The First Five Books of the Bible were considered to be from Moses. While modern scholars note that there are at least four distinct contributing influences, for Orthodox Jews, these books hold pride of place in the Jewish canon of scriptures as the Mosaic Law, or Torah. It is from these books that the Pharisees drew their quotes concerning "the law" in the New Testament. It is against this obedience to all the prescriptions and adaptations of the law that Paul warned the community in Galatia about following (cf. Gal.3.1-24). Yet this law should not be considered to be void (cf. Mt. 5.17) nor should it be seen as sinful and harmful to the gospel (cf. Rom. 7.7-12). It was from these Sacred Scriptures that Jesus drew His strength to defeat the temptations of the Devil (cf. Mt 4; Dt. 8.3, Dt. 6.16, 6.13). The Mosaic law is where the Church finds her foundation of moral theology, and indeed, the core laws (the Ten Commandments in Ex. 20 and Dt. 5) all have their affirmation in the teachings of the Apostles (cf. Eph. 4, Gal. 5, Jas. 4.2-4, I Pt. 4.1-3). Furthermore, these books set the foundation of the covenant God made with a certain people, through the faith of Abraham, whose act of faith justified him (cf. Rom 4). It is from here that we have the institution of the Passover meal (Exodus 12.1-14), a foreshadowing of the sacrifice (Gen 22.6-8) that would be sanctified and glorified in the sacrifice of the Lamb of God (cf. John 1-2).
The verses included here have served as inspirations for the Church Fathers on into early times. The selection from Genesis lay the foundation for Blessed Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body. The selection from Exodus has provided the philosophical basis for Theologians ability to speak of God as being itself, rather than the divine being perceived as an anthropomorphic manifestation. This profound statement of God as Being would precede Plato's concept of a transcendent being that is all good by 1500 years. The selection from Leviticus is familiar to most Christians as a form of the second half of the two greatest commandments mentioned by Jesus (Mt 22.39). This again serves to remind us that the Old Testament was not negated by Jesus but rather was fulfilled and perfected. The selection from Numbers illustrates how the people of God have complained, but also show a prefigurement of Christ in the Eucharist (cf. Jn 6..32-35) as well as Jesus' crucifixion (cf. Jn 3.14-15). The selection from Deuteronomy is perhaps one of the oldest prayers in the Jewish faith, and certainly for the Christian faith. It is known as the Shema from the first words of the Scripture. This prayer is repeated by Orthodox Jews five times a day, and it is the verse of scripture that they have in the tiny black boxes that they bind to their arms and their foreheads when they pray. The Catholic Church to this day has continued a version of this prayer by having every priest, religious brothers and sisters, pray these verses every Saturday night for Complines (or Night Prayer). It is known to most people as the basis for the Greatest Commandment of Jesus (Mt. 22.37-38).
Genesis 1.26-27: Then God said, “Let us make man in Our image, after Our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” So God created man in His own image; male and female He created them.
Related Verses; Genesis 2.23-25; Psalm 8.3-9; Matthew 19.4-6; Mark 10.6-9
Exodus 3.13-14: Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.”
Related Verses; Genesis 1.1-2; Isaiah 45.5-6, John 1.1; John 4.25-26; John 6.48, 51; John 8.58-59; John 10.11
Leviticus 19.17-18: You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason with your neighbor, lest you bear sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance or bear any grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I AM the LORD
Related Verses; Genesis 4.9-12; Matthew 5.22-24; Matthew 22.39; Luke 10.25-37; I John 2.-8-11
Numbers 21.4-9: From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the people became impatient on the way. And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, we loathe this worthless food [the manna]. Then the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. And the people came to Moses, and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” So Moses made a bronze serpent, and set it on a pole; and if a serpent bit any man, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.
Related Verses: Exodus 16.1-36; Numbers 16.1-32; John 3.14-15; John 6.31-33; I Corinthians 10.10;
Deuteronomy 6.4-7: Hear O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord! Therefore you shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words which I command you this day shall be upon thy heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
Related Verses; Matthew 22.37-38; Mark 12.28-30; I Corinthians 8.6; Ephesians 4.5-6; I Colossians 1.15-17; Timothy 2.5; James 2.19