Sunday, May 17, 2009

Reading the Bible in Church

I suspect that if you visited ten different churches over the next ten Sundays then you would find a variable quality to the Bible readings (probably a variable number in each service, too :) ).

Is there anything preventing a uniform high standard across all our churches?

Here are some rules or, if you do not like that word, recommendations:

1. The reader should announce the Bible reading first (and any page reference in pew Bibles only second).

2. The Bible reading should be announced in accordance with the manner prescribed in NZPB.

3. Normally no explanation of the reading, or chapter or section heading should be announced. (An exception would be where the preacher requested an explanation because this would assist hearers to make sense of a reading which, say, began mid-point during a long narrative).

4. The Bible reading should be read in a clear strong voice, with modulation of tone and volume appropriate to the reading.

5. The reading should conclude with the ending prescribed in NZPB and the congregation should respond with the appropriate response.

Oh, and then there is a 6th recommendation: if the shape of the service requires announcement that the reading or readings are now going to occur, then the service leader should say something suitable and honouring of the authority of Scripture by way of introduction:

Not, 'Now we will have the readings', but:

'Let's listen to God's Word being read to us'


' Please sit for the readings from Holy Scripture'.

If we believe Scripture is inspired, authoritative, and given to equip us for ministry, then hearing it read to us is a high point in the service.

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