Bible Reading Plan for 2020-2021 (5781)

A Statenbijbel (States Bible), Paulus Aertsz. van Ravesteyn, Leiden, 1637. The Word of God – the Bible – is at the heart of the Dutch Reformed faith. In 1619 the States General, the Netherlands’ highest governing body, commissioned a new, ‘pure’ translation, which for use in every church. That is why this Bible is called the “States Bible.” The translation took eighteen years, with every word is subject to lengthy debate, before publication in in 1637. (Riksmuseum, Amsterdam, item NG-536.)

What is the longest running and largest Bible study in human history? That is one way to describe the Torah reading cycle that Jews around the world have followed for many centuries. Every year, Jewish families and congregations read through the five books of Moses (Torah), along with selected portions from other books of the Hebrew scriptures (the Tanakh, or Old Testament).

There are many advantages to this way of studying the Bible, such as creating the identity of a “global Jewish congregation” that transcends national, doctrinal, cultural, and ethnic barriers. Any Jew from any country can enter a synagogue in any other country on any Shabbat and know what Torah portion they are studying. Imagine what that has done to preserve Jewish identity during the centuries of exile to every corner of the earth – and how it has strengthened the nations as the scattered Jewish people have returned to the Promised Land of Israel!

Why can’t Christians, Messianic, and Hebrew Roots believers do the same? Why not adopt the Jewish Torah reading cycle, and add to it all the Apostolic Writings (New Testament) and other portions of the Tanakh not included in the cycle? What would it do to our unity as followers of Messiah Yeshua, and to our shared spiritual heritage with our Jewish brethren?

That is the motivation behind this reading plan. Starting with the Torah and Haftarah annual cycle, this plan for the Hebrew year 5781 (2020-2021) incorporates readings from  the rest of the Tanakh and Apostolic Writings into a daily plan that covers the entire Bible over the course of the year. If you are in search of an organized approach to the Word of God, maybe this can help.  Whatever you do, please do get into the Word so that it can get into you!