Reading God's Word

Today's  "article" is an outline about what the Bible says about reading the Bible.   Hugh DeLong

Reading Gods Word

Exodus 24:7 Then he took the book of the covenant and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, "All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient!"

Deuteronomy 17:19 (concerning the king)  19 "It shall be with him and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, by carefully observing all the words of this law and these statutes,

Deut. 31:9-13

Joshua 8:34-35 34 Then afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessing and the curse, according to all that is written in the book of the law. 35 There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded which Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel with the women and the little ones and the strangers who were living among them.

BUT they rejected God’s word, at one point found a copy that they were horrified in reading – 2Kgs. 22, but they read it publicly to all the people (2Kgs. 23:2).

Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.

THUS, They went into captivity –

Upon return, such reading was central to their community:  Neh. 8

Neh. 8:1-8

1 Brought the book of the Law of Moses that the Lord had commanded Israel

2 before the assembly

3 read – morning until mid-day

3 ears of all the people were attentive

5 He opened the book – the people stood

8  read, clearly, gave the sense, caused the people to understand

Nehemiah 8:18 18 He read from the book of the law of God daily, from the first day to the last day. And they celebrated the feast seven days, and on the eighth day there was a solemn assembly according to the ordinance.

During this time the synagogue developed. They were determined that such ignorance of God’s word would not befall the nation again.  Almost every town and village they had such a meeting place.

Hence –

Acts 13:15 15 After the reading of the Law and the Prophets the synagogue officials sent to them, saying, "Brethren, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, say it."

Acts 13:27 27 "For those who live in Jerusalem, and their rulers, recognizing neither Him nor the utterances of the prophets which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled these by condemning Him.

Acts 15:21 21 "For Moses from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath."

Jesus and the synagogue – Luke 4:16 16 And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read.

Side NOTE: -  this was THE HABIT OF JESUS -   cp. Heb. 12:25 –

Typical (?) synagogue meeting –

Series of Prayers –

Reading of the Shema  (Hear.. as in ‘Hear, o Israel)…

·       Deut. 6:4-9

·       Deut. 11:13-21

·       Num. 15:37-41

This followed by another prayer, then:

Reading of portions of the Law and the Prophets

There followed here an address – ‘sermon’ – Rabbi, leader, distinguished stranger… 

THEN: A prayer (and benediction – blessing upon them as they leave)…

The one brief description of the early church is found in Justin Martyr – he relates that basically such a meeting was on the 1st day of the week and included the partaking of the Lord’s Supper, the  reading of the ‘memoirs of the apostles’ followed by an exhortation, the taking up of a collection for the poor among them… 

Hence, one of the things about our worship of God must be an increasing knowledge of God and His word.  Thus this was part of the early meetings of the Christians.

Colossians 4:16 16 When this letter is read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and you, for your part read my letter that is coming from Laodicea.

1 Thessalonians 5:27 27 I adjure you by the Lord to have this letter read to all the brethren.

1 Timothy 4:13 13 Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching.

Revelation 1:3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.

OTHER scriptures:

Rom. 10:17 -  hearing the word of God – public? (primarily?)

Acts 17:10-12   - public?

Eph. 3:3-5 -  ‘when you read’ – public?

2Tim. 2:15 - ‘study’ = ‘give diligence’, a private command to Timothy. But, was this because he is a teacher or disciple?

Consider also all the ‘have you not read’ passages? (for example in Matthew: Matt. 12:3,5; 19:4; 21:16, 42; 22:31; 27:37).

 Such worship thus is centered about GOD. Such would be deemed by many as BORING, dull -  unimpressive!

What the worldly wants is to be entertained –

What the godly wants is to be filled with the teaching of God.

The fact that we are not impressed, that we have little desire for such – is an indication of the lack that WE have in our relationship with God.

Challenges that WE face in this.

·       The fact that such scriptures are readily available to be read privately… 

·       The fact that we as a people have few organized reading plans ..  skipping about.

·       The fact that preachers try to impress – rather than to explain and exhort.

·       We aren’t good public readers, nor good listeners!

Privilege and obligation of personal, private reading –

Opportunity + ability = responsibility.

THOUGHTS: therefore; having the ability and the opportunity to read for ourselves, let us:

·       Read for familiarity

·       Read for comprehension

·       Read for CHANGE / conversion

·       Read for LOVE of God and men

Are you reading? Is such reading a daily habit?

Hugh DeLong