Could public reading of scripture be useful for discipleship? Well, consider this. About 60% of Americans can’t read, read poorly, or don’t like to read. That percentage is also true in church. As a result, at least 60% attenders do not read the Bible between Sundays. If they don’t read it on their own, that makes reading of scripture even more important!
What does scripture have to say about reading scripture aloud? Paul encouraged Timothy to practice and be committed to public reading. Listen to what Paul said:
Until I come, give your attention to public reading, exhortation, and teaching. Practice these things; be committed to them, so that your progress may be evident to all. Pay close attention to your life and your teaching; persevere in these things, for in doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers.1 Timothy 4:13,15-16, CSB
Paul encourages practicing “these things.” Develop a habit of public reading. Make it a good habit like brushing your teeth. Do it whenever possible. and know it will have an impact on “yourself and your hearers.”
Public Reading: Entire Passage
Like many, I enjoy verse-by-verse expository preaching and teaching. But I want to challenge you before you chop the passage into its parts (verses), read the entire passage aloud. I encourage you to do that in your preparation as well as in your preaching, disciple-making, or teaching. Help the hearers set the verses into the larger context by public reading.
Do It Together!
Gather the people to read scripture aloud. Gather your disciple(s). Meet as a Sunday School class or small group. Gather for worship. Take time as family together for devotions, holidays, and teachable moments. Read scripture aloud when you are together. Read aloud and help them to hear more scripture.