Welcome to the Public Reading of Scripture app! Public Reading of Scripture brings the church back to the practice of reading and listening in community.
Reading the Bible in community was foundational to the life of God’s people in the Old and New Testaments. Public readings of scripture served as an act of remembrance and identity formation. This practice is found throughout the Bible from the reading of the Law in the time of Moses to the reforms of the righteous King Josiah and leaders like Ezra, who brought renewal to the people of Israel.
In the time of Jesus, reading the Law and the Prophets aloud in synagogues was a central element of Jewish life. Early Christians maintained this tradition, and the letters of the Apostle Paul were read aloud in their gatherings. This practice was so important to Paul that in 1 Timothy 4:13, he instructed all to “...devote yourself to the public reading of scripture, to preaching, and to teaching.”
Today, you get to share in this practice with your own communities. As God’s people, the word of God is our food. Regularly gathering for extended reading and listening makes knowing and loving God’s word as simple as eating a good meal. May your community grow in knowledge and love of God and be equipped to participate in His work! Thank you for being a part of this movement!
When you facilitate your own Public Reading of Scripture gathering, we have found that it is best to have print Bibles available so that participants can read along.
You can choose a reading plan for 20, 30, 45, or 60 minutes, depending on what seems best for your group. Keep in mind that the Bible takes 90 hours to be read in its entirety.
Within any reading plan, each session starts and ends with a Psalm as opening and closing prayers. Each session also includes an Old Testament reading and a New Testament reading. Our 45 minute and 60 minute reading plans take about two and a half years to read the Old Testament once and the New Testament about two times.
We recommend taking brief pauses between readings so that everyone can prayerfully reflect on what they have heard. These moments are marked within each session.
You will see videos from The Bible Project embedded within each session. These videos are optional, but they provide helpful context, such as narrative structure, themes, and historical background of the book in that session. These videos are engaging and accessible, and they can enrich your group’s understanding of the passages being read.
At the end of each session, be sure to thank your group and encourage them all to join for the next session. Discussing the Bible passages is entirely optional – the most important thing is listening to God’s Word together.