Why Do We Read Scripture?
Reading scripture goes back to the earliest days of worshiping the Lord. Moses read the scriptures, newly written, to God’s people to instruct them in worship and in how to relate to their God (Ex. 24:7). Joshua continued the practice (Josh. 8:34) as did the righteous kings of Israel (2 Kings 23:2). This pattern continues into the New Testament as we see Jesus Himself reading scripture in the synagogue as a part of Sabbath worship (Luke 4:17ff). Clearly reading scripture is an important part of the worship service, but why?
We believe that “All scripture is inspired by God and is profitable...” (2 Tim. 3:16) The Scriptures are the very words of God. When they are read God speaks directly to us. Reading scripture shows our submission to His words and our willingness to sit under God as the One who “gives wisdom, from [whose] mouth come knowledge and understanding.” (Prov. 2:6) God also commands us to do this regularly as a part our worship. In 2 Timothy 4:13 the Apostle Paul instructs Timothy, the pastor of the church in Ephesus, to “...devote yourself to the public reading of scripture”. Whenever we hear scripture read or participate in a corporate reading we worship in obedience and receive from God that which is “living and active” (Heb. 4:12) and which always accomplishes the purposes of the Lord (Is. 55:10).
All of this is affirmed by our statement of faith found in the Westminster Confession of Faith. In chapter 11, section five, we read that “The reading of the Scriptures with godly fear, the sound preaching and conscionable hearing of the Word, in obedience unto God, with understanding, faith and reverence... are all parts of the ordinary religious worship of God.” We believe what we believe because we believe the Bible teaches it. That is why we study the Word, preach the Word, pray the Word, and read the Word together.