By Lanell Downs Smith
Correspondent, The Alabama Baptist
Like a jigsaw puzzle without the corner pieces the Christian faith is incomplete without an understanding of how the thread of salvation is woven through the Bible. This is why Rabbi Jeff Friedlander, founder of Be One Ministries, seeks to help Christians deepen their faith by studying its foundation in the Old Testament.
“There is a great desire of those in the body of Messiah to try and expand the knowledge base and understand Scriptures by a return to original foundations,” said Friedlander.
“Jesus and the disciples were all Torah believing Jews. The gospel was communicated through a Hebraic mindset. When you read the New Testament you see that Paul’s writings are the words of a first century rabbi who is not trying to distance himself from Judaism but is trying to make Judaism line up with the gospel.”
Be One Ministries teaches the Torah, the law of God as revealed to Moses and recorded in the first five books of the Hebrew Scriptures (the Pentateuch), in the context of the New Testament and a Jewish Messiah for the nations.
“We take the approach of reading the Bible from Genesis to Revelation,” said Friedlander. “We push forward and build upon it rather than beginning at the back of the book and just jumping into the Old Testament and pulling out some ideas. You can’t really understand the book of Galatians unless you study the book of Leviticus.”
Friedlander and his wife, Sherri, seek to help believers become one through the idea of Jew and Gentile together as branches of one tree, rooted in the Jewish faith.
Be One seminars focus on biblical marriage, essential oils and the Bible and the Hebraic way, a two-day conference teaching Hebraic thinking. According to Friedlander, Hebraic thinking builds upon the instruction of the local church, helping Christians to realize the value of the Old Testament lessons.
John 17:20–21 are key verses for Be One Ministries showing believers how Jesus prayed Jews and Gentiles would be one and they would lead others to Him.
“We want to be a voice for unity, to speak to what is the biblical way of walking out your faith,” said Friedlander. “We want to get people back to reading the Scriptures and rallying around them.”
Gail Deavers and Leigh Anne Moorhead, members of NorthPark Baptist Church, Trussville, attend a weekly Be One Bible study called Real Time Torah, which offers ancient wisdom for modern living and teaches Jewish history and culture to help put Scripture into context.
Deavers said the approach has given her a better understanding of the Bible from start to finish.
“I know the back of the book but now my ending has a beginning,” Deavers said. “Everything in the Bible has Yeshua (Jesus) written all over it. Knowing that makes me want to study more.”
“It has given me a richer experience for the Lord realizing that these things we have identified as belonging only to the Jews belong to all believers,” she said. “It was a piece of the Christian faith that I had been missing.”
Helping Christians deepen their faith and learn to disciple others continue to be essentials of the Christian faith, Friedlander said.
“Teaching the Torah was the discipleship method to the Gentiles of the first century,” he said. “Early disciples taught it to new believers every week. We want to disciple people through those things. It’s never about works salvation. It’s grace by faith. That’s how you’re saved.”
Be One events are held in the Birmingham area. Videos of the Bible studies are available on the website, BeOneToday.com. The Strong Road Radio Show airs each Sunday morning and can be accessed live on Facebook or through podcasts on the website.
Be One also coordinates the Hebraic Institute, a 12-week seminar for those who seek more in-depth study of Hebrew teachings.
The ministry celebrates traditional Jewish holidays like Passover, Shavuot (Pentecost) and Shabbat (the Sabbath). They offer Israel tours and hope to add online classes in 2020.
“Our job is to equip the people so they can go back to their congregation and be more mature believers, be a blessing to their pastor and congregation and to live a more faithful life,” Friedlander said. “We are a support ministry to help churches, to encourage and inspire and to help to equip the local congregation.”