Hi there! I’m Rich Oka, the creator of this site.
I’m a super Bible nerd and I would like to have a heart-to-heart discussion with you.
As a Pastor, Preacher, or Bible Teacher, have you ever struggled with any of the following issues?
Coming up with fresh new messages week after week.
Dwindling membership numbers.
Lying awake at night worried about whether you’ll receive enough donations to cover needed expenses.
Concerned about how to get people to respond to the Bible and not just give facts.
Unable to focus on preparing good sermons due to being overwhelmed by other ministry burdens.
Lack of membership participation-people just not showing up and using every excuse under the sun why they couldn’t step up to the plate and help out (I’m probably guilty of doing this more than anybody).
What could possibly be the solution to these problems?
In order to answer this question, first lets look at the number one reason a new visitor decides whether or not to make a given place of worship his or her new church home.
THE NUMBER ONE REASON IS THE QUALITY OF THE SERMONS.
To put it bluntly, this means that you can do everything right, you can be friendly, offer after-service cookies, cream and coffee, and have the most comfortable seating in the world, but if the sermon sucks, that guest’s first time visit will be his or her last. According to surveys, it’s 90% guaranteed he or she will leave and never come back.
Now, what’s the number one reason regular members decide to leave the church?
Drum roll please.
The answer is……….
because THE SERMONS ARE BORING.
Before he became a mega-pastor, Rick Warren conducted his own survey. He discovered that the most common complaint people gave for not attending church was because……………………
“Church is boring, ESPECIALLY THE SERMONS.”
“This is the complaint I heard the most. It is amazing how churches are able to take the most exciting book in the world and bore people to tears with it. Miraculously, they are able to turn bread into stones. The problem with boring preachers is that it causes people to think God is boring.”-Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Church page 191
Consistently providing high quality sermons and teachings with mind-blowing content will solve a host of problems in one fell swoop. Think about it. If you hear a sermon that inspires you and provides immediate relevance to an issue you are tackling at work or in your personal life, do you think you’ll go back? Of course you will. And you will be happy to support this ministry with generous cash donations.
All of the below problems,
Dwindling membership numbers.
Lack of enthusiasm from current members.
An unresponsive audience.
The magic bullet to solving all of these problems is delivering weekly messages that provoke and inspire.
This is NOT my opinion.
This is the cold, hard truth as reported by thousands of surveys.
So this leads us to our next important question.
WHAT MAKES A GREAT SERMON?
In order to answer this question, let’s try answering the opposite question.
“What makes a terrible sermon?”
The last thing I want do is share my personal opinions on this matter. So let’s see what the hard research has to say. According to data amassed based on observation of thousands of sermons, the following are the main reasons why a pastor or teacher loses their audience.
Too many points!
Too much information!
(In other words, get to the point and fast or I’m falling asleep!)
No real-life application!
Preaching too long!
Do you notice the common denominator?
In other words,
KEEP IT SIMPLE!
There is another very important point.
In terms of sermon material, we must…
“Preach the Word of God.
Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not.
Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.”
-2 Timothy 4:2
The Word of God?!
I know, I know. I’m saying the obvious.
But you would be surprised at how many preachers or Bible study leaders do NOT start from Scripture when preparing their messages. A lot of people will come across an idea on the internet, hear a song, or watch Spiderman and then look for a Bible verse to substantiate what they come up with. We want to avoid this.
Instead, we want to spend time immersed in God’s Word and get our ideas from Scripture.
And then, if there’s a song or whatever, we can use it to substantiate the message God has already laid on our hearts. Not vice versa. In other words, let’s get our inspiration from the Word, NOT the world.
Here is an insightful quote from a Christian pastor who decided to do away with topical preaching in his congregation.
“I feel like it shouldn’t be an extra thing to have Bible study. Sermons should teach believers how to read the Bible, and thoroughly teach scripture and the history surrounding it. Then, secondarily teach “practical life applications.”
“When I look back on the time in my life when I fell away from the church, I see how it was mainly caused by my own Biblical ignorance. When I started going to Bible Study I couldn’t believe how little about the Word I had learned from “Sunday School.”
In order to captivate your audience, there is simply NO SUBSTITUTE for teaching God’s Word in an easy-to-understand manner! This means teaching all of God’s Word starting from Genesis Chapter One.
Do you want a spiritually strong congregation?
Do you want a congregation able to accurately and correctly divide the Word of God?
Do you want a congregation hungry to learn God’s Word and coming back for more week after week?
THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY TO ACHIEVE THIS!
Teach and preach God’s Word the way it was meant to be understood in its original Hebrew context.
PLUS KEEP IT SIMPLE!
And that is the reason I started this site.
The purpose of this site is to help Pastors, Bible Study Leaders, and Teachers become MUCH better at what they do by teaching how the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, is connected to the New Testament.
Why is this so important?
First, it is no secret that the Old Testament is the Holy Scripture that Jesus and His Disciples taught from. The New Testament wasn’t even in existence until well after the time of the Apostles. The Old and New Testaments cannot be separated and only when they are used together do we have a complete Bible.
Another important point to keep in mind. The popular Scripture verse 2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness” was ONLY referring to the Hebrew Bible because there was no such thing as a New Testament in existence at that time.
Second, Jesus Himself affirmed the importance of the Torah. “For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”. He also said, “Don’t think that I have come to abolish the Law (Torah) or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete.”
Third, the resurrection of the nation of Israel from the dead in 1948 represents a profound challenge to the church to take the gospel to the Jew FIRST as commanded in Scripture. Torah study is considered to be the highest calling a Jew can pursue. If the church is going to be effective in its outreach efforts to the Jewish community, a solid understanding of the Torah will help tremendously in bridging the existing cultural and mindset gap (and trust me it’s a huge gap).
Fourth, both the Old and New Testaments are Hebrew documents. They were formulated within the context of a Hebrew culture. And ONLY within that context is an accurate understanding of the Bible achieved. You can’t have one without the other folks. Superimposing a cultural mindset onto the Hebrew text that is foreign to the Jewish culture in which it was created will lead to all kinds of misinterpretations and aberrant doctrines.
“In order to understand what the biblical position is on any subject, one has to do it from a Hebrew perspective.”
-Dr. Roy B. Blizzard, President at Bible Scholars
“The Bible is interpreted for the general public and people in churches by theologians, pastors, and others who are not very well trained in the complexities and rigors of biblical exegesis. When I first began to read Greek and Hebrew as a seminary student, I had my first glimpse of how much my life had been affected by mistranslated, misinterpreted Bible verses. Public discussion of the Bible tends to become the province of people who are limited to reading English translations, with no understanding of the ancient world, and the myriad complications involved in understanding what any of the ancient biblical material meant in its own contexts.”
–Dr. Kalinda Rose Stevenson, author of Does the Bible Really Say That? series, former teacher in theological seminaries, and a Doctor in Biblical Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley
THE BENEFITS & FEATURES OF THIS SITE
Every article posted shouldn’t take more than a minute or two to read and is focused on ONE powerful point. Combine a couple of articles together and you’ll have the ingredients to create one powerful sermon or Bible study packed with enough dynamite power to blow Satan and his kingdom to high hell multiple times over.
*******ENTERTAINING, FUN, & FASCINATING*******
When you read one of the articles on this site, rest assured that you are reading an article carefully composed by one of the most obsessed, super Bible nerds ever to walk the face of the earth (Yes. Me!) I have been studying the Bible in-depth for over 15 years and have dedicated my life to making God’s Word easy and fun to understand. Whenever I have an extra three hours on a Saturday afternoon, believe me, I’m buried in my Bible studies. For every post, I will make every effort and spare no expense to ensure that every article is theologically accurate, entertaining, and EASY-TO-UNDERSTAND. Here are what some of my readers had to say after reading some of the articles on this site.
“Rich, I have to tell you that I am appreciating your posts more and more. Thanks for speaking the truth with power!”
“I really enjoy your writing. You have a great style that makes it a joy to read.”
“Hilarious, honest, passionate, and insightful. I’m hooked.”
“The articles are very easy to understand. I am a Christian and wanting to know more about old law and customs. This helped immensely.”
“I went through the blog, is really nice what you are doing, I must admit with you that the majority of Christians are very very IGNORANT about their faith, Your exposition is very simple but clear. I like that you always refer to the Hebrew language . Keep up the good work.”
“Thanks Rich, your blog often gives me new information & insight , & in wonderful bite-size pieces!”
“Beautiful that the lessons comes straight from debar ha YHVH/ word of god.
All praises due to Yah of the elohiym”
“Thank you for your teaching hallelujah.”
“Wow! I really liked this reading and explanation.”
“It was an interesting and informative read.
Brings new perspectives to the table for me in my scriptural understanding of prophecy.”
“WOW love it very good down to earth teaching . shalom and thanks.”
“Enjoy reading your Torah insights!! Love the way you teach!!”
“I study a lot, and enjoy all your posts.
They are packed with great information that I love to learn about.
Thank you so much!!
I love deep discussions about scripture!!”
“Halleluyah love true teaching.”
“I like your blog very much and I read each and every time and I learn a lot of things that I did not understand for a long time but now I understand.”
“I love your teaching thank you”
“Thanks for posting your articles – very enlightening and deep.
Please keep posting.”
“Love your teaching. Thank you!”
“I look forward to these teachings everyday.
“Thank you for your posts.
I read them daily and they minister to me.
It is a good thing that you do.”
“Thank you so much for sharing your insights into the Scriptures.
I am learning so much.”
“I really enjoy your posts and consider them blessings!”
We found your site in Oct 2015 + we read it during our family Shabbats.
We appreciate the wisdom you share especially in His Torah.
We also love the New Testament connection.
Thank you for your ministry,
may the Father and the Son bless you + sustain you.
Thanks for the postings.
Appreciate it deeply.
Hungry for truths in Yahweh Elohim.
Am loving this study of Leviticus!
Trying to assimilate it all.
I am going through your Genesis teachings
also as doing the Torah Portion each week.
It is a blessing also.
And I am sharing!
The HOLY CREATOR is teaching me so much these days
and your teaching helps make what could be confusing,
much easier to understand.
Love these articles!
One day I believe thousands will gleam from Messianic Revolution
because of the simplicity of your teachings…
I know I’m learning a lot and am grateful
to the Holy Spirit for leading me in your direction.
“I always love your teaching
I always learn something new !
Thank you !
I have decided it more profitable to share
as others might learn and
appreciate what you share !
Yah elohim YASHARAEL
be exceedingly kind to you
and baruch you.”
“This is amazing!
I love following your teachings.
It provides great info
and an insightful background.”
“Your teaching posts are actually fantastic,
I get so much out of them, thank you”
“I love, love, love reading your break down of the Torah scriptures!
I love ❤️ learning the details of how things were done and the meanings for why!
I read everything you post both forwards and back.”
Can’t wait 😊 for your next insightful teaching!“
“I just want to say I SO ENJOY READING YOUR STUDIES
AND I THINK YOU ARE SO FUNNY –
I WISH I COULD FIND A TEACHER LIKE YOU IN TEMPLEL HILLS, MD
– I just wish I could remember everything you put to words
with respect to the Word –“
“Awesome, I do love your insights.
Learning so much.
You are a blessing.”
“Thank you for your simple explanations about the NT and OT.
Even your previous teachings on Torah are very enlightening and inspiring.
It made me realize i am on the right track in my understanding of Torah
and my faith and what Messianics and Christians should focus on,
the unwavering, unchanging truth of Elohim’s davar.
I have read many Messianic teachings and i find yours more
practical and straightforward, easily understood by anyone.
I have shared your teachings with other Pastors here in my Province
and also in the congregation where i attend.”
*******A UNIQUE HEBREW PERSPECTIVE*******
The articles provided on this site will unlock the mysteries of the Middle Eastern biblical-era from both a linguistic and cultural perspective. Your understanding of the Bible will shift from black-and-white to high resolution color as you move through the lessons.
*******NO SHYING AWAY FROM CONTROVERSIAL VERSES*******
There will be no overlooking of any controversial verses no matter how contrary to traditional church doctrine or sexually explicit they are. I am here to teach God’s Word. ALL OF IT. Let this be a fair warning. I will be making it a point to explore verses and parts of the Bible that I feel the modern church often overlooks or just downright does not understand. I will also be focusing on those verses that most unbelievers point to the most when making fun of the Bible and the church. I believe this will result in a much stronger faith.
*******EASY TO NAVIGATE*******
All articles are categorically indexed by book and chapter. For example, “Genesis 1-7” means the 7th article dealing with a point in chapter one of Genesis. Genesis 2-3 means the 3rd article dealing with a point in chapter two of Genesis. In addition, all posts have a title that clearly states what the article is about.
“Teaching the Bible from a Hebrew perspective?!” I know who you are!!! You’re one of those people sent from the devil to fool everybody into believing that they have to obey the Law of Moses in order to be saved!!! Get away from me you spawn of Satan!!! My faith is in Christ alone!
First of all, calm down. For the record, let me state it very clearly. Salvation is 100% by grace through faith in Christ ALONE. Period. And I’ve got news for you. The doctrine of salvation by grace through faith alone originated in the Old Testament.
It is commonly believed that in the Old Testament, the Jews at that time had to obey the Laws of Moses perfectly in order to be saved. I am sorry but nowhere in the Bible is that concept taught. When we explore this issue, I pray that you will be openminded with the information I am going to share.
Again please keep in mind that the only Bible that Jesus, then the early Disciples, the Gospel writers, Paul, and even John the Revelator studied and taught from was the OT.
Think about that for a moment.
There was NO New Testament when ANY writer of the Bible was alive. The ONLY Bible that existed for these men…and for Christ…was the Old Testament. Any and all references to Holy Scripture by Jesus or the Apostles were to the Old Testament.
They preached the Good News from ONLY the Old Testament.
And if you study with this site, you will develop the knowledge and skill to do so as well.
This will come in particularly handy when serving as a witness to a person raised in the Jewish tradition.
“You’re one of those freaky cultists who keep the Sabbath. No! NO! NO! Don’t you know that Jesus nailed this commandment to the cross?! Get away from me!”
I am not going to be able to go into a comprehensive treatment of this issue here. For that, see my posts on Genesis Chapter Two. As a quick response, I would just like to point out the following four points.
First, keeping the Sabbath is NOT a salvation issue. Sabbath observance plus trust in Messiah does NOT save. Faith in Christ ALONE saves!
Second, history records that for a period of about 300 years after Christ, Christians observed a Sabbath (Saturday) per the original Scripture command.
Third, Jewish believers who are our brothers in Christ keep the Sabbath. If the Scriptures claim that we are to be one body with them, don’t you think this is an issue that we should at least give some thought to?
Finally, this site is not going to tell you to stop going to Church or Bible study on Sunday. The truth is that in addition to Sabbath observance, the early Christians met several days during the week. I just humbly request that you remain open-minded with the information that will be presented.
“So what are your credentials? Why should I listen to you? Are you even an ordained minister or Rabbi?
No I am not a formally ordained minister or Rabbi. And neither was Jesus or His 12 disciples. There are literally thousands of great churches being led by spirit-filled leaders who did not go the $20,000 a year seminary route to obtain formal credentials. So what? What’s your point here? Is it necessary to have to fly on down from high with fancy wings made out of a string of seminary graduate degrees?
The truth be told, I did graduate from an accredited Bible college with honors, but so what?
I consider the following to be much more important.
I have spent the last 15 years engaged in in-depth Bible study.
During that time, I have read literally hundreds of books dealing with theology, ancient Israel, hermeneutics, Christian apologetics, Hebrew language and Judaism etcetera. To be honest with you, ever since I began seriously studying the bible back in my university days, I don’t think more than two days have gone by when I haven’t had my head buried in a book dealing with some important aspect of the Bible and the nature of God.
I have also taught at churches and synagogues in the US and now in Japan where I am currently serving.
In order to further sharpen my perspective, I have had many in-depth discussions with pastors, messianic rabbis, and seminary students. In fact, at this very moment, I am in correspondence with pastors and rabbis sprawled throughout the United States. And I will be reaching out to other ministry leaders located in every corner of the globe.
One powerful advantage in never having been to seminary is that I am NOT handcuffed to any one institution’s doctrinal based interpretations of the Bible and I’m able to pull from disciplines and subcultures that are rarely considered when analyzing Scripture.
I know for a fact that the material I will be sharing on this site is pure dynamite, and has inspired those whom I’ve taught. It sure has changed my life. That’s good enough for me and it has been good enough for those who have been exposed to this material.
MY PROMISE TO YOU!
If you will faithfully go through this site (on average, each article only takes about a minute or so to read), I guarantee you will know the Bible the way it was meant to be understood as an organic whole in its original Hebrew context and have the tools to “get the hay down out of the loft and onto the barn floors, where the cows can eat it” as the great Bible scholar Donald Grey Barnhouse once said.
You will literally CAPTIVATE your audience.
Quite honestly, based on the countless debates and discussions I have had with religious professionals, you will probably know the Bible much better than your average pastor or Bible teacher. I heard about a former missionary, a man, in his 70’s who after being exposed to these teachings said that he learned more about who God is than at any time in his whole Christian life of attending church and Bible study classes.
So whether you are a pastor, Bible study leader, seminary student or a just a regular church goer seeking to gain a more solid understanding of the Bible than what is being taught at your place of worship, let me be your secret research weapon as we embark on a journey that millions of Hebrews and Christians have taken over the last 3000 years.
The journey is only one click away or subscribe (see the right-hand column) to have new teachings delivered fresh to your inbox.