In a day when everyone wants to do a Bible study what Christian communities really need is more Bible reading.
What’s the difference?
Bible study asks, “What does the text mean?”
Bible reading asks, “What does the text say?” Reading the Bible is listening to the Story. Were I to receive a note from my wife, I would not begin by parsing the language or questioning the context within which it was written. I would not ask, “What was in the mind of the author?” I would simply read. Read to enjoy the self-communication that is writing. I would not study the letter, I would read it.
There is a place for Bible study; a very important place. But study follows reading. Start at the beginning of the Book and read it simply to hear. No studying. No parsing. No cross-referencing. Just reading.
Several years ago, we decided to make public reading Scripture an important part of our church meetings. (By the way, see 1 Timothy 4:13.) Each week, we read at least a chapter of Scripture together, with usually two or three people reading. (We also teach through Scripture, but that is separate from our reading time.)
Also, a few times, we’ve met together only to read Scripture. We’ve read through the Gospels of Luke and John together in one sitting. I hope we do this again soon.
How about you? Is the public reading of Scripture important to you and the church that you meet with?