Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ, greetings to you all in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In 1Timothy 4: 13, among the instructions he gives to Timothy, Paul mentions, “give attention to the public reading of scripture.” Now at first glance you might be tempted to pass this off as simply reading the Scriptures in the context of public worship. This is at the center of our Reformed understanding of proper Worship. But the practice of ‘public reading of Scripture’ carries a deeper and broader meaning.
The very good people at the Bible Project have a produced a short video about this very topic. Here is the link to their video, please take some time to check it out.
The video gives a nice synopsis of the history of the public reading of Scripture in the Bible and some insight into what it means for us today, and why it is still important. Among these is the simple reason that reading the Bible together allows us the opportunity to discuss its meaning, or at least our understanding of it.
A few years ago, we as a church, participated in the Year with the Bible program. If you remember, it was a plan to read the whole Bible in a year, and with it we were encouraged to gather in groups to read and discuss the readings from that week. Many of you participated, and I know of at least one group that has kept meeting, almost every week, to read the Lectionary texts for the Sunday that just passed. It has enabled the group to look at the texts, ask questions (particularly of the pastor and why he preached what he preached), and be in fellowship with one another.
Gathering in groups like this to read and discuss Scripture is a wonderful way for God’s people to connect with each other and with God’s Word. You do not need to be a Biblical scholar to do so, only a desire to know the Bible more deeply. As you come across texts you have trouble understanding (either its meaning or why it is included in the Bible), simply jot down your questions. I am sure that Laurel or myself will be happy to answer them for you, at least as well as we are able. Certainly, we will be able to point you the right direction.
I encourage you all with the same words of Paul to Timothy, “give attention to the public reading of scripture.” I have no doubt that you will benefit from the knowledge you gain and the fellowship you enjoy.
May the blessings of God, the peace of Jesus Christ, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit be with you all.