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The Public Reading of Scripture

July 13, 2006

1 Timothy 4:13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.

I’ve been listening to some sermons from the Together for the Gospel conference.  One of the speakers said that at his church they read a full chapter of Scripture from the OT and from the NT in each worship service.  He said that it is powerful to read Scripture publicly and not just privately because it highlights the objectivity of the truth of the Word.  He suggested that there’s something about husband and wife, parent and child, hearing the same Word together that adds an accountability not present in the private reading of Scripture.  And there’s the opportunity to marvel at Providence applying humanly scheduled readings to humanly unscheduled life circumstances.  What do you all think?  Shall we stop neglecting 1 Timothy 4:13a and see what happens?

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. July 13, 2006 12:00 pm

    yeah, let’s start obeying Scripture!

    I think it might be tough for some of the folks that come from more liturgical backgrounds who are freaked out by the Psalm chanting. However, we do kinda have a Scriptural mandate here. :)

    I am also encouraged to lead my family (all 2 of us!) in this. It is so easy for me to neglect my duty, and joy, of leading my family in the reading of the Word, in prayer, and song. Thanks for the encouragement in this!

    One more thing, what do you think about the public aspect of this? Should our church be reading Scripture on the Quad each week? Or do you think that the “preaching and teaching” gives the reading a context w/in a church assembly?

  2. July 13, 2006 12:12 pm

    Although my background is not liturgical, I am one of those people who is freaked out by the psalm chanting.

    But I very much like the idea of reading chunks of scripture in our corporate worship times.

    And although the Word has power all by itself, it would be especially satisfying for the public readers to “read like they mean it.” An unexpressive, droning reading of such magnificent material seems to undercut the sobriety and wonder and joy of the message being read.

  3. July 13, 2006 1:54 pm

    One of the things I most like about the Catholic church’s liturgy is that they read these chunks of the Bible, and that everyone in *every* Catholic church across the world reads the same one. I think that’s nifty.

    As for reading it on the Quad… sure, why not?

  4. egana permalink
    July 13, 2006 8:07 pm

    on the Quad?

    like Mad Max or something? Is he still around, anyway? he was quite an entertainer, and really got the crowd going..

    I’m not interested in THAT sort of public reading…

    But if we were going to sit around together and read it oud loud to each other, I don’t see how the Quad is any different from any other place, except that more people ouside the immediate groups might hear it.

    I agree with Gorf, though, that a droning, monotone reading is going to be really yucky to listen to and participate in. People wouldn’t read Shakespeare like that, and he doesn’t have as much to say as the Lord of the Universe. But when people read the scriptures, the tone of voice flattens, the “group dynamic” kicks in, and we read slowly, ploddingly, pausing at the same time, etc.

    I don’t like that sort of out-loud reading. In the effort to control and output, the life and joy of the words is lost. SO I guess I am a little leary of reading out loud, becasue of what I am afraid it might be like. But I do like the idea of a more dramatic reading, one that we could do together and experience all those benefits you mentioned without any of the yucky stuff I am afraid it might be like…

    how’s that for clear, concise commenting? yikes….

  5. July 13, 2006 10:33 pm

    Reading on the Quad isn’t what I had in mind, though I have done some open air evangelism there before. It was fun and, I dare say, more effective than Mad Max, but my throat was wasted all week. I don’t have the “apparatus” (as Spurgeon would say) for open air preaching.

    yeah, if we do it, and I think we will try it, it won’t be a congregational responsive droning type thing, we’ve already got psalm chanting for that. I’m picturing myself or other skilled communicators reading a chapter with some expectations of preparation.

  6. July 13, 2006 11:29 pm

    In our service we read an entire Psalm each service. And we read a pericope of a New Testament book that coincides topically with whatever we are expostionally preaching from at the time. We have found it to be quite edifying. We also use a benediction at the end.

    I am not in favor of using the same texts as others all at the same time etc. I think that a shepherd knows best what his sheep need and should have the freedom to feed them accordingly.

    I’ve learned to adjust some but as a former Roman Catholic of some twenty years, high liturgy gives me a rash.

  7. egana permalink
    July 15, 2006 8:24 am

    EddieEx: “high liturgy gives me a rash” …my friend snady keeps hers mowed nice and low all along the back dropoff behind her house to avoid just such a thing…

    Isaiah543: “I’m picturing myself or other skilled communicators reading a chapter with some expectations of preparation.” …well that sounds AWESOME! I look forward to hearing and participating. I remember several years ago when you guys did a dramatic reading of Job, and it was so great. Actually, I guess that wasn’t a dramatic reading, was it, it was more like an interpretation, wasn’t it? Anyway, it was great!

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