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THE PATRIARCH Jacob once said, מְעַט וְרָעִים הָיוּ יְמֵי שְׁנֵי חַיַּי, "few and evil have been the days of the years of my life," and so it sometimes seems for me as well.  Now Jacob was 130 years old when he spoke these words to Pharaoh, and my relatively short life span cannot begin to compare with his, but nonetheless the seemingly wayward "days of the years of my life" have likewise yielded a profoundly difficult lesson about an extraordinarily joyful subject -- namely, the unrelenting grace and irrepressible love of the Lord God of Israel, especially as revealed in the life of Yeshua (Jesus), the Jewish Messiah and Son of God.

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John and Josiah

Though this isn't the place to give you my testimony about how I experienced the miracle of teshuvah (a changed life), you should perhaps know that I studied philosophy both in college and in graduate school (I taught logic during my graduate school program), and that I also attended Seminary, twice, actually! I have studied Koine Greek and Hebrew and lived Jewish culture for many years now, both formally and informally, and it's my hope to share some of my learning and experience with you here.

I am not a professional teacher of Biblical Hebrew, however, nor do I have a PhD in Semitic languages or earn my income teaching Hebrew at a seminary. No, despite taking various classes in the subject (at Talmud Torah and other places), I have worked my way through the language over the years, attempting to live out its implications (that is absolutely essential), and trusting in the Lord to reveal to me the spiritual meaning of His word.  After all, language (even divinely inspired language) is ultimately a means to something else, and it is that other thing that we must seek.  τὸ γὰρ γράμμα ἀποκτέννει, τὸ δὲ πνεῦμα ζῳοποιεῖ:  "for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life" (2 Cor 3:6).  May you find that Eternal Life (חַיֵּי עוֹלָם) that is forever speaking the word of hope!

A few other things about me might be in order here.  I have been writing the monthly "Hebrew Lesson" column for the Zola Levitt Ministries newsletter for nearly 20 years now (though this ministry is not directly associated with ZLM). In case you are interested in reading these, you click here to receive them FREE of charge.

John, July 2010

I have been affiliated with some Messianic congregations and churches in the Twin Cities, but we currently fellowship in a home assembly that meets every week for Shabbat. We are praying about starting a grace-based Messianic chavurah (fellowship) in the Twin Cities area, if God so wills.

My wife's name is Olga, and we had our first child, Josiah Yisroel, on October 7th, 2004, our second, Judah Abraham, on March 31st, 2009, and our third, Emanuel David on January 17, 2016. Both Olga and my three sons have been further gifts of the unsearchable chesed and love of God to me.

So why this site?

This web site is intended to provide a resource to the Church regarding its rich Hebraic heritage by promoting Jewish literacy among all those who claim Jesus Christ as their Lord.  I believe this is important today for many reasons, but especially because many people in the church today are unaware of the inherent Jewishness of their heritage, and sadly this reflects in many misinterpretations regarding the Scriptures. Remember: Jesus was (and is) a Jew, and to be a follower of Him implies learning about the Jewish people -- their culture, their language, and their way of understanding the Scriptures. Moreover, in the olam habah, the world to come, we will all give homage to a Jewish Lord and Jewish Savior! Why not get a head start and begin learning the "language of the kingdom?"

Studying biblical Hebrew and your Jewish heritage will give you the correct context for reading the B'rit Chadashah (New Testament) by equipping you to comprehend the implications of the Tanakh (Old Testament). You will begin to better understand the Hebraic mindset that informs all the New Testament writings, avoiding exegetical errors that distort the original intent of the authors of the Holy Scriptures.

To help you get started, explore the literally thousands of pages on this web site. You might also want to take a look at the book I wrote for Zola Levitt Ministries entitled, Zola's Introduction to Hebrew (also called Ivrit Lematchilim). I have looked at dozens of Hebrew "primers," but I earnestly believe that this resource is the best available for Christian adults to begin learning about the mystery and beauty of the Hebrew language.  To further your education of the Jewish roots of your faith, please consider my more recent book, A Year Through the Torah.  (Additional books are forthcoming, if it pleases God.)

Above all, my hope is that this effort of mine will bless you and help you in some way. As I alluded to at the top of this page, my life has been a difficult journey in the way of trusting in the love of G-d as revealed in the face of Jesus (2 Cor 4:6). The L-rd G-d of Israel is faithful and good, and I sincerely pray that you will find great comfort and encouragement as you attend to those things that matter most in your own sojourn here on earth.

Tips for Using this Site

With literally thousands of pages of information on this site, you might feel a bit overwhelmed and a bit unsure where to begin. For people new to the study of Hebrew and the Jewish roots of their faith, I would first of all recommend studying my two books: the Introduction to Hebrew text and then A Year Through the Torah.  These books actually complement one another, since what you learn in the Hebrew book will apply to your studies of Torah. The Hebrew book is excellent for both homeschooling as well as adult learning, and I provide audio files, flash card downloads, and other materials to help you learn the language. I would furthermore supplement these studies with regular visits to the Hebrew4Christians site update pages where I regularly add relevant information about the Jewish holidays, the Torah reading for the week -- and how all this applies to our lives as Christians.

Please Consider Supporting this Work

Hebrew4Christians is neither affiliated with nor supported by other organizations. We are not part of a church denomination, a school, a Jewish educational service, or any other group, and therefore we receive no financial assistance other than through occasional book sales and the tzedakah of some faithful supporters.  Of course operating this way is challenging, but it also frees us to offer content that is unique and not predetermined by denominational biases or other agendas.

As an independent ministry, Hebrew4Christians addresses vital theological concerns that most traditional churches (and synagogues) ignore while remaining free to engage in self-questioning and honest exploration of the Scriptures. And unlike some other "Messianic" ministries out there, we remain entirely grace-based, meaning that we do not subscribe to legalism or rituals as the expression of our faith in the finished work of Yeshua for our salvation.

If you believe in the vision of Hebrew for Christians and find the content to be helpful, please prayerfully considering supporting us.  We must "fight the good fight of faith" -- especially in these days of increasing spiritual darkness -- and we can't do this without your help! Thank you, chaverim!

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