Did Moses Write the Pentateuch?

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Did Moses Write the Pentateuch?
Niambi Bulluck Tillman

There is a widely held position amongst conservative Christians that Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible. This work is the inspired Word of God, given to Moses as a form of record and instruction. These books: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy are referred to at the Pentateuch. In opposition to the conservative Christian is a more liberal mindset that believes Moses did not write these books. The liberal view often maintains that these books are a work compiled by numerous writers over an extended period of time. The conservative Christian view holds to Mosaic authorship and treats the Pentateuch as a unit. This doesn’t mean Moses didn’t use other documents as references to write his books. He obviously did. But since other Old Testament authors affirm Mosaic authorship, as do numerous New Testament authors, the Bible as a whole crumbles if Moses is not the author of the Pentateuch. There is overwhelming evidence confirming Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch including: Moses’ qualifications by way of his up-bringing and education, Old Testament references to Mosaic authorship, and the testimony of Jesus Christ in the New Testament.

From a human perspective, Moses seemingly lived a charmed life filled with much Godly favor. He was after all rescued from the river as a baby and brought up in Pharoah’s house, and was “learned in all wisdom of the Egyptians” (Acts 7:22). Growing up in this environment, Moses would have been exposed to and educated in language and literature. That also means he would have learned how to write. He would have learned Egyptian language and the languages of the other nations that associated with Egypt. Moses also would have been exposed to the natural world and medicine, and most importantly to rhetoric and warfare. These skills would account for his abilities in the art of speaking and persuasion, also, his military commander training in strategy, tactics, organization, etc. All of these skills he was able to be blessed with served him when he was leading the children of Israel out of Egypt. With all this education, he was certainly capable of writing the Pentateuch. Growing up in that atmosphere, he would have had access to several libraries and the Hebrews had carefully preserved records of their origins. Moses had forty years in Egypt to research things and another forty years in Midian to really think things over. Because of all this, Moses was educated enough to compose the Pentateuch, and he even declared himself the author of the law in the Old Testament scriptures Exodus 24:4, Number 33:2 and Deuteronomy 31:9, 22.

There are several other Old Testament passages in the Bible that confirm Moses is the author of its first five books. Passages in the Pentateuch itself include: Exodus 17:14, “The Lord instructed Moses, ‘Write down all these instructions for they represent the terms of my covenant with you and with Israel,’ “; Leviticus 1:1, “The Lord called Moses from the tabernacle and said to him, ‘Give the following instructions to the Israelites...’ “; Leviticus 6:8, “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Give Aaron and his sons the following instruction...’ “; and, in Deuteronomy 31: 24-26, “When Moses had finished writing down this entire body of the law in a book...” These are just a few passages that confirm Moses is the author. A great common sense question comes to mind, if Moses is not the author, why is his name mentioned so much? Much of the work that Moses did is even referred to in the New Testament.

There are several New Testament passages all throughout the Gospels that make evident Moses was indeed the author of the Pentateuch. Most importantly the matter of this issue of authorship is once and for all resolved by the testimony of Jesus Christ. Jesus made it clear that Moses wrote these books in verses Mark 7:10, 10:3-5, 12:26; Luke 5:14, 16:29-31, 24:27, 44;...
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