way 1st century Jewish writers meant for them to be understood"

Our understanding of the Scriptures comes from the Holy Spirit, who teaches us the things that are freely given to us by God. We aren't blind or unable to comprehend the Scriptures unless we attempt to read them in the flesh. Scripture interprets Scripture.

1 John 2:27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

1 Corinthians 2:5-16 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. 6. Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: 7. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: 8. Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

9. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 10. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 11. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

12. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

14. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 16. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

As one studies the CJB, it would almost appear David Stern wrote a paraphrase and translation as the Complete Jewish Bible, that changed the contents and doctrine, and then made the Commentary to the New Testament, which has a mixture of the actual literal translation, opinion and paraphrase. However, in his Introduction of the CJB, he states that he translated directly from the Greek.

"Therefore, I believe a translator should decide what a word or phrase means - in his opinion - and then convey that meaning as clearly as possible ... because wrong meanings have been conveyed in the past. I consider it my responsibility to convey what I believe to be the one and only correct meaning in as unmistakable a way as possible. Even when an expression in the original language seems vague, capable of more than one interpretation. I don't think a translator should transfer the ambiguity into English. Rather, he should decide on one of the possible interpretations and render that one as well.

Frankly, I can admit that a team might have done a better job; but I have done the best I can. I hope the readers will not be disappointed. Introduction, page xvii"

"On the other hand, the books of the New Covenant are my translation from the original Greek. Introduction"   Introduction page xiv"   1

David Stern, received a Master of Divinity degree at Fuller Theological Seminary.  In the preface of CJB, Stern admits to having a 6th grade education when it comes to Hebrew. Along with the inconsistent insertion of proper name Hebrew words, he threw in some Yiddish amongst the majority of English words, which does nothing for ease of reading.

CJB Matthew 2:1 After Yeshua was born in Beit-Lechem in the land of Y'hudah during the time Herod was king, Magi from the east came to Yerushalayim and asked ,"Where is the newborn King of the Jews? For we saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."

Why didn't he write yehudim for Jews? Or melek for King? Or ashshaph for the 'Magi' (wise men as it is rendered in KJV)?

KJV Mat 2:1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

No one normally speaks or reads in two, three or four languages all at once--especially if the languages are unknown to the reader. It is not only distracting, and confusing but unnecessary. God is not the author of confusion.

Here is another example of how useless it becomes to mix languages or present them unless one knows them. Please Read these:

(DHNT-VP) וַיְהִי בִּימֵי הוֹרְדוֹס הַמֶּלֶךְ כַּאֲשֶׁר נוֹלַד יֵשׁוּעַ בְּבֵית־לֶחֶם יְהוּדָה וַיָּבֹאוּ מְגוּשִׁים מֵאֶרֶץ מִזְרָח יְרוּשָׁלָיִם׃   [Delitzsch Hebrew New Testament with Vowel Points]

Matt 2:1 vayehi bimei Horedus hamelech c'sher nolad Yeshua b'beit lechem yehuda vayavo u megushim meretz mizrach yerushalayim

Pablo escribio que preferia speak cinco palabras que la gente understood, que diez mil que no pudiesen. Therefore esta en las Escrituras que hablemos of las cosas de Cristo con claridad. [2.  see endnote]

Some other examples from CJB:

CJB: Luke 10:4 Don't carry a money-belt or a pack, and don't stop to shmoose with people on the road.

KJV Luk 10:4 Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way.

CJB Luke 18:5 but because this widow is such a nudnik, I will see to it that she gets justice -- otherwise, she'll keep coming and pestering me till she wears me out!'"

KJV Luk 18:5 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.

It's doubtful Jesus used "shmoose" and "nudnik", which is a belittling and insulting term.

Yiddish is an early middle ages blend of German and Polish, with some Hebrew thrown in.

The CJB uses "sh’khinah" - which is a kabbalistically created word also from the middle ages referring to the presence/glory of God. Do we really want to put a mystic word into the mouths of the apostles?

CJB John 12:41 (Yesha`yahu said these things because he saw the Sh'khinah of Yeshua and spoke about him.)

CJB Romans 9:4 the people of Isra'el! They were made God's children, the Sh'khinah has been with them, the covenants are theirs, likewise the giving of the Torah, the Temple service and the promises;

CJB Titus 2:13 while continuing to expect the blessed fulfillment of our certain hope, which is the appearing of the Sh'khinah of our great God and the appearing of our Deliverer, Yeshua the Messiah.

CJB Hebrews 1:3 This Son is the radiance of the Sh'khinah, the very expression of God's essence, upholding all that exists by his powerful word; and after he had, through himself, made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of HaG'dulah BaM'romim.

All the "Hebrew" words might make the CJB look impressive, albeit incomprehensible to non-Hebrew or Yiddish speaking readers, and at the cost of what the text "really" says. Changing doctrine in the Scriptures is never a good idea.

Proverbs 30:6 Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.

More examples of changing doctrine:

(CJB)  Gal 2:15 We are Jews by birth, not so-called 'Goyishe sinners';
Gal 2:16 even so, we have come to realize that a person is not declared righteous by God on the ground of his legalistic observance of Torah commands, but through the Messiah Yeshua's trusting faithfulness. Therefore, we too have put our trust in Messiah Yeshua and become faithful to him, in order that we might be declared righteous on the ground of
the Messiah's trusting faithfulness and not on the ground of our legalistic observance of Torah commands. For on the ground of legalistic observance of Torah commands, no one will be declared righteous.

KJV Gal 2:15 We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, Gal 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

Goyishe is a Yiddish word and would not mean much to a non Yiddish associated Jew or those of Sephardic descent with no connections to yiddishkeit..

In verse 16, the phrase ergon nomos in the Greek refers to the works of the law…ergon meaning acts, works, doing with nomos being law. Stern chooses to translate ergon nomos as " legalistic observance of Torah commands" However, in his Jewish New Testament Commentary p 534 Stern admits:

"For comparative purposes here is a literal translation of vv15-16:

We, by nature Jews and not sinners from Gentiles, but knowing that a person is not justified from works of law but through trust of Messiah Yeshua, even we unto messiah Yeshua trusted, in order that we might be justified from trust of Messiah and not from works of law, because from works of law not will be justified all flesh." 3

Why is the literal translation included in the Commentary while the paraphrase is included as the translation? As we see, in the commentary Stern gave the correct translation, while in his translation he gave an inaccurate paraphrase.

Stern goes on to say in page 536:

The greek word "nomos" usually means "law" ; it is also the normal New Testament word for Hebrew Torah, which can usually be translated by the "Law of Moses" or simply "law". Most Christians therefore suppose that "erga nomou", literally, "works of law", a term which appears three times in v16, must mean,"actions done in obedience to the Torah." But this is wrong. One of the best kept secrets about the New Testament is that when Sha´ul writes "nomos " he frequently does not mean "law" but "legalism." 4

So we can assume that the secret was kept for 2000 years until Stern came along?

Stern then goes on to quote two scholars who he believes justify such a view and then "submits" that:

" every instance "erga nomou" means not deeds done in virtue of following the Torah in the way God intended, but deeds done in consequence of perverting the Torah into a set of rules which, it is presumed, can be obeyed mechanically, automatically,legalistically, without having faith, without having trust in god, without having love for God or man , and without being empowered by the holy Spirit." 5

So it seems that Stern gives us his opinion of what he thinks Paul meant rather than what the text actually said.

From one Messianic site (no longer available) that readily promoted Stern's The Jewish New Testament and his Commentary:

"...At the moment, we cannot recommend Stern's Complete Jewish Bible. Stern admits his translation of the Tanakh portion has errors. ... after the phenomenal success of his New Testament and Commentary, he was under quite some pressure to do a translation of the full Bible. He took the 1917 public domain text Jewish Publications Society Tanakh and rapidly updated the language. Unfortunately, and Stern admits this, he rushed the project. There are places where the translation is opposite what the Scripture says...."  6

In the Introduction of CJB, Stern wrote this concerning Jesus: 

"However; unlike others, he had no human father but was given birth by a virgin named Mary.  Introduction page xviii" 7

But; in Isaiah 7:14 he uses young woman:

CJB: Mat 1:23 "The virgin will conceive and bear a son, and they will call him `Immanu El."a (The name means, "God is with us.")

CJB: Isaiah 7:14 Therefore Adonai himself will give you people a sign: the young woman will become pregnant, bear a son and name him Immanu EL [God is with us].

A closer examination of how verses are being written and interpreted for the Hebraic mindset agenda, is seen in the Introduction for the CJB:

In fact, some phrases in the New Testament manuscripts make no sense unless one reaches through the Greek to the underlying Hebrew expressions. Here is an example, only one of many. 38    page xxxi

Yeshua says in the Sermon on the Mount 39 [Matthew 5-7] literally, "If your eye be evil, our whole body will be dark." 40 [Matthew 6:23]. What is an evil eye? Someone not knowing the Jewish background might suppose Yeshua was talking about casting spells. However, in the Hebrew, having an "ayin ra'ah", an "evil eye," means being stingy; while having an "ayin tovah", a "good eye," means being generous. Yeshua is simply urging generosity against stinginess. And this understanding fits with the surrounding verses: "Where your wealth is, there is heart also ... You can't be a slave to both God and money." 41 [Matthew 6:21,24]. Introduction, page xxi

Footnote 38 "For others, consult David Bivin and Roy Blizzard, Jr., "Understanding the Difficult Words of Jesus". See also the Jewish New Testament Commentary and Section XI below" 8

Do you see the contradiction? Why does one need a Hebrew mindset if the passage indicates the meaning already? Let's take a closer look at this "reaching through the Greek to the underlying Hebrew expressions." Let's look the actual verses used are in red.

CJB Matthew 6:21-24  21. For where your wealth is, there your heart will be also. 22. `The eye is the lamp of the body.' So if you have a `good eye' [that is, if you are generous] your whole body will be full of light; 23. but if you have an `evil eye' [if you are stingy] your whole body will be full of darkness. If, then, the light in you is darkness, how great is that darkness! No 24. one can be slave to two masters; for he will either hate the first and love the second, or scorn the second and be loyal to the first. You can't be a slave to both God and money.

Here's the context of the teaching:

KJV  Matthew 6:19-24 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 22. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. 23. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! 24. No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

Scripture interprets Scripture The parallel teaching in Luke states:

Luke 11:33-36 No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light. 34. The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness. 35. Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness. 36. If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light.

These verses are all part of the whole concept of being filled with the light of Christ and letting your shine for Him. You cannot serve Christ and the things of this world, nor covet those things. The eye is called the window to the soul and it reflects singleness of purpose or focus, or the opposite, and if the eye is evil or in darkness it is serving the flesh and darkness. It also means if we have Christ indwelling we are filled with 'light'. But if we do not belong to Him we are filled with darkness which means sin, and it says, 'how great is that darkness.' You cannot serve both. It's one or the other. And you cannot serve God and the pursuit of wealth and the things of the world.

Here's a breakdown of the meaning of the words in the Matthew verses and nowhere is there reference to stinginess or generosity concerning riches.

light (of the body)




Thayer Definition:

1) a lamp, candle, that is placed on a stand or candlestick

Part of Speech: noun masculine

A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: from the base of G3022


eye G3788



Thayer Definition:

1) the eye

2) metaphorically the eyes of the mind, the faculty of knowing

Part of Speech: noun masculine

A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: from G3700


eye be single  G573



Thayer Definition:

1) simple, single

2) whole

3) good fulfilling its office, sound

3a) of the eye

Part of Speech: adjective

A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: probably from G1 (as a particle of union) and the base of G4120


eye is evil




Thayer Definition:

1) full of labours, annoyances, hardships

1a) pressed and harassed by labours

1b) bringing toils, annoyances, perils; of a time full of peril to Christian faith and steadfastness; causing pain and trouble

2) bad, of a bad nature or condition

2a) in a physical sense: diseased or blind

2b) in an ethical sense: evil wicked, bad

Part of Speech: adjective

A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: from a derivative of G4192


*** this above word for evil is used 76 times in KJV with the words used being: evil, wicked, bad, evils, grievous, harm, lewd, malicious, wickedness


mammon G3126



Thayer Definition:

1) mammon

2) treasure

3) riches (where it is personified and opposed to God)

Part of Speech: noun masculine

A Related Word by Thayer’s/Strong’s Number: of Aramaic origin (confidence, i.e. wealth, personified)

Let's look at the parallel verses in the OT and Stern's claim of "if you have an `evil eye' [if you are stingy]:

Proverbs 28:22 He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him.

This verse says that seeking anxiously or hurrying to be rich is to have an evil eye, that is, to be wicked. It has nothing to with being stingy. .

hasteth H926



BDB Definition:

1) to disturb, alarm, terrify, hurry, be disturbed, be anxious, be afraid, be hurried, be nervous

1a) (Niphal)

1a1) to be disturbed, dismayed, terrified, anxious

1a2) to be in haste, be hasty

1b) (Piel)

1b1) to make haste, act hastily, be hurried, be hastened

1b2) to dismay, terrify

1c) (Pual)

1c1) to hasten

1c2) hastened, hastily gained (participle)

1d) (Hiphil)

1d1) to hasten, hurry, make haste

1d2) to dismay, terrify

Part of Speech: verb

A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: a primitive root


rich H1952



BDB Definition:

1) wealth, riches, substance (noun masculine)

1a) wealth

1b) price, high value

2) enough!, sufficiency (interjection)

Part of Speech: see above in Definition

A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: from the same as H1951 in the sense of H202


evil H7451

רעה / רע

ra‛ / râ‛âh

BDB Definition:

1) bad, evil (adjective)

1a) bad, disagreeable, malignant

1b) bad, unpleasant, evil (giving pain, unhappiness, misery)

1c) evil, displeasing

1d) bad (of its kind - land, water, etc)

1e) bad (of value)

1f) worse than, worst (comparison)

1g) sad, unhappy

1h) evil (hurtful)

1i) bad, unkind (vicious in disposition)

1j) bad, evil, wicked (ethically)

1j1) in general, of persons, of thoughts

1j2) deeds, actions

2) evil, distress, misery, injury, calamity (noun masculine)

2a) evil, distress, adversity

2b) evil, injury, wrong

2c) evil (ethical)

3) evil, misery, distress, injury (noun feminine)

3a) evil, misery, distress

3b) evil, injury, wrong

3c) evil (ethical)

Part of Speech: see above in Definition

A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: from H7489


eye H5869



BDB Definition:

1) eye

1a) eye

1a1) of physical eye

1a2) as showing mental qualities

1a3) of mental and spiritual faculties (figuratively)

2) spring, fountain

Part of Speech: noun feminine or masculine

A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: probably a primitive word

Another verse speaking of 'thine eye be evil", in the Hebrew Scriptures which obviously had the "Hebrew mindset."

Deuteronomy 15:9 Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother, and thou givest him nought; and he cry unto the LORD against thee, and it be sin unto thee.

eye H5869



BDB Definition:

1) eye

1a) eye

1a1) of physical eye

1a2) as showing mental qualities

1a3) of mental and spiritual faculties (figuratively)

2) spring, fountain

Part of Speech: noun feminine or masculine

A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: probably a primitive word


be evil H7489  *** note this is a different definition than evil in proverbs



BDB Definition:

1) to be bad, be evil

1a) (Qal)

1a1) to be displeasing

1a2) to be sad

1a3) to be injurious, be evil

1a4) to be wicked, be evil (ethically)

1b) (Hiphil)

1b1) to do an injury or hurt

1b2) to do evil or wickedly

1b3) mischief (participle)

2) to break, shatter

2a) (Qal)

2a1) to break

2a2) broken (participle)

2a3) to be broken

2b) (Hithpolel) to be broken, be broken in pieces, be broken asunder

Part of Speech: verb

A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number: a primitive root

Let's look at these verses which address the issue of light and darkness in a person:

Isa 8:20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

Proverbs 4:18-19 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. 19. The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.

Matthew 5:14-16 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

See also Joh_5:35, Joh_12:36 Eph_5:8-14; Phi_2:15 1Th_5:5;

Due to David Stern taking the verses out of context of the actual complete teaching, and with the Hebraic mindset agenda, he came up with a totally inaccurate understanding of what Jesus was teaching. Scripture always interprets Scripture. The presumption that what is being said is what Jews thought in the time of Jesus is wishful thinking, because we have the Scriptures showing what particular Jews thought at the time of Jesus. They knew the culture inside and out and walked with our Lord. They wrote in the common language of Greek so that Christ was proclaimed in all the world. It's not about having a Hebraic mindset or needing to know every facet of Jewish culture from 2000 years ago, which no one is living in today. It's about the perpetual truth of the Gospel, in any and all languages. It's about having the mind of Christ.

David Stern wrote in his Introduction a footnote 38 which promoted David Bivin and Roy Blizzard, Jr., "Understanding the Difficult Words of Jesus".

Many, many people are utilizing and promoting "Understanding the Difficult Words of Jesus". Published originally in 1984 by David Bivin, Director of the Jerusalem School of Synoptic Research (JSSR) and Roy Blizzard, it has formed the basis of much Hebrew Roots' doctrine. The following excerpts from Understanding The Difficult Words Of Jesus represent the JSSR viewpoint on the lack of originality of the Greek New Testament: 

"...Our reasons for writing this book are not only to show that the original gospel was communicated in the Hebrew language; but to show that the entire New Testament can only be understood from a Hebrew perspective.

"It cannot be over emphasised, that the key to an understanding of the New Testament is a fluent knowledge of Hebrew and an intimate acquaintance with Jewish history, culture, and Rabbinic Literature." 9.

On David Bivin's website, the Jerusalem Perspective, this promotion is seen for the revised edition of "Understanding the Difficult Words of Jesus: New Insights From a Hebraic Perspective:"

"Author's - Bivin, David; Blizzard, Roy - New insights from a Hebraic perspective This is the ground-breaking book that shocked the population of God's church into groping for answers to difficult questions. The solution? Understanding Jesus' teaching from an Hebraic perspective. Why are some of the sayings of Jesus found in the Synoptic Gospels so difficult to understand. Bivin and Blizzard suggest that it is because the original gospel that formed the basis for the Synoptic Gospels was first communicated, not in Greek, but in the Hebrew Language. This means we are reading an English translation of a text that is itself a translation. Many of Jesus' sayings contain Hebrew idioms that are meaningless in either Greek or English. When the Greek text is translated back into Hebrew, Hebrew idioms appear that illuminate the teaching. A 47-page appendix discusses 12 passages that are examples of the scriptures that are commonly misinterpreted due to a lack of understanding Hebrew idioms." 10 

In other word's they do not believe the NT was transmitted in Greek but in Hebrew and can never be understood unless one learns Hebrew, the culture and so on, or is given the 'real' understandings by those leaders how 'know' these things. Thereby, making understanding the Scriptures an elitist undertaking. Which thinking is found throughout Messianic Judaism and Hebrew Roots leadership.

2 Peter 3:15-18 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 16. As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. 17. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. 18. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

2 Timothy 4:1-5 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 2. Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 3. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4. And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 5. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

From the JSSR website:

" The Jerusalem School of Synoptic Research,  a consortium of Jewish and Christian scholars, was chartered in 1985 as an Israeli non-profit scientific and educational organization dedicated to understanding better the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke), and to rethinking the Synoptic Problem.  Examining the Synoptic Gospels within the context of the language, land and culture in which Jesus lived, this Jewish-Christian collaboration is unique and unprecedented historically...Christian scholars fluent in Hebrew and living in Israel are collaborating with Jewish scholars to examine Jesus' sayings from a Jewish and Hebraic perspective.  The result of this research confirm that Jesus was an organic part of the diverse social and religious landscape of Second Temple-period Judaism.  He, like other Jewish sages of his time, taught in Hebrew and used specialized methods to teach foundational Jewish theological concepts..." bolding added 11

Notice, the Gospel of John is excluded from their research.

Jesus taught and gave understanding to those who believed Him. Sourcing the ideas and understanding of people who reject Jesus Christ, His divinity and the Truth of the New Covenant is not a source for believers to obtain doctrine. Every interpretation of the OT and NT will be different than those who believe Christ fulfilled the Law and the Prophets.

Matthew 13:9-18 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. 10. And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?

11. He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. 12. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.

13. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. 14. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:

15. For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

16. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. 17. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them. 18. Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.

1 Corinthians 2:5-7 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. 6. Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: 7. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:

1 Corinthians 2:8-11 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 10. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 11. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

According to the JSSR, there is a more authentic Life of Jesus than the gospel accounts:

"… There was an original Hebrew 'Life of Jesus', from parts of which our canonical Greek Gospel Texts are mere compilations and translations. The individual words of the Greek texts that we have are standard Greek equivalents used to translate Hebrew documents into Greek, therefore we can retranslate back into Hebrew to discover what Jesus really said. Failure to appreciate the Hebraic origins of the Gospels has led to mistranslation, misinterpretation, spiritually damaging error and doctrinal confusion." 8.  12 

In 2005, David Bivin wrote a second volume, called, New Light on the Difficult Words of Jesus: Insights on His Jewish Context. Forward by Dwight Pryor.

"What if we could step back into the first-century world of Jesus, walking on a dusty road with him as one of his first Jewish disciples? What if we heard his teachings in the context of the rabbinic conversations that surrounded him? Here we examine Jesus’ lifestyle as a first-century Jewish rabbi and look at how his words would have been understood ...

...this new book by David Bivin, edited and published by the En-Gedi Resource Center. Bivin is the founder and editor of Jerusalem Perspective (JP), a magazine that explores the Jewish context of the Gospels.

“In Jerusalem, David Bivin has interacted for decades with some of the best Jewish scholarship in the world. This book displays many of the brilliant Hebraic gems the author has mined that help illuminate the pages of the Gospels. Clearly written and very readable, Bivin shows why Christians need rabbinic sources if they intend to know and understand Jesus in his first-century Jewish setting. New Light on the Difficult Words of Jesus is a valuable resource for every serious student of Scripture.” -Marvin R. Wilson, Professor of Biblical Studies, Gordon College, Wenham, MA

“In this stimulating collection of writings, David Bivin will be your personal tour guide through the multi-hued Jewish landscape that frames the words of our Lord. Few guides are better equipped to show you these exciting vistas. Bivin’s insights into the life and times of Messiah are nuggets mined from a lifetime of labor, with scholarly skill and faithful determination. Reading New Light on the Difficult Words of Jesus will increase your love and respect for the man, Jesus, and summon your heart to walk after him in paths of discipleship.”
-Dwight A. Pryor, Founder & President, Center for Judaic-Christian Studies, Dayton, Ohio and Jerusalem, Israel" 13

It has been established that the original manuscripts for the New Testament were composed in Greek and this is what is in existence and used for original sources for translating New Testaments into world wide languages. There are no original Hebrew manuscripts of the New Testament.

The Talmud and kabbalah are the rabbinic writings/sources and none of them refer to the New Testament as a topic to study. Toledot Yeshu, with its various components, is one of the rabbinic Jewish views of Jesus for those who rejected him as God come in the flesh. It means "may his name be blotted out." If one accepts Jewish aka Judaism's thought regarding who Jesus was according to Judaic rabbinic writings and teachings, then Jesus was not divine. It is also conveyed that He was not viewed as divine by his disciples, but was viewed as a human, just a man as Dwight Pryor mentioned above. If one peruses rabbinic Jewish thought, meaning those who reject Jesus Christ, we see:

*To Jews, Jesus was a teacher, storyteller, a magician, a healer, a prophet, a sage, he was just a human, not the son of God or divine, a pagan God.

*In the Jewish view, Jesus cannot save souls; He did not rise from the dead.

*Jesus caused destruction by the sword to Israel; He changed the law, and "misled many people to worship a being beside God"

*Jesus' mission was as a prophet exclusively directed towards the Jews, not towards the Gentiles.

*Judaism does not accept the idea of original sin. Sins are removed by seeking forgiveness.

Isaiah 11:9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. 10 And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, who shall stand as an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his place of rest shall be glorious.

Ephesians 3:3-9 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, 4. Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) 5. Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; 6. That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: 7. Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. 8. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; 9. And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:

Nowhere in any Scripture is it suggested it necessary to know the culture, Hebrew idioms or indeed the need of a Hebraic mindset, rabbinic writings, or the wisdom of men in order to understand the Scriptures given to all mankind.

2 Timothy 3:13-17 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. 14. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; 15. And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17. That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

James 1:5-8 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 7. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. 8. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

Ephesians 1:17-19 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 18. The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 19. And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

1 Corinthians 1:29-31 That no flesh should glory in his presence. 30. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 31. That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

Colossians 1:9-11 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10. That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11. Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;

It really does matter where we obtain our doctrine:

Psalm 11:3 If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?

2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

Psalms 12:6-7 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. 7. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.


1. Complete Jewish Bible - David H. Stern Jewish New Testament Publications, Inc copyright 1998. First edition July, 1998

2 * Paul wrote that he would rather speak five words people could understand than ten thousand that they couldn't. Therefore it is a scriptural doctrine to speak about the things of Christ with clarity.

3.  Jewish New Testament Commentary by David H Stern  copyright 1992; distributed by Messianic Jewish Resources International   p 534

4-5 Ibid p536

6. longer active

7-8 op cit Stern CJB

9. citing from To Embrace Hebrew Roots: Part III  The Talmud & Jesus Christ


11.op cit

12 Ibid


For indepth discussion on Hebrew mindset, Hebrew idioms etc. please see:

Myth. It is impossible to understand the Bible unless one uses a "Hebraic" mindset. Christians have a Greek mindset or western gentile mindset and therefore can't understand the true meaning of the Bible. 

Myth:  Hebrew Idioms, Hebraic Idioms, Hebrew Mindset, and a Hebraic Mindset are Necessary for Understanding the Scriptures  

Myth. Traditional Jewish writings support the Hebrew Idioms concepts and understandings. From a Hebraic mindset or view, it is easy to understand the difficult words of Jesus.  etc.

Back to  

Hebrew Roots FAQS & Myths

Basic Doctrinal Issues

Under the Law

Sacrifices, Feasts, Celebrations

Names For God & Jesus

Who Is Jesus

Talmud & Kabbalah



Note: "Strong's" for Hebrew and Greek Word definitions from Strong's Exhaustive Concordance by James Strong

"Thayers" >  Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament

"BDB" >Brown-Driver-Brigg's Hebrew Definitions


All Scripture King James Version unless otherwise stated

                Copyright . All articles are the sole property of and Vicky Dillen. All Scripture King James Version unless otherwise stated.


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