What important element of public worship goes largely neglected today?

There is an increasing

amount of churches that no longer include reading Scripture as a regular part of the public gathering, aside from a passage read during the sermon. Even in many churches I would closely align myself with who have a Christ-centered focus and a high view of preaching, still divide their public gatherings into 2 halves: The singing portion and the preaching portion. I have a growing concern with this trend as it often squeezes out the public readings of Scripture as a separate, essential role in our services. Here are a few reasons I want to encourage pastors to continue to see the public reading of Scripture as a needed part of your public gatherings: 1) God commands it. Paul writes to Timothy and writes, “Give attention to the public reading of Scripture…(1 Tim. 4:13). Regardless where you fall in discussions about the Regulative Principle, it is hard to deny this clear instruction about what should be included when the church gathers. 2) It can help prepare people for the preached Word. Reading other Scriptures during the service that connect to the sermon passage that will later be preached can be a very effective use of Scripture in a service. However, there are others who simply take a slot in every weekly service to read through the Bible chapter by chapter. How else will the strange, hard to understand passages ever be publicly read, heard, and known? 3) It affirms the power of God’s Word. Do we really believe there is power in simply the Word of God being read? Is it so living and active that in just the hearing of it, God can work, convict a sinner, and meet with his people? I submit to you it is a powerful experience when God’s people gather to hear God’s Word read well by someone and allowing those words to effect the souls of people. This weekend I heard the testimony of a man whose awakening to the gospel began as he heard God’s Word read publicly in a church service by a church and pastor that did not even believe the gospel. He since has gone to another church. There is a unique power in God’s Word as it is read publicly, a power I would contend is absent when it is neglected. No doubt, nothing should compete in our services with the faithful exposition and application of God’s Word when it is powerfully preached. Yet, do not underestimate the power of God’s Word when it is publicly read. It is a pattern established with God’s people Israel (Ezra 8), carried on by the New Testament instruction for the Apostle’s letters to be read before the churches, and should be a practice that is viewed just as valid today. What time and focus in your service is given to the public reading of Scripture?

Posted in Oversight of Souls, Preaching
5 comments on “What important element of public worship goes largely neglected today?
  1. SteveT says:

    Brian – which approach do you find to be more effective? Reading through, say, chapter-by-chapter, or trying to coordinate the text with the sermon? Obviously they have very different goals – somewhat parallel to the expository versus textual preaching question, right?

    • briancroft says:

      We often use Scripture readings in the service to fit within a theme of the service driven by the text that will be preached. However, I know more who do the other and it is quite effective also.

  2. Dave Dunbar says:

    Amen. Agreed completely.

    We have 3 seperate Scripture readings, and at least 1 of them is a week-by-week “series” through an entire book. There is power there, because they are God’s words.

    Next issue — the reading of the Bible OUT in public (not in the meeting house) — because most people in our land don’t read it themselves. It could be an important part of evangelism.

  3. Scott Wright says:

    Brian,
    thanks for the post. We have a reading for our Call to Worship, a Scripture Reading (through the Psalms) and I read the text I am preaching on. I do attempt to tie in the call to worship text with the preached text, but it isn’t a requirement. Preach the Word my brothers!

  4. Tim says:

    I would add that a key element missing from the gathering of the royal priests is their prepared participation to the gathering. The public reading of scripture can be one key way the saints can prepare and participate. I would think leaders would be expecting God’s people to be reading the word during the week. What better reinforcement and reproduction of that reading is that it be contributed when all the saints gather.

    I used to be a leader with no confidence in this approach because I only thought that the content of a gathering can only be unified if it comes from the worship leader. Only he can tie it all together. This tradition driven belief is in total denial of the power of the Holy Spirit to arrange unity of expression in the body of Christ totally apart from this solitary leaders ability. I now lead with the truth that we have a solitary head of the church that can arrange this in supernatural fashion.

    From my experience, some of the greatest, most colorful, expressive readers of the Word are children, often completely uncoached or unpracticed. In our teaching time, the main scriptures and the cross-references are written in the hand out for this very purpose. The children are right on top of having their Bibles open and ready for the next passage needing to be read. It is so powerful to hear their clear expression of God’s Word.

7 Pings/Trackbacks for "What important element of public worship goes largely neglected today?"
  1. […] What Important Element of Public Worship Goes Largely Neglected Today? – Pastor Brian Croft asks why the reading of Scripture in our worship services is being neglected. […]

  2. […] What important element of public worship goes largely neglected today? | Practical Shepherding […]

  3. […] the approaching completion of our chapter-a-week reading of Isaiah at our morning Service at mgpc, here’s a post from Brian Croft which points out the importance of Scripture reading during corporate worship. This is not the same […]

  4. […] What important element of public worship goes largely neglected today?: […]

  5. […] Pastor Brian Croft shares 3 biblical reasons to read Scripture in What Important Element of Public Worship Goes Largely Neglected Today. […]

  6. […] What important element of public worship goes largely neglected today? […]

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