#139 | The Public Reading of Scripture

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  • #139 | The Public Reading of Scripture
  • Welcome to The On Preaching Podcast, the podcast dedicated to helping you preach faithfully, clearly, and better.

    In this episode, I want to talk to you about the priority and practice of the public reading of scripture.

    In my travels and observations, I note several elements of corporate worship that tell me a lot about a church’s health and focus – namely, (1) corporate singing, (2) the pastoral prayer, and (3) scripture reading.

    Some church services contain no scripture reading. Others read the Bible perfunctorily. Word-centered, word-governed worship services begin with taking the reading of God’s word seriously.

    Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. – 1 Timothy 4:13

    How do you make the reading of scripture a meaningful part of corporate worship?

    Read scripture accurately. To read scripture well, you must understand the passage you are reading. Read and read the assigned scripture beforehand. Outline the passage. Get a sense of the content, progression, and theme of the text. Prepare well to read accurately.

    Read scripture regularly. The reading of God’s word should not only happen on special occasions. It should be a regular part of the corporate and public gatherings of worship for a local church. Make it a stand-alone element of the order of service.

    Read scripture consecutively. The most faithful way to preach the Bible is consecutively through books . The same applies to scripture reading. Pick up book, divide it into appropriate readings, and read through an entire Bible book .

    Read scripture pastorally. There is nothing wrong is responsive readings of scripture. But it is better that the scripture be read by one of the spiritual leaders as a pastoral act of leading the congregation in worship.

    Read scripture clearly. Read the passage aloud to practice. Work through words that are hard to pronounce. Factor how your tone, volume, pace, pauses, and enunciation affect your communication. Read to be understood.

    Read scripture reverently. The one who reads the scripture should do so as an act of worship. Read prayerfully, humbly, and devotionally. The reading should model proper reverence for the reading of God’s word.

    Read scripture confidently. Read the word of God as the word of God. the Bible is “breathed-out” by God. It will last forever. Everything in it proves true. The word of God will stand when heaven and earth passes away. Read the Bible as one who believes the word of God is true.

    The public reading of Scripture is the public transmission of God’s voice—the same voice that brought the world into being, that strips forests bare, that calls forth life from the dead. – Trent Hunter


    H.B. Charles Jr.

    Pastor-Teacher at the Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church of Jacksonville and Orange Park, Florida.