Exploring God’s Library 2022-2023 Bible Reading Calendar

Greetings fellow Bible Readers!!

Our EGL2022-2023 #BibleReading journey begins  on October 22, 2022  using the Exploring God’s Library Reading Calendar. You’re welcome to join us whether this be your first time reading the Bible or your 50th. You’ll not be on this journey alone, but if you would like will be in a group reading the Bible for the next 51 weeks. 

Here’s the link to the Exploring God’s Library 2022-2023 Bible Reading Calendar.


Exploring God’s Library One year reading calendar is a bit different from other Bible reading calendars in that it commences in the fall according to an ancient Jewish reading regimen of the Torah which begins anew each year following the fall feast known as the Feast of Tabernacles. It is different though in that it also contains daily readings from the Old Testament historic books and Prophets, the Psalms, Proverbs and readings from the New Testament.

It takes approximately 20 minutes a day to read the select sections. It is not a straight through the Bible read from Genesis to Revelation, rather it systematically reads through the Torah, also known as the Pentateuch, the Historic Books, Prophets, the Wisdom literature, Proverbs, Psalms for devotion, and a section of the New Testament.

We are very excited as it is the first time that we know of where  all the Holy Scriptures are portioned out in tandem with Jewish Torah Parashat so that the entire Bible is read through, with the exception of the Psalms which will be read twice through. The Hebrew Parashat has been used by the Jewish community since the Babylonian captivity which allows everyone to be on the same page in their reading of the Holy Scriptures providing for rich discussion in the community of faith.

The calendar we use is the western calendar, but it also lists appropriate holydays from the Hebrew Calendar as well as the Christian calendar for those who come from the various Christian and Messianic traditions. Each holy day will have Scripture surrounding that special day or week.

The calendar changes slightly every year and notes the holy days as they occur. Our family and neighbors come from many backgrounds, some are Jewish, some are Christian, some are Orthodox,  some celebrate Christmas on different dates

The Exploring God’s Library Reading Calendar enables us to plan and be aware of one another’s religious calendar in the Jewish and Messianic and Christian communities which celebrate certain days with great solemnity such Yom Kippur and Passover and others with great joy like Christmas or Resurrection week, or Feast of Tabernacles for 8 days.

If you have any comments, criticism or praise, or suggestion on the EGL reading please keep it kind, constructive and Biblical.  You may either post it here or send an email to James and Elizabeth Stephens re:EGL 2022-2023 Bible Reading Calendar exploringgodslibrary@gmail.com.

You may also wish to subscribe to our Exploring God’s Library Facebook group which enables you to join us on Tuesday evenings for a one hour coaching session from 6-7 pm Pacific Standard Time (Los Angeles, California) based on that week’s readings. Note: we are presently having difficulties with FB live, but you can access it daily as we do post the daily reading and supplementary materials.

Please Subscribe here to the private EGL FB Group.   https://www.facebook.com/groups/1871385569648323/?ref=share

If you are unable to attend the session because of time differences or if you are not on Facebook, we will also post it on the Exploring God’s Library YouTube  channel. We recommend that everyone subscribe to the channel  so that you are automatically notified.  There you will find a special list of many, many valuable resources for your study of the Scriptures.

Please subscribe here to the EGL YouTube channel. https://youtube.com/channel/UCx236kaMv50VylKKDYvneMA

Please feel free to share it  with your Church, Bible study, Youth Group, school Messianic synagogue, colleagues, neighbors, friends and family who desire to read through the Word this year to gain a richer understanding.

There is no fee. You are however invited to contribute if you desire to help us keep the reading calendar and weekly coaching session free. We have readers from all over the world many who can not afford the expense. It is a free will offering. We are free church members and not a 501(c)3.


Looking forward to being on the journey with you this year.

In Christ’s refuge and strength,

James and Elizabeth Stephens

Continue reading Exploring God’s Library 2022-2023 Bible Reading Calendar

Ninth of Av-A Symphony by Leonard Bernstein

This evening I was thinking, was there a symphony written for this most sorrowful day of remembrance for the people of Israel mourning in recollection of the destruction of the Jewish Temple in 586 B.C. and again in 70 A.D. This is what I found which was based upon the Book of Jeremiah and Lamentations which we just finished reading.

Symphony No. 1 -by Leonard Bernstein housed at the Milken Archive of Jewish Music in Santa Monica, California.


Visit there online for the links to the Symphony. The following is their excellent post by Neil W. Levin.

I. Prophecy 07:39
II. Profanation 06:29
III. Lamentation 11:04

Liner Notes:

Leonard Bernstein was a mere twenty-four years old in 1942 when he composed his first symphony, which he subtitled Jeremiah after the biblical prophet. He wrote it initially for a competition sponsored by the New England Conservatory of Music, and although it did not win that particular award, it received a much greater and unexpected “prize” in 1944 in the form of a world premiere performance by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra that its director, the venerable Fritz Reiner (Bernstein’s teacher of conducting at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia) permitted him to conduct.

Bernstein always explained that despite its subtitle, the symphony was not a programmatic work. Indeed, it does not have a specific story line, but rather it reflects what he called the “emotional quality” of Jeremiah’s dire prophecies of impending doom for the people of Judah (Judea) and Jerusalem, in which he foresaw and foretold their destruction and captivity by the Babylonian Empire in 586 BCE under the rule of Nebuchadnezzar.

Jeremiah felt impelled to speak the truth, of which he was certain, even at great risk to himself (he was often imprisoned and even in mortal danger). He began his preaching in 627 BCE, convinced that his country and his people were under Divine judgment for their corruption (and that of the priesthood in the Temple cult) and their flaunting of the moral principles of the Sinaitic covenant. In particular, he railed against idolatry and the worship of gods other than, or in addition to, the one, true God—adonai. His “Temple sermon,” sternly indicting Judea and its unfaithful ways, was an attempted appeal to the conscience of the nation and a courageous but unsuccessful challenge to its leadership. His admonitions ran against the accepted authorities, the “party line,” and the tide of popular beliefs; and consistently rebuffed, he was forbidden entrance to the Temple. But he continued to denounce and to warn of imminent calamity as Divine punishment, maintaining that he spoke with the higher authority that formed Judah’s true historical and religious basis.

Judah’s leaders thus considered Jeremiah an enemy, especially since—as he was unsuccessful in convincing the nation of its impending doom—he had come to regard the Babylonian army as God’s instrument for national punishment, a military force against which opposition would bring only complete disaster for Judea and Jerusalem.

Speaking in God’s name, Jeremiah also prophesied Israel’s eventual restoration and reunion with Judah, the return of Judah’s captives, and an end to the exile: “Your children shall return to their own land. I will gather them from all the countries where I have driven them. I will bring them back to this place, where I will cause them to dwell in safety” (31:15). According to that prediction, God would eventually make a fresh covenant with a new generation.

Bernstein described the first movement, “Prophecy,” as a musical attempt to “parallel in feeling the intensity of the prophet’s pleas with his people.” He envisioned the second movement—a scherzo titled “Profanation”—as portraying “a general sense of the destruction and chaos brought on by the pagan corruption within the priesthood and the people.”

The third and final movement, although it too lacks an actual program, has a literary foundation in its sung text taken from the Book of Lamentations. Bernstein called it a “literary conception—the cry of Jeremiah as he mourns his beloved Jerusalem, ruined, pillaged, and dishonored after his desperate efforts to save it.”

The biblical Book of Lamentations—eikha—is a collection of five poems. These comprise elegies and dirges that describe the collective agony of the defeated people and bewail the destruction of Judea and Jerusalem. They also express the hope that God will one day again bestow His grace and favor on them and restore the Jewish people to its national home and its holy city, Jerusalem. Tradition—though not necessarily objective modern scholarship—has attributed eikha to Jeremiah.

Eikha is recited (i.e., chanted) in its entirety in the synagogue on Tisha b’Av—the annual fast day and day of national mourning on the ninth of the Hebrew month of av. It commemorates the destruction of both the first and second Temples in Jerusalem, traditionally assigned to that same date in 586 BCE and in 72 CE, respectively, nearly six centuries apart. The ninth of av also coincides with the fall of Bar Kokhba’s fortress, Bethar, in his stand against the Romans. (For Sephardi Jews, the date has an additional significance; by tradition, they have assigned that date to the 1492 Spanish expulsion edict.)

The mezzo-soprano part in the third movement is a setting of excerpts from eikha (1:1–3; 1:8; 4:14–15; and 5:20–21). Its lines and the movement as a whole are based on the traditional Ashkenazi cantillation of Lamentations. Its constituent motives are sometimes quoted directly—both by the voice and by the orchestra—and sometimes liberally and artistically developed, altered, and extended, with interludes that exploit a rich array of orchestral colors and timbres. Apart from the cantillation references, the entire movement recalls the somber, mournful, and lugubrious aura of a typical traditional Tisha b’Av service—the intoned recitation of eikha, the congregation seated on low mourning stools with dim lighting and burning candles, and the singing of additional elegies and dirges known as kinot. And even with the added emotional intensity of quasi-operatic vocal lines at their climactic points, as well as the orchestral counterpoint, the principal motives and pitch cells of the traditional eikha cantillation are easily recognizable to all who experience annually this sacred ritual—beginning with the initial motive of an ascending minor third stated by the horns and continued by the vocal entrance.

In a letter to Bernstein, Aaron Copland offered his candid assessment of the symphony: “It’s the best thing of yours I’ve seen so far—more consistent in style and more grown-up in many ways. I like best the beginning and the end.” At that relatively early stage in Bernstein’s creative path, this work, in addition to its ingenious use of authentic Judaic material, reveals the positive influence of a number of American composers at the same time that it displays the intenseness and highly charged energy that defines a memorable aspect of Bernstein’s trademark.

A month after the world premiere in Pittsburgh, the Jeremiah Symphony was performed in Boston—also conducted by the composer. The critic for the Boston Globe cited it as the “best new composition of the year.” And following its New York premiere that spring (four performances), the New York Music Critics’ Circle voted it the “outstanding new work of the season.”

By: Neil W. Levin