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Read Together

by on May 23, 2013

Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.

– 1 Timothy 4.13

In our information age, it’s difficult for us to even comprehend a time when people didn’t have access to written Scriptures (although there are many places in the world where this is still true). Right now in my office I have several different Bible translations, as well as computer resources full of Bibles, commentaries, and other study resources. Many of us can access the Scriptures on our cell phones and tablets anywhere we go. It’s important to remember that this ease of access is a relatively new phenomenon in the history of the Church.

Because of the limited possibilities for spreading the written word, the Scriptures, both Old and New Testament were meant to be read (and sometimes sung) aloud and in community. Thus Paul tells Timothy not just to devote himself to studying and reading Scripture on his own, but to do so publicly. Paul recognizes that it’s important that Timothy not just spend his own time studying and then take back what he’s learned to the church, but that they too have the opportunity to hear the Scriptures and respond accordingly.

Now that we have individual access to the Scriptures, it could be tempting to think that Paul’s instructions aren’t as important – now we can study and learn on our own, so we don’t need to read it publicly. This is not the case. Reading and studying Scripture in community allows us to learn and grow together, challenge one another, and gain new perspectives on God’s Word. The greatest insights I receive in Scripture don’t come from the commentaries and study guides in my office, but from conversations with fellow students of God’s word.

So whether it’s in your home with your family, small group, Sunday school class, bible studies, youth group, or wherever else – read Scripture together.

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