October 03, 2016

Reading Aloud

As a writer I know when I read my work out loud I have a better chance of catching errors in grammar and punctuation. However, it is even more beneficial when I ask my daughter to proofread an article and she reads it back to me aloud and I hear the words from the reader’s perspective. Most worship leaders have set aside the public reading of Scripture, but the importance of reading Scripture aloud should not be underestimated. John said, “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near” (Rev 1:3 NIV).

1 comment:

Steve Corey said...


-----There were two major differences between the days Revelation was written and today. First, in those days, a book cost considerably more than fifteen bucks. Today, paper is made by tons every day. We give it to our kids for their scribblings. In John’s day, paper was made by painstakingly peeling off layers of papyrus reed, gluing them together, and pressing them until dry. If they wanted a very permanent material, they used leather tanned and processed to very thin. Either way was very expensive. Maybe clay tablets were somewhat cheaper, although the clay still had to be processed to pure and kneaded free of air bubbles, then fired after receiving the writing. Could you imagine taking your clay Bible to church on a string of oxcarts?
-----But even if the availability of paper could have been what it is today, your copy of the Bible would have been made by hand. My favorite little pocket Bible has close to 1200 pages of very fine print text, about 600 words per page. Figuring a very, very efficient scribe could copy each page in 45 minutes, the entire task of copying my little Bible would take about 1600 hours. That’s roughly two thirds of a working year. At today’s average wages, just putting the words to the paper would cost near $20,000. Of course, we have to also have paid the price for the time invested in making the paper. If considering the peeling of the papyrus, the gluing it together, and the trimming of it all took an hour per leaf, that’s another 600 hours, or approximately another $10,000. Until the days of Guttenberg, probably the most prominent means of knowing the Word of God was the public reading of it.
-----Culture is an interesting thing. It doesn’t just come with the land. Nor does it grow on trees. It grows in minds, but not independently. Individual minds grow the cultural traits surrounding them by having been heavily exposed and repetitiously oriented to the ideas and attitudes being publicly shared by all the other culturing minds. Reading scripture into those culturing minds is a big deal. So also is presenting yourself for the hearing of scripture, remembering what was heard, and pondering it. The angle you’ve presented goes even deeper into the psychology of the different centers of the brain which deal with the different processes of writing, reading, speaking, and hearing. Each different area of the brain brought into the process of comprehending a message adds its small portion of intelligence and insight to that comprehension. So indeed, blessed are the reader and hearer even today, who most likely own a dozen bibles between them.
-----A few years ago, I had the misfortune of trying to comprehend a study of Revelation led by a retired preacher. Even though every verse of Revelation was read and heard by all in the study, there was yet a giant hole in the study’s discussions from the first day to the last. For, even though Revelation’s very first verse states the message’s purpose as being “…to show to His servants what must soon take place…”, any topic of current events, or relevant historical events, entered into the discussion were disparaged with spite, because this preacher’s presentation of the book was from his own stated purpose of the message as being, “to show that we win.” Please note carefully, even by the brilliant examples you’ve offered about reading and hearing, the blessing comes to both the reader and the hearer through what the book says as it is read and heard, not through what the reader thinks while what the book says is dismissed.

Love you all,
Steve Corey