By Shelley Neese

Jewish tradition holds that 2500 years ago, Ezra the scribe and Jewish elders created an annual reading schedule which divided the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, into 54 sections. The sections are called parasha, or portion. Following the calendar, it takes one year to complete the entire Torah.

For a year I have been doing a series for Jerusalem Connection that I call Messianic Lite. Each week, I share a little commentary from the weekly parashah and I follow the Jewish reading calendar. I am not a pastor or rabbi. I have no inclination to try and use application lessons for the weekly Bible readings. However, I love the Bible and I want to share my passion for the Word.

I have spent the last seven years writing a book about biblical archaeology and the Dead Sea Scrolls. I want to share things that I have learned which will fuel your faith with historical evidence. I lived and studied in Israel for three years and I eat up insights gained from Hebrew language study. Also, I love rabbinic literature and Jewish oral traditions. I have gathered little nuggets from both that I think will energize Christians and help them to see the scriptures through a new lens. And when biblical feasts or festivals come up, I want to dive into their full meaning and share my own practical advice for how my family celebrates the Jewish holidays and how life giving they have been for our family worship.

I realize that what I am saying sounds pretty Messianic. However, I don’t go to a Messianic congregation. I grew up the daughter of a pastor in a Bible church in Louisiana. I have stayed in the Christian church my entire life. My desire is to incorporate Jewish traditions and teachings into Christian understanding. It is a Lite version in the sense that I am not trying to be Jewish or appropriate their faith culture.

I hope we can learn and grow together. I encourage your comments and interactions in a virtual Bible study. So far, the weekly commentaries have been on Youtube but I will start putting them on InstaTV and on this blog. Please sign up to find out what’s new with The Copper Scroll Project and also to get the weekly Bible study.