Friday, April 25, 2008

Scripture readings in the worship service

Almost all churches everywhere include a place for Scripture reading (or readings) as an important part of their worship gatherings. It is a practice that has its basis in both the Old and New Testaments (Neh.8:1-10; Lk.4:16-17f.; Acts 13:14-16; Col.4:16). It is a specific application of what Paul had in mind when he said that the word of Christ (the message from him and about him) should richly dwell in us (Col.3:16) – that is, the truth of the Gospel should richly inhabit our fellowship together, especially in our times for worshiping.

For it is this Gospel – this word of Christ – that is the power of God for the salvation of the lost (Rom.1:16) and for the sanctification/transformation of the saved (Jn.17:17; 2 Tim.3:16f.; Rom.12:2; Col.1:28).

One specific concern, therefore, applies today: Scripture readings are not to function merely as song intros, or as brief interludes between songs. They are important and valuable in their own right, and have a specific, distinct place and function in the activity of worshiping that is not to be subordinated to the singing (as crucial as Word-shaped singing also is).

As Paul exhorted Timothy: “Command and teach these things…. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching….” (1 Tim.4:11,13).


Unknown said...

Amen Pastor. Would also like to see more focus on corporate prayer.

Douglas Phillips said...

Good point, Neil. I agree with you on that, too.