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Simchat Torah

This coming week, our family will be joining in on the traditional Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah, which means “Rejoicing in the Torah.”

As Wikipedia explains, this holiday celebrates the completion of another year of reading through the Torah. A Torah-reading schedule was instituted in the days of Ezra, after the return from the Babylonian captivity. The people of God were resolved to never again disregard the laws of God so that He would have to again send them into exile.

Each Sabbath, the members of a synagogue would read portions from the Torah (the five books of Moses, or Genesis through Deuteronomy) aloud so that all the people would be familiar with God’s laws.

We can read about how Jesus participated in this weekly reading in Luke 4:16-21.

We know that the apostles followed this reading schedule in the early church and used it to train new, Gentile believers.

“Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God:  But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.  For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.” (Acts 15:19-21)

The beauty of each person in a congregation reading together is that when they meet together, they now have something to talk about! They are learning together and growing together.

You can click here to download the schedule that we use in our home. We aim to read through the week’s portion by Saturday, starting on the next portion on Sunday. It’s wonderful to be reading the same thing other believers are! There are five portions to read each week, from various parts of the Bible. I try to read one each day, and I have an extra day or two to catch up if I fall behind. (Some weeks I catch up on Saturday!)

>> Update: Download the 2010-2011 Bible reading schedule here.

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