“Morning by morning, O Lord, you hear my voice”
Reading the Word Together
(Please read Revelation 1:3)
What ever happened to regular public Bible reading in the churches? Some of us can remember when it was the usual practice to have a period of Bible reading after the first few songs. The reading was not necessarily done by the preacher, and it might or might or might not tie in with the sermon which followed. The reading usually was followed by prayer and a song before the sermon.
That practice died in most churches, possibly because speakers came to consider the reading period as the time for reading their introductory texts and preaching sermonettes. The plan itself did not fail. It was misunderstood by some and perhaps abused by others, but who could quarrel with the concept of providing time in each service for just reading from the Bible? Quite simply, the importance of reading the Bible cannot be overstated. It has to be studied, heard, taught, learned and heeded. In that process it has to be read aloud when people are together. (In case that point escapes us, the Revised Standard Version includes the obvious word “aloud” in the blessing pronounced on readers in Revelation 1:3.)
Many preachers read scripture during their sermons, and that is good. But these passages may be brief and scattered and selected to prove a point. Thus they can hardly substitute for the joy of reading continuous passages from the Book and letting God’s message wash over the soul.
We can also obtain the blessings of reading together in our own homes or with neighbors or friends assembled for that purpose. And let’s listen with the ear and with the heart.