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Torah cycle and then some

Q: We study the Torah chapter by chapter, but the rest of the Bible is only presented in random selections.  Do we ever study the rest of the books as a whole?

A: The cycle of the Torah readings is a fixed cycle. It is something that has bound the Jewish community together for many centuries. While there is a three-year cycle that would read through the entire Torah in 3 years, the more traditional cycle is an annual reading. The additional reading from the Tanakh, called the Haftarah, (not half-Torah), is a reading that has been linked to the particular Torah portion. In most cases, these portions were linked together during a time when the Jewish people were not permitted to study the Torah. So they read and studied a portion from the somewhere else in the Old Testament that somehow related. Once the Torah was allowed to be studied again, the additional reading stuck, and so we have the Torah cycle.
As believers in Messiah, we are obligated to also read a portion from the B’rit Hadashah, the New Testament. Those portions are selected based on connectivity to either the Torah portion, the Haftarah portion, or both. But there is no fixed portion. It is easily changed based on how the Holy Spirit leads. Of course, they are all open to the leading of the Holy Spirit, and can be adjusted as the leader sees fit, but this would be a break from the rest of the community.
The reading or studying of other books as a whole is something that has been done before during Shabbat services, and I would not rule it out in the future. However, that type of study is best handled in the context of a havurah, a small group fellowship or bible study. It really requires an interaction between people that is not easily facilitated during Shabbat services. It is my hope that in the very near future we will be able to launch our small group program, which has been plagued with obstacles since it was announced at the beginning of this year. Persistence will be our ally in the end, and everything will come to pass in God’s perfect timing.

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