The Public Reading of Scripture

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Another practice that is common in CREC churches is that of listening to Scriptures read aloud. This is distinct from the reading of the text for the sermon—it is simply a time in the service where the Word of God is recognized as central and foundational to our lives. We usually have at least one reading from the Old Testament, and one from the New. It is common for us to stand (as a way of showing honor) as the Scriptures are read. When the reading is concluded, the reader will say “The Word of the Lord,” and the congregation responds together with “Thanks be to God.”

Because we believe that worship should be “according to Scripture,” this means that if ever we are asked about a particular element of our worship service, we will be able to answer the questions by citing a passage of Scripture. It is no different here. “Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching” (1 Tim. 4:13, ESV). This public reading of Scripture is distinct from the public exposition of it.

It might be guessed that this was done in the first century because published Bibles were rare, and the only way the parishioners could “read” the Scriptures was by hearing it read. We, on the other hand, have a stack of Bibles at home. This is a reasonable comment, but we don’t want to be found as those who have a stack of Bibles at home, gathering dust. We believe that Christians will honor individually and in families what they honor together, collectively in worship. In other words, when the Scriptures are given a place of honor in the public worship of God, it is more likely that individuals will actually give themselves to the reading of Scripture with the copies they have at home (2 Tim. 3:15).



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