Dedicated to the Public Reading of the Bible
Hey Tony, I've been meaning to email you and ask this question, but I guess that I can ask here as well as anywhere, so here goes.What is the reason for reading scripture publicly? If I read it correctly, the verses in Nehemia refer to what was being read to believers. 5 Ezra opened the book. All the people could see him because he was standing above them; and as he opened it, the people all stood up. 6 Ezra praised the LORD, the great God; and all the people lifted their hands and responded, "Amen! Amen!" Then they bowed down and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground.
Robert,Good question.There is no reason to assume that all of Israel were believers, in the sense that they were all redeemed, when Ezra read the Scriptures. Even a cursory look at Israel's history before Ezra publicly read the Scriptures is tetimony to that.The fact that they all bowed in worship is no more evidence that all of Israel was saved than going into any evangelical church on Sunday morning and seeing everyone clap their hands to praise music means that everyone present is saved.I guess I would answer your question with the following question: "Why not read the Scriptures in public?" There is nothing in Scripture to indicate that the reading of God's Word is to be relegated to the interior of a church or inside the homes of Christians.Besides God's Word is always going to be more powerful than anything I say about God's Word. :-)
If I may, one thought comes to mind and that is the reaction that occured when Hilkiah the High Priest said to Shaphen the Scribe that he had found the book of the Law. (2 Kings 22:8). In verse 11 we read that as the book of the Law was read to the King that it produced repentance in the heart of the King. "And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the book of the law, that he rent his clothes." The phrase, "when the King heard the words of the Law" gives us the clue as to why the King rent his clothes, which was, in those days, a sign of deep mourning and repentance. No doubt that there was a lot of things going on that would never have happened if they had to Law read to them and the hearing of the Law produced a visible sign of repentance of the King. I look forward to seeing what God is going to do in the reading of His Word this weekend.
I guess ultimately my question is what does it accomplish? Especially since it is the Gospel that is the power of God to salvation. I'm sure you do that too after reading the scripture. I don't dissagree with what you are doing at all. In fact, I would like to try it. I just want a good reason biblically to do it.Robert TewartPlease forgive my dense head in this. I just don't quite get it completely.
What does it accomplish?It brings honor and glory to God. His Word never returns void.Isn't that enough?
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