Studies in Torah

Deuteronomy 6: We learn God’s ways as we teach them to others

Thought questions

  • What is the difference between “statutes,” “judgments” and “commandments”?
  • When did “Shema!” (Hebrew for “Listen!”) first appear in Deuteronomy, and in what context?
    • What is Moshe (Moses) trying to get across the three times so far it is used?
    • What are the consequences for not following God’s orders, i.e., His commandments?
  • What else does “echad” (often translated as “one”) mean in Deut. 6:4 other than “unity” or “united”?
    • What is meant by “echad” in Gen. 1:5 and Gen. 2:24?
    • Why does Moshe keep repeating that “the LORD is God, and there is no other” as he started saying to this new generation in Deut. 4?
  • What is the root meaning of the Hebrew word translated as “heart” in Deut. 6:5?
    • What is the deep meaning behind the Hebrew word for “soul” in that verse?
      • What are we supposed to “breathe” into ourselves, as suggested by the Hebrew word “nefesh”?
    • What does the Hebrew word for “strength” mean in verse 5?
      • Why would God say we should not hesitate regarding God’s instructions?
    • Where is the first place God’s instructions should enter our lives, as stated in verse 6?
    • What would motivate your heart to love God, to take in the “breath of life” and do it quickly?
  • What is meant by “binding,” “tying” and “writing” the words of God on our hands, foreheads and doorposts?
    • What is significant with our hands, foreheads and doorposts and God’s instructions?
    • What statutes does God want to write on our hearts?
    • What two terms are used over and over again regarding God’s instructions (Deut. 4:8, Deut. 4:14, Deut. 5:31, Deut. 6:1, Deut. 6:20)?
    • What is so important about the entryway of your home to visitors?
    • How about the entryway to your spiritual home, in other words, what they see in the way you live your life in your dealings in the world and in  your household?
    • How should these visitors to our spiritual homes react to what they see?
  • How does God help us remember His statutes, judgments and commands?
    • How do children factor into helping us remember?
  • In Deut. 6:21, Israel is directed to remember God’s deliverance of their ancestors from slavery in Egypt. How is that connected to this discussion of remembering God’s statutes, judgments and commands?
    • How did Israel get enslaved in Egypt?
    • How is that experience likened to our bondage to rebellious behavior against God?
  • If God directed to take oaths in His Name (Deut. 6:13), why did Yeshua (Jesus) teach people not to (Matt. 5:33-37, reiterated by apostle Ya’akov in James 5:12)?
    • Was Yeshua changing the Torah (the first five books of the Bible a.k.a. “the Law”)?
    • What was the punishment for breaking oaths (Lev. 5:4-6)?
    • What does that penalty say about the gravity of taking such an oath in the Name of the LORD?
  • What is meant by Deut. 6:15 in saying God is jealous?
    • How do you keep from “falling into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:31)?
  • How did Israel tempt God (Deut. 6:16) at Massah during the exodus from slavery in Egypt (see Ex. 17:1-5)?
    • Where was Rephadim, mentioned in the account of the rebellion at Massah, in relation to Mt. Sinai, where Israel heard God’s commandments?
    • How does Ex. 17:7 reveal how God was tempted?
    • How does God’s personal Name (transliterated in English as YHWH) answer Israel’s question of whether God was with them?
  • Are we supposed to talk about the meaning of the statutes, judgments and commands only during the “four questions” during the Passover seder (program)?
    • What really matters in the story of the exodus of Israel from Egypt, more than leaning one way or the other or dipping vegetables in salt water, which weren’t commanded?


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