The concept of grace rooted in the Torah, not the NT

Exodus 33:12–13, Grace. (Heb. chen meaning “favor, grace, charm, acceptance”). The Hebrew word chen (found 69 times in the Tanakh), which is translated as grace, in this verse is equivalent to the Greek word charis, which is found 156 times in the Testimony of Yeshua and is translated as grace 130 times in the KJV.

The equivalency of these two words is confirmed by the translators of the Septuagint (the Greek Tanakh) who used charis in place of chen when translating the Hebrew Tanakh into Greek beginning in the third century B.C. According to the TWOT, in the vast majority of occurrences of chen in the Tanakh, the focus of attention is not on the giver, but on the recipient. The emphasis is on the relationship of the superior to an inferior (e.g., a king to his subjects). What this teaches us is that despite sin and rebellion against him, YHVH (the king) is gracious (to humans, his subjects).

Contrary to what many in the church have been led to believe, the grace of Elohim is a very prominent theme in the Tanakh. Examples of this include Noah who found grace in YHVH’s eyes (Gen 6:8), or the children of Israel although dead in their sins in Egypt and deserving of YHVH’s wrath, they were saved by the blood of the lamb. There are a number of other references to the grace of Elohim in the Tanakh as well (Gen 18:3; Exod 3:21; 33:16,17; 34:9; Ps 84:11; Zech 12:10).


8 thoughts on “The concept of grace rooted in the Torah, not the NT

  1. I’m under the impression that the church gets grace when it refers to salvation in that it is by grace alone which is written in the testimony of Yeshua. They are not even thinking of the grace found in the Torah, which they feel they don’t need to keep. It’s all about salvation for them(most) and they are sticking with it. Thanks for sharing, Shalom my brother Natan.

    • Yes Christians are thinking of Grace in the Torah. Torah grace is how Sh’aul explains to Gentiles their roles in God’s Kingdom. Jewish people have a vocational role unique to Jews only. But under Yeshua, we have equal right standing before God (thanks to the works of Yeshua). Israel is essential in the salvation of the nations.

  2. Grace, graceful, gaceous, it all sounds a bit like willows in the wind to me. Isn’t there a more concrete deffinition in Hebrew? I’ve thought that grace is about power. We enter by faith, a real choice to follow. Then grace is the gift that enables us to obey and walk it. By grace I am saved, through faith. Have I got it wrong?

    • I share your frustration, Vicki. I often desire more concrete and tangible definitions for Hebrew words than what the lexicons give as well. It seems often that they are defining these Hebrew words more from a Greek-thinking perspective than a Hebraic one. I have the best lexicons at my disposal, and I can only work with what I have. If better ones come out, I will get them and use them.

      • Titus 2:11 is a great definition of Grace.

        “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.” – ESV

        Free gift of Salvation first. Then learning to walk in godliness, then being patient in well doing – waiting for His return.

      • Right on! I like this. This scripture lists the two aspects of grace/karis: redemption from sin/free unmerited pardon AND the free gift of divine enablement to now go forward and to live in Torah-based righteousness.

  3. Natan, I notice that “chen” is mentioned above. How would “chesed” fit into the “Grace” you are referring to? Thank you……….

    • Look up the Hebrew words chen and chesed in a good biblical lexicon and share with us their definitions and how they’re used in the Tanakh, and then we can go from there.

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