Blog Post

Worship and Scripture reading #1

john m. dettoni, ph.d.

How to read Scripture in a worship service….#1

In a worship service, when people read out loud the biblicaltext, use the Bible not printed program or the projected text on a screen.  You are using the authority of Scripture foryour sermon.  Scripture is the Scripture,aka The Holy Bible!  Using theprinted program or text on the screen is taking the source away from thepeople.  It suggests, it would seem to meever so subtly, that what matters is just the text before the people and notthe whole of Scripture.  You obviouslyare not suggesting that it is o.k. to take portions out of Scripture for asermon.  But it is, in my view, veryimportant to keep pointing to the source of authority, the whole ofScripture.  Thus, using the text on theprinted handout or on the screen is truncating this  -- it may be subtle, but it nevertheless anunspoken communication that what matters is just what is in the people’s handsnow and not the whole of Scripture.  As Isaid, I know you don’t think this, but what you think and what might becommunicated to some people are not always congruent.   So my suggestion: use your Bible to readfrom.  No problem to have the textprinted for the people although it might not be a bad idea to help people toremember to bring their Bibles with them to church on Sunday!  That’d be strange idea for a great many oftoday’s church goers!!