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Jesus Creed

Scripturereading.jpgI don’t know if seminaries teach seminarians how to read the Bible publicly. I don’t recall one student in my dozen or so years teaching seminary students ever mentioning public reading of Scripture as a discipline or as an important subject. I don’t even recall it being discussed.

What is your experience with the public reading of Scripture? Who is beginning this on a regular basis? 
When Christians couldn’t read, artists painted murals on the walls so those who couldn’t read could at least “see” the Bible’s stories. Last summer we spent more than an hour pondering the paintings of the great murals in the church in San Gimignano, a picturesque walled village not far from Siena in Italy. Paintings are interpretations, to be sure, but one of the major intents was to inform the church of the content of the Bible’s stories.
Oddly enough, we live in a day when more people have Bibles, when nearly everyone can read, when everyone has access online or in print form to Bible studies and study aids, but when Bible knowledge is dramatically decreasing. Just mention “Jephthah” and see how many in the church even know the story.  Put simply, if folks don’t get it in Sunday School, the chances are high they didn’t get it. 
So what to do? Many of us are urging pastors and churches to consider more public reading of Scripture and taking the task so seriously that they study how to do it well. Enter now the excellent new book by Max McLean (with Warren Bird): Unleashing the Word: Rediscovering the Public Reading of Scripture
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Sure, this involves the text for the sermon but what we have in mind is more than reading the passage on which the sermon is based. Instead, we are talking about the value of lectionary reading of Scripture — aloud — weekly — well — so that God’s People can “listen” to the Word and hear what God is saying.
This book is all you need: it includes Max’s story, the basics — always clear and outlined — and even how to teach others to read Scripture aloud. There is stuff on what to say before you read and how to prepare yourself for public reading of Scripture. There’s a DVD too!
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