We offer these Bible bookmarks to help you keep your place (or any reading plan you prefer)-- or even just set a goal of reading through a certain book. We want to encourage a steady, daily habit of reading His Word and allowing it to transform our lives. Jewish people have traditionally been known as "People of the Book" (Am HaSefer) ; would that the whole world became "people of the Book" as well.
Click the links below for PDF printable bookmarks to mark your place in the Torah (The Five Books of Moses), The Haftarah (the Prophets and Writings), and the Brit Chadasha (the New Covenant). The Torah readings follow along with the weekly parashiot (portion).
Some of you who read through the Bible in a year noticed on our Torah bookmarks some scripture references that did not exist in your Bible! For example, one of the daily readings was Numbers 17:16-24, but when you went to your Bible, you discovered Numbers 17 in most canonized Bibles stops at verse 13. Why the difference? Be encouraged the next time you notice this difference. You are not reading extra added material or missing out on deleted verses, but rather are noticing how the Word has been preserved through the centuries. (Keep reading to learn more.)
The Ten Words above CBM's Ark
On our bookmarks, CBM uses the long-established Jewish system of dividing the Torah (the first five books of Moses) into weekly reading portions. Each portion in Hebrew is known as a "parashah." When we look at the actual Torah scroll, there are no periods or commas in the Hebrew text, much less any numbering of chapters or verses. In Babylonian times, the Torah was divided into 54 portions (plural, parashiyot) for the purpose of creating an annual reading cycle, where a set amount of text could be read each day and then the Torah completely read within a year. These sections created a chapter and verse numbering system which continues today in the modern Jewish Hebrew Bible.
When the Bible which included the Newer Covenant was canonized, [including organizing and consolidating the older Hebrew texts with the newer Gospel and circulating letters], Christian scholars maintained the parashah chapter and verse number system for the most part, but in a few instances regrouped certain verses differently. It's important to note that scriptures were not added or deleted between the two Bibles, but rather just re-numbered. Continuing with our example above, the Modern Hebrew Bible has Numbers 16:1-35 and Numbers 17:1-28 (63 verses) and the King James Bible has Numbers 16:1-50 and Numbers 17:1-13 (63 verses.
There are other differences between the modern Hebrew Bible and the modern canonized Christian Bible that Messianic Rabbi David Stern explains in his Introduction to the Complete Jewish Bible: An English Version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B'rit Hadasha (New Testament). Here is a brief summary from that section:
1. Different Order for the Books - the Hebrew Bible is divided into three parts which the acronym TaNaKh (Tenach) reminds us of: T for Torah; N for Nevi'im (Prophets) and K for K'tuvim (Writings). The canonized Bible organized the OT into four parts: Pentateuch (five books of Moses), Historical Books, Writings and Prophets.
2. Different Number of Books - the modern Hebrew Bible consists of 24 books, whereas the Christian Bible counts 39 books in the Old Testament. The Hebrew Bible does not break Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles into two books each and considers all of the "minor" prophets to be one book, plus combines Ezra and Nehemiah. Thus what the OT counts as twenty books appears in the Tanakh as five.
3. Different Names for the Books - Many of the Tanakh books are simply called by their first words. What the OT calls Genesis, the Tanakh calls B'resheet (In the beginning...) and Exodus (the book about the Jewish exodus from Egypt) is called Sh'mot (Names), because the book starts out "These are the names...".
4. Different Endings for Four of the Books - a small detail, but shows a characteristic of the Jewish approach to life - when one of these four books ended with a negative-sounding last verse, it was customary to accentuate the positive by printing the next-to-last verse a second time at the end of the book.
Stern summarizes this discussion by saying, the two Bibles are "more alike than different. That in spite of these differences, the Christian Old Testament is much more like the Tanakh than different from it."
How can you keep up with your bookmarks if your Bible doesn't have Numbers 16:40? Just keep reading! The verse will be found in the next chapter.