Pastor's Pen

“Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.” – 1 Timothy 4:13

In the ever-evolving landscape of modernity, where technology reigns supreme and information is at our fingertips, it's imperative for us to take a step back and consider how our younger generations, particularly Gen Z and the emerging Alphas, are engaging with the profound truths found within Scripture.

Scripture, the enduring Word of God, has been a guiding light for countless generations. Yet, as we navigate through this digital age, there arises a concern: are younger people truly immersing themselves in the depths of God's Word, or are they merely skimming the surface?

Research paints a sobering picture. Gen Z, characterized by rapid information consumption and fleeting attention spans, may not be delving into Scripture as deeply as previous generations did. In a world inundated with distractions, they risk becoming a generation that is, in many ways, "scripture illiterate."

However, amidst this concern, we see the wisdom of God in the elements of worship: the age-old practice of public scripture reading. Let us delve into why this practice is not only relevant but crucial for our church body today.

Rooted in Protestant History: The public reading of scripture is deeply embedded in our Protestant heritage. From the early reformers who championed the importance of Scripture in the vernacular to us today, this practice has been a cornerstone of our faith. It is good and right for us to honour this legacy by continuing to prioritize the public reading of scripture in our worship gatherings.

A Means of Exposition: Just as in ancient cultures where literacy was limited, the public reading of scripture serves as a means of exposition for all members of the congregation. It allows us to encounter the breadth and depth of God's Word in its entirety, not just isolated verses or passages. Through communal listening, we are able to glean insights and truths that may have otherwise eluded us.

Bridge to the Next Generation: For our younger generations, particularly Gen Z and Alphas, the public reading of scripture is a lifeline—a bridge that connects them to the rich tapestry of biblical teachings. In a world saturated with bite-sized content and instant gratification, this practice offers them an opportunity to slow down, reflect, and internalize the timeless truths of Scripture.

Encountering God Together: Above all, the public reading of scripture is an act of worship—a communal gathering where we encounter the living God through his written Word. As we come together to hear scripture read aloud, we are reminded of the power and authority of God's Word to transform lives and renew hearts. It is in these sacred moments that we are drawn closer to the heart of God and to one another as members of the body of Christ.

Dear brothers and sisters, let me encourage you to give yourselves to the practice of public scripture reading. Let us uphold this sacred tradition not out of obligation, but out of a deep reverence for the Word of God and a fervent desire to pass on its truths to the next generation.

Often when I visit another church, I count how much Scripture is proclaimed or read throughout the service. How much is the Word which is able to make one wise to salvation saturating the service and how much is man’s words covering everything. We want to have the same priorities in our public worship that God does, we see that priority when the Psalmist wrote, “I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.” (138:2)

May the words of the writer of Hebrews resonate in our church and hearts:

"For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." – Hebrews 4:12