The ministry of Bible-Reading

One key purpose of the gathering of God’s people is to hear from his word¬†(Col 3:16). Bible-reading is therefore a type of leadership, because in doing it we are guiding, exhorting, teaching, and modelling for the congregation.

It is a responsible role which God has entrusted to us for the service of his people, and so it requires careful preparation and may be considered a gift – not everyone can or should be the Bible-reader in church. The Bible-reader interprets the passage for those present by their intonation, pace, and pauses. As the famous communicator, Clifford Warne, said, “What we fail to understand, we fail to communicate.”

Jesus himself read aloud from the Scriptures, following the synagogue tradition (Luke 4), and we expect that God is present in the gathering and particularly as the Holy Spirit helps us understand the very Scriptures he inspired (2 Pet 1:20-21).

Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 1 Tim 4:13

Tips & Tricks

  • Announce the page number first, then the chapter and verse. Don’t start immediately – wait for the sound of page-flicking to die down
  • You could give a one-sentence introduction about the context of the passage, and you could also pray for the hearing of God’s word.
  • Practice out loud at least a couple of times before-hand
  • Confirm with the service leader or preacher if there is any confusion about the passage, length, intros etc.

Links and resources

Reading Quickstart
1 Timothy 4:13 teaches that the public reading of Scripture is an important ministry in its own right. The Bible reading ought to be one of the focal points of our weekly gatherings. As such, the Bible reader should be well prepared and have practiced the reading in advance. Prior to the hearing of the Bible, it is often appropriate to pray a prayer for the hearing of God’s word.

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