Comparing Christianity to Judaism

What the Bible says about God: What Judaism says about God:
There is one true and living God, who exists as three distinct, co-equal, co-eternal persons:  Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Deut. 6:4; John 10:30; Acts 5:3-4; 2 Cor. 13:13; 1 Peter 1:2). God is personal and is to be the only object of worship (Ex. 20:2-3; Isa. 43:10, 44:6; Matt. 4:10). There is one God who is Creator, Deliverer, and Lord of history. He exists in absolute singularity (Deut. 6:4) and therefore is not triune, nor does He exist as more than one distinct person. He is somewhat less personal and more abstract than the God of Christianity. 
What the Bible says about Jesus: What Judaism says about Jesus:
He is the virgin-born Son of God, conceived by the Holy Spirit (Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:18-23; Luke 1:35).  He is the eternal God, the Creator, co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and Holy Spirit (John 1:1-14, 10:30; Col. 1:15-20; Phil. 2:5-11; Heb. 1:1-13). Jesus died for our sins (1 Cor. 15:3), rose physically from the dead (Matt. 12:38-40; Rom. 1:4; 1 Cor. 15:4-8; 1 Peter 1:18-21) and is coming back physically and visibly one day (Matt. 24:29-31; John 14:3; Titus 2:13; Rev. 19:11-16). Judaism rejects Jesus as the Messiah because he did not fulfill the required prophecies, which include worldwide peace, the return of all Jewish exiles to Israel, the cessation of sin, and the acknowledgement of God and the worship of God according to the Jewish religion. Some Jews see Jesus as a humble but insignificant prophet; others, as a fraud; still others as a pagan idol.  
What the Bible says about man: What Judaism says about man:
God created man in His image – with a human spirit, personality and will. A person’s life begins at conception and is everlasting, but not eternal; that is, our lives have no end, but they did have a distinct beginning (Gen. 1:26-28; Ps. 139:13-16). God created man in His image (Gen. 1:26-28). Man does not inherit original sin. Therefore, mankind basically is good, free, and self-determining.
What the Bible says about sin: What Judaism says about sin:
Sin is a violation of God’s perfect and holy standards. All humans are sinners (Rom. 3:10) and are under the curse of sin – spiritual and physical death (Gen. 2:17, 3:17-19; Rom. 3:23, 6:23). Only faith in Christ and His work on our behalf frees us from sin and its consequences (John 3:16, 5:24; Eph. 2:8-9). Sin is seen virtually as criminal behavior. Therefore, most Jews do not see themselves as sinners. Ignorance of God’s law, or refusal to keep the law according to rabbinic tradition, not sin, is man’s biggest problem.


What the Bible says about salvation: What Judaism says about salvation:
Christ’s death at Calvary completely paid our sin debt so that salvation comes by grace alone through faith in the person and work of Jesus (John 3:16, 5:24; Rom. 4:4-5; 1 Cor. 15:1-4; Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:5-7). The solutions to man’s problem – which is either ignorance of God’s law, or refusal to keep the law according to rabbinic tradition – are education and greater effort applied to living moral and disciplined lives. Repentance, good deeds, and prayer take the place of sacrifice.
What the Bible says about the Bible: What Judaism says about the Bible:
The Bible is the inerrant, infallible, inspired Word of God, and is His sole written authority for all people (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21). The Hebrew Bible (Tanakh, or the “Old Testament”), as interpreted by rabbinic tradition, is man’s guide. In practice, rabbinic tradition is more authoritative than Scripture.
What the Bible says about death and the afterlife: What Judaism says about death and the afterlife:
Physical and spiritual deaths come upon all people as a consequence of sin (Gen. 2:17; Rom. 3:23; Eph. 2:1). A person becomes spiritually alive when he or she is “born again” by the Spirit of God (John 3:3-6; Eph. 2:4-5). At physical death, our souls and spirits separate from our bodies [which go into the grave to await resurrection and final judgment] and enter an everlasting state of blessedness [for those born again] or torment [for those who die in their sins] (Luke 16:19-31; 2 Cor. 5:8).  Jews hold a range of views:

  • Orthodox Jews believe in reward in heaven (Garden of Eden) or punishment in hell.
  • Conservative Jews hold to a vague view of the afterlife.
  • Reform Jews deny the existence of life beyond the grave.

Hell is a place of everlasting conscious existence, where the unbeliever is forever separated from God (Matt. 25:46; Luke 16:19-31; Rev. 14:9-11, 20:10).  As for Heaven, all believers have God’s promise of a home in Heaven, will go there instantly upon physical death, and will return with Christ from Heaven to earth one day (John 14:1-3; 2 Cor. 5:8; Rev. 19:14).

Additional Resources:

Download this chart as part of a package of articles on Judaism (PDF)

Copyright 2008 Rob Phillips