“When the Bible is read well, it can minister as deeply as Spirit-empowered sermon,” so claims Jefferey D. Arthurs in his book, Devote Yourself to the Public Reading of Scripture. Even more he lays out a case in his book how this can be done and how it needs to be done.
I appreciate how Arthurs lays out a vision for public reading of the Bible in comparison to a feast, a take off of Eugene Peterson’s, Eat This Book (another great read). Arthurs isn’t demanding, but he is passionate and persuasive. Instead of Scripture reading being an afterthought to the worship service, he approaches the reading of God’s Word with intentional thought to read it and to read it well.
Amid the practical tips on how to read publicly, there is also a foundation built for the value of reading publicly — connecting the Biblical world with the world of today and how the reader is the bridge for that connection. My favorite part of the book was chapter 2, “Setting the Table”, especially the APACT prayer of John Piper as well as understanding the importance of mental and emotional preparation in reading the Word.
Amid the numerous techniques to improve one’s reading, I appreciated his wisdom to not use them solely to use techniques. The purpose is to focus on the Word, and the powerful message that Word brings into the life of its listeners.
An added bonus to the book is the DVD that shows and highlights how the techniques are actually done. It’s one thing to read how to read in public, it’s an even greater impact to see and hear how that reading is done.
I give Devote Yourself to the Public Reading of Scripture 5 out of 5 stars. This is a great tool for pastors to improve this part of their preaching, and for those who read God’s Word in public in the worship service to do so with a greater appreciation for the task they do and to improve their own reading techniques in doing so.
My thanks to Kregel Publishing for providing a free copy to read in exchange for an unbiased review. My thanks to Jeffrey Arthurs for lifting up the value of the public reading of God’s Word and providing tools for all congregations to do that work with higher quality that honors God and those who listen and live that Word daily. Check out the table of contents here and pick up a copy to grow in your own public reading of God’s Word.