In addition to reading the section of the Bible on which that week’s sermon is based, at MGPC we also sequentially read about one chapter a week from another book of the Bible.
We do this as an application of the exhortation for the Scriptures to be read publicly, and as a recognition that the Bible is not dependent on someone to explain it in order to be understood.
I’ve observed before about the way in which churches that pride themselves on being Bible believing can have less Bible read during their services than churches that seeming have departed from orthodox expressions of the Christian faith.
Stephen Presley writes about the way in which has followed the injunction to read the Bible when the church gathers.
The New Testament, though, gives clear apostolic directives to read Scripture publicly. The Apostle Paul, for example, charges his disciple Timothy to “devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.” (1 Timothy 4:13, ESV). He also commands the church at Colossae to read his letter and then pass it on to the church at Laodicea (Colossians 4:16). The Apostle John urges the public reading of his revelation when he writes, “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear…” (Revelation 1:3, ESV).
Following these examples and exhortations, the early church has always prized the public reading of Scripture. They could not image a worship service without some one reading healthy portions of Scripture drawn from across the canon. The thought that a pastor might read only a few verses (or no verses at all!) and then entertain the congregation for forty minutes with funny stories and pop culture references would strike them as bizarre at best.
On the contrary, the early church believed that the regular encounter with the word of God through corporate Scripture reading was one of the most spiritually formative acts for the people of God.
In the early church, public Scripture reading was also not a mundane exercise done out of obligation, but a vital part of the church’s corporate worship and they thought carefully about (among other things) the passages that were read, the character of reader, and the style of reading.
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