Thursday, February 24, 2005

The Word of God heard is a key aspect of the worship service!

suggestions for Scripture readers

Scripture reading is important!

Paul writes to a young pastor: “devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching” (1 Timothy 4:13, NIV) – in his list of priorities, public reading of the Scripture comes before preaching, even as it comes before the sermon in our worship services.

Before anything else, announce the passage that you will be turning to, so that others, if they desire, may turn to it also to follow you, as is generally our custom.

After finding the passage yourself, as the reader you should at first look up, watching to see when the others who are looking for the right page and place have finished looking and are ready to read along with you. That may well take a minute or so. Watch and wait until they are really ready to hear. Avoiding haste and taking these moments will make it more pleasant for them and for you.

Since Scripture reading is so important, it is best to practice reading your chosen passage aloud at home until it is familiar enough to you to read it through without stumbling at all. It may be necessary to learn how to properly pronounce certain words, and to practice saying them. With study and practice you can read confidently, which is pleasant and worthwhile for you and for your congregation.

It is helpful to spend time dwelling on the meaning of the passage you are reading, turning it over in your mind, considering it, and seeing “the picture it paints”, as it were, in your mind’s eye. Ask for our heavenly Father’s help and inspiration to read effectively. Christ says, “apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

Doing these things will empower you to read with more conviction and power, which will make your service more edifying for your congregation.

Public reading of the Word of God is more needful than the sermon, and more powerful – the proper purpose of the sermon is to exhort us to pay more attention to the living Word of God, Christ himself, who is much greater than us all! When His Word is read aloud confidently and with conviction, it is something like having Him with us.

“The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.”
John 6:63 (NIV).

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