Reading the Bible with Community Bible Study (CBS) has led me to believe that the Bible is truly God’s Word.  I was raised in an observant Jewish home. My faith has grown year after year as I study the Bible. There is no question in my mind that the Bible, Old Testament and New Testament, is the written Word of our Father in Heaven.

I was sent to a Hebrew school for the first 13 years of my life.  I can read, write and pray in Hebrew but I never knew what most of what I was taught meant in English, until I came to CBS and realised that the prayers I had learned were biblical.  It was then I began a quest to translate the Hebrew prayers into English and to find them in the Old Testament.

Most importantly, I was exposed to the New Testament through CBS.  When I first came to CBS in 2012, I did not believe the New Testament was scripture.  My class was studying the gospel of John. This is a difficult place for a Jewish person to begin reading the New Testament!  Most of what is said in the other books of the New Testament can be quickly substantiated from the Old Testament but this is not my experience with the gospel of John.  The most difficult scripture of all for me was:

Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me.’ John 14:6-7 (NKJV).

I did not believe this.  I didn’t believe in heaven and hell.  I didn’t believe Satan was real. The only reason I was at CBS for the first 18 months was because God sent me.  He was clear with me that He wanted me there. When I tried to ignore the conviction, it became stronger. When I came home after class and complained to God that I was being hypocritical by studying the gospel of John with these Christians because they truly believed it and I did not, He told me that I was to keep attending.  I made excuses to myself, my Jewish friends and my family saying it was strictly an academic endeavour.

By the second year my CBS class was studying Isaiah.  I was much more comfortable with the book of Isaiah than I was with the gospel of John, simply because it was Old Testament and I believed it was scripture.  As we got into Isaiah others in the class were seeing Jesus in the text but I was not!

In my third year studying with CBS, my class studied the book of Acts.  I still wasn’t convinced that the New Testament was scripture. I still didn’t believe that Jesus was God.  In studying the book of Acts I went on Paul’s journey with him. I am a global citizen and legally trained. I am Jewish.  I was raised in a Jewish home in a Jewish community. I related to Paul. I am a better Jew now that I have studied the Bible with CBS.  I read most of the New Testament that year. When we got to a chapter in Acts which related to one of Paul’s letters, I read the letter too.  I knew that if I accepted that the New Testament was scripture, I couldn’t pick and choose which parts I believed. Somewhere in this journey I began to believe that the New Testament was Scripture because I believed what Paul said, like so many Jewish people before me.  The hardest verse was still:

Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me.’ John 14:6-7 (NKJV).

As a Jewish person, I had a relationship with God that was real and meaningful.  It took a long time to understand this scripture and longer still to accept it. I have now accepted it.  I do believe now that Jesus is the Messiah. I was baptised in the Jordan River in April 2018.

Michelle Smith 2018

Photo by Ben Ostrower on Unsplash