Teaching the WORD: Life Instruction Manual

Fr. Christino R. Pine, OFM
An Abstract

The word Torah is commonly translated as “Law.”  However, it could be more appropriately understood and referred to as “Teaching” or “Instruction.”  This is so because in terms of its content, the Torah is composed of both stories and law codes – designed to communicate divine instruction to human community.  The law codes guided the Israelites on how to live well in the world amidst the struggles they faced as a people.  Stories inspired them to hope for a better tomorrow.  On the one hand, the Torah contains the stories of creation, of patriarchs, of liberation from slavery and of a period of wandering in the wilderness.  On the other hand, the Torah also contains the important law codes: the Covenant Code (Ex. 20:22–23:32 ), the Holiness Code (Lev. 17:1–26:46) and Deuteronomic Code (Dt. 12:1–26:19).  It is in the desert where the stories and law codes seem to meet.  The law codes are proclaimed not inside the palace but either in Sinai or in the wilderness.  They are not proclaimed by a king but by a prophet called Moses.  It is in the desert where the divine word is found expressed through the human words of a prophet, conveying an underlying message that the Law is always greater than the monarchy.  An analysis of Dt. 6:4-9 will show that the instructions which this text contains are the greatest of all the divine instructions given by God through Moses.      

Fr. Christino R. Pine, OFM

is a member of the Order of Friars Minor in the Philippine Province of San Pedro Bautista.  He is a Bible Exegete who obtained his Licentiate Degree in Biblical Science at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome, Italy.  He also has an M. A. Degree in Pastoral Ministry and an M. A. Degree in Educational Management.  He is a professor of Scripture and Biblical Languages at St. Vincent School of Theology – Adamson University, CICM Maryhill School of Theology and Our Lady of the Angels Seminary – College.  He is presently the Secretary of the Catholic Biblical Association of the Philippines.  His book, Living Word on Breathing Earth: Biblical Insights and Reflections on Creation (Claretian Publications), was awarded as the “Best Book in Spirituality” during the 2019 Cardinal Sin Book Awards.

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