Torah Vs. Bible: What is the main difference?

An interesting concern was raised by some members of my congregation who wondered if the Torah and the Bible could be used interchangeably. As a pastor, I had to illustrate the demarcation between the two books from a theologian’s perspective. For this reason, I felt the need to share my insights and understanding with you regarding the topic ‘Torah Vs. Bible: What is the main difference?’

The Torah and the Bible are holy scriptures referenced in Judaism and Christianity. According to the Jews, Moses authored the Torah. According to Christians, the Bible had several authors divinely inspired by God.

The article will shed light on the differences and similarities between the Torah and the Bible. It will include the exploration of various scriptures. Get on board with me as we delve into this subject without further ado.

Torah Vs. Bible: Difference in the definition

Torah Vs. Bible
Torah Vs. Bible. Image source: Pixabay


The term ‘Torah’ originates from a Hebrew verb meaning ‘to teach’ or ‘to guide.’ Therefore, it is a book of doctrine. The Torah refers to the Five Books of Moses, known as the Pentateuch. These are the preliminary books of the Jewish scriptures. The Torah is used in the synagogues by Orthodox Jews as the framework of Jewish law. It is the holiest and most sacred text in Judaism.


The term ‘Bible’ originates from the Greek word biblios, which means ‘book.’ The Bible is a canonical collection of 66 holy and sacred books. It contains two sections: The Old Testament and The New Testament scriptures. The Old Testament contains 39 books narrating the lives of the Jews, the prophets, and the promise of a Messiah. The New Testament contains 27 books documenting the life of Jesus Christ the Messiah, righteous Christian living, and the Apocalypse. It is a reference to faith by Christians and Messianic Jews.

Differences between Torah and Bible

The holy Bible. Image source: Pixabay

There are several differences between the Torah and the Bible.


The Torah was originally written in Hebrew only, while the Bible is in several languages, which are Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic. The Torah has translations in over 70 languages, whereas the Bible has over 2,000 translations following the Protestant Reformation.


The Torah is the focal sacred manuscript in Judaism. The Bible is the focal sacred text in Christianity. The Torah refers to the sacred scripture of the Jews. The Bible refers to the holy scripture of the Christians.


The Torah is handwritten on a scroll and is only available in two versions. These include the Jewish Torah for the Jews and the Samaritan Torah for the Samaritans. The Bible is printed and is available in numerous versions. These include the King James Version, the Good News Translation, the New Revised Standard Version, etc.

Reading practices

Rabbis read the Torah to the congregation in the synagogues once every three days. They do so in a specific tune during a ceremony that begins with presenting the scroll, chanting, and returning it. In contrast, although the clergy reads the Bible to the congregation in church, there is no official ceremony. Additionally, Christians are encouraged to read the Bible at home.


The Torah teaches that salvation is via obedience to the Jewish law. Therefore, it places the responsibility of sins on the individual himself. In addition, the blessings for obedience and the consequences for disobedience have an impact in today’s world and not in the futuristic realm. Moses informs the Jews in Deuteronomy 28:15-68 that the consequences of disobedience include suffering, hunger, desolateness, dispersion, and slavery within the nations. Deuteronomy 28:1-14 asserts that if they repent of their sins, they will receive a restoration of their blessings in this world.

The Bible teaches that salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ . The believer repents and puts his hope in the Messiah for the atonement of sins. According to Ephesians 1:13, people receive salvation and become God’s people through the Good News and their faith in Christ. According to Ephesians 2:8-9, the scriptures affirm that salvation is the Almighty’s gift, not through an individual’s efforts. Furthermore, Christians comprehend that salvation is eternal, as portrayed in John 3:16, where God sent His only Son to save the world for believers to gain eternal life.

Similarities between Torah and Bible

Torah Vs. Bible
Torah and Bible similarities. Image source: Pixabay

There is an overlap between the Torah and the Bible in the sense that the Torah is essentially the Bible’s first five books in the Old Testament, i.e., Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Christianity emanated from Judaism. Thus, the two have various similarities. The Torah and the Bible are guidebooks used by faith groups. In addition, both are holy books that form the foundations of the religions. Both equally illustrate the affiliation between God and humanity. The Torah and the Bible entail adhering to a righteous way of life through a code of morals, laws, and religious obligations. Both contain historical chronicles, how each religion emerged, and how adherents should conduct their lives.

Is the Bible older than the Torah?

Moses was the author of the Torah in the 6th-5th century BCE. The Bible had its authorship over 3,500 years ago. The Old Testament includes the Torah, which technically means the Torah and Old Testament had concurrent authorships. However, the Torah is more ancient due to the New Testament written in the AD era. Therefore, the Torah is older than the Bible.

Leave a Comment