“With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. …Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.” – Psalm 119:10-11,18
“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” – Joshua 1:8

For thousands of years, Jewish people have had a tradition of reading the Bible in a special way. This method is marked once a year in a holiday called Simchat Torah (שמחת תורה) meaning “Rejoicing with the Torah” which is celebrated this week. At this time, the annual cycle of reading the Bible begins again, from Genesis. But there is more to this reading technique than meets the eye.

The celebration of a new cycle of the annual public Torah reading is connected to an ancient Jewish method for Biblical studies. In Jewish communities all around the world, the Bible is being studied in a very unique way – together! The term for this learning method is called Havruta.
What is Havruta? Havruta (חברותא) refers to the traditional rabbinic approach of studying the Scripture in pairs. It is the Aramaic word for friendship or companionship. The root of the word ח.ב.ר (haver) means "friend" and "attachment" even in today's Modern Hebrew. This method allows students to enjoy analyzing, discussing, and debating the ideas of the text together, which is much more interesting and effective than studying alone.

When is the last time you read through the complete Bible? How can this method revolutionize the way you read the Bible? Maybe this fall, you can begin a cycle of reading. No matter how long it takes you to read all 66 books of the Christian Bible, you will be blessed, and God will be blessed!

Heavenly Father, Who through the power of the Holy Spirit caused all holy scripture to be written for our learning – we pray that we would diligently study Your word – read, mark, learn and inwardly digest all that You have graciously provided for us – so that we may come to a knowledge of salvation and Your will for our lives. Open the eyes of our understanding and prepare our hearts by the power of Your Spirit - that we may receive Your word with much joy and rejoicing and may we leave tonight having a deeper understanding of Who You are. May we like Job (Job 23:12) wonder at Your glory and majesty as we unfold the precious truths that are contained within its pages and may we cry like him – I have heard of You with my ears but now You opened my eyes to spiritual truths and understanding that I never had before – this we ask in the precious name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Oct 4 2018