Ep 63: Public Reading of Scripture
Okay, hi there tom and Vicky with it’s all greek to me. And today we’re gonna look at the public reading of scripture. We’re gonna study this most important subject. And according to paul first timothy chapter four and verse 13, it was one of three things. The public reading of scripture and exhortation and teaching, but the first one was the public reading inscription. Most people didn’t know how to read. So this was so important to hear what God had to say. And Vicki and I are gonna uh study this together with you join us for this half hour. So we want to talk about the public reading of scripture. It’s a big subject, but it’s very little known in the modern day Galicia, New testament church and Vicki, we’ve had a big problem in new york city, which is probably the heart of the pandemic. It’s now over two years with Covid. And churches have shut down. Uh they do a quick zoom on on the internet. Many churches don’t do that, many churches have closed down. And I was just wondering, you know, your concept of church or your concept of church, what church is all about. You know, there’s a variety of things. There’s the there’s the brethren churches where people uh late people can actually be involved and run it. There is a presbyterian church which is based on synods and uh the prez bitter, which is the elders, there are baptist churches and methodist churches and press. But you know, all different kinds, the roman catholic and greek, Orthodox church, the lutherans, all these different denominations, thousands of them in fact, and what their concept is in church polity or what they how they practice and do church church worship uh preaching, teaching the type of church. It is whether it’s big celebration, I mean, so let’s just talk a little bit about that. You know what, what you feel about the the flavor of a church service for me these past two years have been difficult because uh a lot of churches have put themselves under the authority of the government. To the point where you have to have a mask, you have to take their temperature, they have taken away our freedom for me to come and worship the Lord and we are not under the authority of government. We have the right to worship to get together and worship God. All churches have that privilege. You didn’t, you didn’t really mean that we’re not under the authority of government. We, I mean, you know, we we are under the authority of government. When the government speaks to what it’s uh focused on, but when they speak and demand to take the place of God, like jesus said render to caesar, what is caesar’s and to God, what is God, that’s that’s really what we’re talking about here. Yes, the government has a place, they they are. You know, it’s it’s one authority in our life, just like the family is one authority in my life and just like the church is another, these are the three authorities in our life and the government cannot supersede the church government and and the and what the bible has to say about how to worship God and went to worship God and where to worship God and so forth. That’s what you mean. Yes, I did mean that I also meant that we have to be authoritative in the truth of the constitution. We live in America right here. Right. And so we can go by the constitution. These are our privileges granted to us by our government. That’s the First Amendment, the freedom of religion. Yes. Yeah. Yeah. We’re going to look at that as well. But let’s look at the public reading of scripture. Where does that fit in church? You know and I want us to look at that. We’re gonna look at first luke chapter 4 16 through 21. If you’ll go ahead and read it. And he came to Nazareth where he had been brought up and as was his custom, he entered the synagogue on the sabbath and stood up to read on again Osco and the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him and he opened the book and found the place where it was written. The spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind and to set free those who are oppressed to proclaim the year of the Lord. And he closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him and he began to say to them today, this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing. So this is one of the places where the public reading of scripture took place From Isaiah 61 and Jesus declared himself to be the one that it’s talking about. The attendant. Here is the word apparatus which is literally literally an under rower and that has a specific place or position or task which is attendant concerning the scriptures. To take the scriptures to the pulpit to take the scriptures back from the pulpit and put them away. Let’s continue on a unesco from ana up again, intensifying genesco to personally know properly to know again through reading and a T Robertson christians in their public worship followed the jewish custom of public reading of the scriptures. In Second Corinthians 3 14, the church reader, the agnosticism or the Lector gradually acquired an official position and john expects revelation to be read in each of the seven churches of the bible mentioned in Revelation 14 and elsewhere. Today the public reading of the bible is an important part of worship that is actually in many churches that I have visited, poorly done in Acts 13 15 after the reading which is the word on a gnosis of the law and the prophets, the synagogue officials and that is the word nina, the arch, the top person in the synagogue sent to them saying brethren. If you have any word of exhortation, Barak policies for the people say it. So it was, it’s important to note that in the first century the synagogues were not run by one person preaching and another person teaching Men would would be able to freely go up and to the pulpit area and be able to read a passage of scripture like we read from Jesus, uh that what he read in Luke chapter four here is the Apostle paul going to a brand new location and and they’re asking literally they’re inviting the people in charge of the synagogue saying to paul brethren, if you have any word of exhortation para classes, which is really the we get the word Paraclete or or a defender, a public defender, Somebody who is also inspiring in in what he is saying, defending the word that was spoken. Isn’t that the same word for the holy spirit? It is the same word for the holy spirit, that one who is called alongside of to help us and and to encourage us and to exhort us and to defend us and for the people. They were asking this of these visitors, the apostle paul just got there. It’s amazing to me that this was the custom of that day, keep going And according to Paul’s custom his ethos. He went to them and for three Sabbath’s reasoned the lego me with them from the scriptures. The graffiti. Yeah. So dialogue, he would he would have discussions with them, Second Corinthians 3 14. But their minds were hardened poro from poros, a kind of marble hardened like marble literally their minds for until this very day at the reading on a gnosis of the old Dahlia, the Afeaki, the old covenant, the same veil calima or covering remains unlisted because it is only removed in christ and again the word anna gnosis. The public reading of scripture. When they’re reading the scripture. Even in the in the first century when this was written to the Corinthians, there were actually two synagogues in Corinth. They’ve discovered the ruins of both. They were, it was a huge city bigger than Athens actually. And uh and and so they were doing this back in the first century. As you can see right here as Paul is writing to the Corinthians. Okay, and go ahead Vicki first timothy 4 13 until I come give attention Prosecco to the public reading of scripture on a gnosis, to exhortation and teaching. So this is probably the main verse that has really touched my heart. And let’s just continue to see the commentary that I wrote God is in the midst of his people giving light and revelation and divine insight. The invisible God uses his people speaks to his people through his word as it is publicly read verse by verse chapter by chapter. God is in the midst of his church which he purchased with his own blood. He speaks to his people in a special unique and different way from preaching and teaching by public reading of scripture and diagnosis. And it is God speaking directly without and without. And the force of an emphasis through the preacher or the teacher as the word of God is publicly read in the midst of Gods people, God impresses and speaks individually and diversely to each one, giving knowledge and wisdom and faith, encouragement and strength in most churches today. This command is not followed reading a verse or a few verses for the purpose of introducing a thought for the exegesis and exposition is not the public reading of scripture as it is meant in the old testament for instance, it is abundantly clear that this was a large poor apart in portion of God’s word was being read several chapters and even books. It was lengthy in time as well as text. The intent was to hear learn absorbed the principles commands priorities and insights from God directly to his people. In most of the cases, the response of the hearing was Brokenness, repentance, prostration, prayer for forgiveness, etcetera. Uh this is, this is what I gathered as I read these passages of scripture. There are three things that paul tells the church. You notice them there Vicky until I come give attention Prosecco to the public reading of scripture on diagnosis and two exhortation and to teaching. Uh these three things were number one, the public reading of scripture was like one third of what was told to to be done. Now this doesn’t mean it was one third of the time, but this was a priority. And it was the first one there because this was God speaking with what was already inspired and written by those who were moved by God to write it. And so everyone could hear because not everybody could read. So now the people that didn’t know how to read, we’re able to do that. The second one was exhortation, paralysis which is also the same word for the holy spirit, the Paraclete or the public defendant. And this was somebody who would speak the word, encourage the people come alongside of and give light to what was read. And then teaching the vast Scalia which is somebody who can organize the truth of what was said into patterns of practice for the people. Let’s move on First Timothy 4 13 until I come give attention to the public reading of scripture on a gnosis Prosecco again, to exhortation and teaching Prosecco is from pros towards an echo to have properly have towards to give full attention to setting a course and keeping to it Prosecco is to pay attention to it was a familiar nautical term Used in antiquity for staying on course, going in the right direction. A key factor for every day in our sanctification, this is a present imperative, keep on doing this. Do it as a lifestyle. Yeah. What’s interesting about this is the acts 242 tells you the way the church grew, it says, uh, you know, that, that they were supposed to, you know, observe very carefully, you know, that the church was too give themselves fully to the the apostles doctrine, the fellowship, the breaking bread, the prayer and the apostles doctrine were was red. So here they were, they were commanded to make sure that they didn’t deviate in any other things. The church is not for current events. The church is not for uh, primarily socializing. Although you do socialize there, The church is not primarily for uh, you know, songs and yes, there’s worship. Yes, there’s a lot of stuff. But here are the four things that you cannot do without. Number one, the apostles doctrine, what we believe, number two, uh, not just the apostles dot fellowship, you know, to be able to realize we’re a family Breaking bread. That’s transparency. Making sure that I’m right with God and number for prayer, really humility, crying out to God for help. And here in the epistles that explains that this word Prosecco literally a nautical term means to don’t deviate again to something else. # one public reading of scripture, number two bureaucracies, which is expounding and expressing and encouraging and igniting and energizing that what you’ve just heard to come alongside of and to continue to do that. And then of course the Scalia putting it in a pattern that helps me understand what God is saying and how I can unpack that in my life in a teaching for myself, so I can grow anything else you want to say about this before we go on. I just like the thought of it becomes our new lifestyle, lifestyle. It’s our lifestyle. It’s going to change our old patterns and our old lifestyle because we say, well that is not really helping me to grow in christ to be uh not only a disciple from myself, reading the word of God and going to church and listening to the word of God, but now I’m commanded to make a disciple. Yes, yes. More exciting public reading of scripture. Make sure even if you don’t go to church, get your family together, stand up in the midst and just read the scriptures, whether it’s the book of Ephesians, colossians, Philippians or a larger book like romans. Could you imagine reading the book of romans over us three week period or four week period. Public reading of scripture. So people could understand really what God has to say. God bless you. We’ll talk to you the next time with it’s all greek to me. So the question you ask is what did Jesus do? And what does the Lord Jesus want me to do. And that’s why we went to Luke chapter four verse 16 through 21 and saw that he went to the pulpit in his synagogue and he read the scripture that was given luke 4 16. Actually, it says that it was Isaiah 61 he began to read that passage of scripture and stopped at a certain point and then told them that he fulfilled that in their hearing. Of course they couldn’t believe it. And he made the statement that a prophet is not without honor except to his own family, his own community, his own people. But I want to go to uh now to what 80 Robinson says about the public reading of scripture, christians in their public worship followed the jewish custom of public reading of scripture. Second Corinthians 3 14, the church reader on a good hostess, Lecter, gradually acquired an official position which was referred to as the apparatus, the attendant. But that was a specific job that took care of it in luke 4 16 there and john expects um, in the book of revelation that the church is the seven churches were to read everything in the book of revelation. This was something incredible. Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy and heed, the things which are written in it. And and so we know that this was a practice in the new testament. Church let me just uh go down in the old testament. We jump back to the public reading of scripture that was commanded by moses. This is an important thing. Notice how they weren’t concerned about time. They wanted everyone to be there, even the Children, the women, everyone noticed. So moses wrote this law and gave it to the priest, the sons of Levi who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord and to all the elders of Israel. Then moses commanded them, saying at the end of every seven years, at the time of the year of remission of debts at the Feast of Boots, When all Israel comes to appear before the Lord your God at the place which he will choose. You shall read this law in front of all Israel in their hearing, assemble the people, the men and the women, the Children and the aliens who is in your town in order that they may here. And that was the most important thing to hear and learn and fear the Lord your God. And be careful to observe all the words of this law. Now listen to verse 13 and their Children who have not known will hear and learn to fear the Lord your God. As long as you live on the land which you are about to cross the jordans to possess. This was really important. God wanted everyone. This was the priority. Stand. Listen, the Children, the women, even the aliens people that maybe came from another world, another place where they were learning a different worship with malek or some other idle Now that we’re gonna listen to exodus Leviticus numbers, Deuteronomy. It was amazing that this was going on. The public reading of scripture is seen again With Joshua in Chapter eight verse 34 and 35. Then afterward he read all the words of the law. Now when it says all the words of the it means all the words of the law. Every word is inspired from God. The blessing and the curse according to all that is written in the book of the Law. There was not a word of all that moses had commanded, which Joshua did not read before. All the assembly of Israel with the women and the little ones and the strangers who were living among them. I mean, you know, you read this thing well, yeah, but was it everything that moses said, it actually specifies it and explains that yes, it was. And the Children, I wonder what the Children would do, who’s doing junior church, who’s taking care of the little ones. You know, there’s a lot of questions when you you’re going to read the Bible for five minutes, people start saying, Oh you’re taking too long. You’re gonna pray for your meal or you’re taking too long. We have lost consciousness of the seriousness and the priority that we should have in our life for God’s word to publicly move across the minds of all the people that we are responsible for and that we love. And um then you have the public reading of scripture again with Nehemiah 81 through 12. Now I’m not gonna read all of it, I’ll just read a portion. And all the people gathered as one man at the square which was in front of the Watergate and they asked Ezra described to bring the Book of the Law of moses which the Lord had given to Israel. Then Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly of men and women and all who could listen and understand on the first day of the seventh month and the uh and he read from it before the square which was in front of the Watergate from early morning until midday, Early morning means before this. I mean like as soon as the sun comes up so they could see to read until midday. So let’s say it was even be gracious and say it was eight o’clock, eight o’clock, nine o’clock, 10 o’clock, 11 o’clock, 12 o’clock until five hours. They’re reading the bible in the presence of men and women, those who could understand and all the people were attentive chosen in hebrew talking about the ear and hearing to the book of the law. They were attentive and then again the public reading of scripture with Ezra and Ezra, the scribe stood at a wooden podium which they had made for the purpose. So this was pre thought pre plant build it up higher so he can they can read and and the word would go out above the people so that they would see and hear what is going on. Second Kings 23 verse 12 and three. Public reading of scripture again, I I repeated public reading of scripture, not just read by yourself, not just read with your wife and your family, but with all of the people of God. The public reading of scripture, josias covenant. Now they, you have to remember the word of God was hidden under all the money it says and hill ca found it underneath the you know she brought they found it underneath all the looted says they brought it out, the priest brought it out and gave it to josiah the king. And he read it personally by first he heard it and then he ripped his clothes off, he ripped his robe right off and he was he was weeping and repentant and then he decides in Second Kings 23 1 through three to do this in front of all the people and the king sent and they gathered to him all the elders of Judah, end of Jerusalem and the king went up to the house of the Lord and all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with him and the priests and the prophets and all the people both small and great. And he read in their hearing all the words of the book of the covenant which was found in the House of the Lord and the king stood by the pillar and made a covenant before the Lord to walk after the Lord and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all his heart and all of his soul, to carry out the words of this covenant, that of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people entered into the covenant. Now the same. Uh a parallel passage in Second Chronicles identifies some further insight. Then the king sent and gathered all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem and the king went up to the house of the Lord and all the men of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the priest, the Levite, all the people from the greatest of the least. Everyone. It didn’t matter how rich you are, how poor you are, how small you were. This was important for everyone. And he read in their hearing all the words of the book of the covenant which was found in the House of the Lord. It’s just amazing to me that this right here, that is commanded in uh in way in the beginning, in first timothy in first timothy, chapter four and verse 13. The public reading of scripture and or gnosis, the exhortation, the paralysis And the teaching, the did a Scalia. So Paul is telling Timothy in 1st Timothy four and verse 13 until I come give attention in other words Prosecco. Again, it was a a nautical term that meant fix your direction and don’t deviate from it go that way. And the first thing was the public reading of scripture. Now it’s important because again, many people couldn’t read this was the only way they could really be exposed to God’s truth. What does it say in romans chapter 10 and verse 17, Faith comes by what? Hearing and hearing by the word about the messiah, the christ. This is why it’s so important when you hear what God has to say and you hear as a community, God speaks to people individually, one giving encouragement, another re proving another. Giving faith. God speaks to his people differently. And here is we’re clearly taught the public reading of scripture and diagnosis. And then paralysis, Exhortation lifting people up, inspiring people coming alongside of people. That’s what the exhorted does. And then teaching too. To be able to line upon line and uh thematically and systematically be able to communicate God’s principles, insights, commands, instructions, re proofs uh principles and examples of life. That’s what the teacher does. So I just hope that this public reading of scripture, not just for yourself, get your family together at special times, especially during the holidays. And read the scriptures publicly with them. And allow the word of God to inspire faith in the hearts of those that here, it’s all grief to meet with tom and Vicky. God bless you until next time.