Public Scripture Reading

Paul encourages Timothy to present the Word of God to the gathered church in three ways (1 Tim. 4:13). Allow me to share my personal translation of this verse.

Give regular attention to public reading, earnest exhortation, and to careful teaching.

As a pastor, I am learning the importance of giving regular prominence to the Word of God in worship in each of the ways Paul mentions.  From the vantage point of my personal experience, it seems that fundamental, evangelical churches in the United States give attention to preaching and teaching, but neglect the third way to present the Scripture in congregational worship – public reading. This commonly occurs just before the sermon, if at all, and it happens rather quickly. But I am personally challenged to give public Scripture reading a more prominent place. The Word of God is full of life and very effective (Heb. 4:12).

I am personally challenged to give public Scripture reading a more prominent place.

At Faith Baptist Church, we look forward to the public reading of Scripture. We generally pause on a Sunday morning between the opening hymns of worship to listen to a man from our congregation read an extended portion of Scripture surrounding the verses of the sermon. A different man gives the reading each week, involving men throughout our congregation. Different personalities. Different backgrounds. Different skills and speaking styles. Different spiritual gifts. But the same living and effective Word of God.

Through this exercise of public reading, the congregation is exposed to the context surrounding the verses of the sermon. And the Holy Spirit begins to arouse attention to the passage of Scripture that a pastor will preach and teach afterwards.

I thank the Lord for the men of Faith Baptist Church who are willing to stand before the congregation each week and read to us from the Word of God. And most of all, I thank him for his Word, that speaks to our hearts all by itself when we read it in public worship.

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