When you hear Scripture read aloud, how does it affect you? When was the last time you heard the Bible actually read aloud? If you're a church-goer you probably hear it read at some point in the service. Do you hear it read any where other than there? If you do hear it read in the service, how is it read? Is it the entire congregation reading it together? Is the Pastor or someone else reading the passage to you? If so, how do they read it? Does it sound exciting and engaging? Or, does the reading sound fairly plain...like it's being read to simply set up a sermon?
Over the last few weeks I've been reading Max McLean's book Unleashing the Word and it has had a strong impact on me. McLean who is best known for his recorded readings of the Bible makes the case that too many churches do not value the public reading of Scripture. He makes a strong Biblical and historical case to show the great power of the public reading of God's Word. For centuries much of humanity was illiterate and they were dependent upon God's Word being passed down orally. With this in mind, much of the Old Testament was written to be read aloud in story form. Many of the New Testament letters were written to be read aloud when the church gathered corporately. Yet, when I hear Scripture read in services it is usually read only in short segmented verses and it often lacks very much passion or zeal. Certainly we don't want to go too far and make our corporate Bible reading a performance every Sunday morning, but shouldn't there be something that grabs our attention as we hear God's Word read? I know there are times when I view Scripture very differently after I've heard it read aloud rather than when I've read it silently. To a greater degree the Bible comes to life when I hear it read aloud.
Think about those questions listed above. Let me hear from you. I wonder if you think much about the impact of hearing God's Word read aloud.