I’m about to make a sales pitch to you or maybe rather a plea. I have an offer that you really shouldn’t refuse. I will personally stand behind and guarantee this offer as it is backed by an extended lifetime warranty. Not to mention (though I’m about to), I have all the leverage in the world on my side. What I’m about to offer will make you smarter, give you discernment, make you wise unto salvation, correct your errors, equip you for life’s ups and downs, and make you better looking (ok, I added the last benefit-I can’t promise that one). What is this master-plan that I have to offer? Why am I so confident in its ability? How much could something like this cost? What’s the catch?
Let’s review the ?’s once more for clarity and I’ll give you the short answers:
What is the offer? I’m talking about The Word of God aka The Bible aka The Good Book aka Scripture aka The Sword (who doesn’t want to have and know how to use a sword?).
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12 ESV)
Why are you so confident in its ability? “so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11 ESV)
How much is it? It’s FREE!!! You probably even have a couple of different versions lying around the house. If not and you’re reading this just look it up on google or click on one of the links below.
What’s the catch? You. You’re the catch. It doesn’t have to cost you anything monetarily speaking but it will need your time, energy and effort to begin to unlock its teaching and mysteries.
Stay with me for a minute as I unpack some additional instructions below that have been helpful to me.
Yesterday, in synagogues across the world, the Torah scroll was rolled back to the beginning of B’resheet (Genesis). A new weekly reading cycle of the Torah has begun and will culminate by Rosh Hashannah 2012. The Jewish people have had a structured reading plan for the Torah (Five Books of Moses) dating back to at least the time of Ezra (Nehemiah 8:1) and possibly King Josiah (2 Kings 22:8-23:3). On each week, beginning with Sunday and ending on the Sabbath (Saturday), synagogues across the world are reading and studying from the same portion of Scripture. Judaism has a foundational Bible reading plan that has been established for 2,500 years. Look into it! From experience, there is a synergistic like feeling to know that when you’re following this ancient reading cycle of the Torah that there are millions of other people reading and studying the same words, at the same time as you are.
(In classic sales pitch voice) But wait there’s more! In addition to the weekly Torah readings, there is another weekly portion of Scripture that is taken from the Prophets called the Haftarah, which means completion. The weekly Haftarah portion relates to the weekly Torah portion. Now the Torah and Haftarah reading plan would be a great foundation for anyone who is looking to start a Bible reading plan from the beginner to the most serious students of Scripture.
Here’s an extra Bonus!!! For believers in Yeshua the Messiah or those who are searching out those claims it gets even better. In addition to the Hebrew Bible (Genesis-2 Chronicles), we also get the teachings of the Apostles (Matthew-Revelation), most commonly called the New Testament or B’rit Hadashah in Hebrew. The Messianic Jewish community has also included relevant sections from the Apostolic Writings that fit with the weekly Torah and Haftarah readings. There are also some others making it a focus to study the Gospel accounts of Yeshua along with the normal weekly synagogue readings. After all, the Torah and Gospels are the foundations of our faith!
Whether you adopt this style of reading/study plan, something similar or create your own, the most important thing is to be immersed and washed in the Word as frequently as possible. Also, make it a point to study with family and friends along with some good commentary. They will all open up worlds and dimensions in the Bible that you never even knew existed before. Very cool stuff awaits you my friend!
Now is a great time to start and there is not a better place to begin, than well, at the beginning!
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:1-3 ESV)
Here are some ***FREE*** resources that would be helpful on your journey this year:
http://www.biblestudytools.com/cjb/ – This is an online version of Dr. David H. Stern’s Complete Jewish Bible. (This has been my top study Bible translation since 2008).
http://www.esvbible.org/ – Online version of the English Standard Version. Modern language and reading style.
http://www.blueletterbible.org/ – Online Bible resource site that has many different versions and commentaries.
http://ffoz.org/ – First Fruits of Zion (FFOZ) is a Messianic Jewish educational ministry dedicated to proclaiming the Torah and its way of life, fully centered on Messiah, to today’s people of God.
http://torahportions.org/ – Torah PORTIONS is a ministry resource of First Fruits of Zion intended to make the weekly Torah portion accessible for everyone.
http://yeshuaincontext.com/ – Derek Leman is a rabbi in Atlanta, Georgia. YeshuaInContext.com is about the life and message of Yeshua (Jesus) based on the books, eBooks, audiobooks, podcast and other resources by Derek Leman. Yeshua in Context is a place to find information and inspiration related to the aims and identity of Yeshua. It is a place for beginners as well as inquirers and ongoing learners. (You can also email Derek at firstname.lastname@example.org to get subscribed to his Daily D’var – commentary on the Torah and Gospels).
http://www.flamefoundation.org/parashiot.html – FLAME Foundation is committed to the development of quality educational materials for use in Messianic Jewish settings.
http://www.aish.com/tp/ – Aish’s educational philosophy is that Judaism is not all or nothing; it is a journey where every step counts, to be pursued according to one’s own pace and interest. Mitzvot (commandments) are not rituals, but opportunities for personal growth, to be studied and understood. We learn the Torah’s wisdom to enrich our own lives, and to share these ideas with all humanity.
May grace and shalom be multiplied upon you in the name of Yeshua the Messiah!