South Sydney Anglican Church

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Bible Reading in Church

Bible image Article

Author Matt Johnson


As you prepare to read the Bible publicly in church, remember that this is God’s Word. You are now handling the sword of the Spirit (Eph.6:17); a sword that when read clearly and well has the power to penetrate into people lives, dividing soul and spirit, judging the thoughts and attitudes of their hearts (Heb.4:12). So prepare well and be confident that as you read publicly in church – you are releasing the power of the gospel and that God’s Word will accomplish God’s purpose in church today (Isa.55:11). The following are some guidelines to help you prepare;

  1. Let the text speak to you. In preparation for your reading, linger over the text. Let its meaning seep into your heart and soul. Listen to what the Spirit says to you about it. Let these discoveries drive your delivery.
  2. Divide the text into “thought groups.” While studying the text, block it into related sections, i.e., “Our Father,” “Who art in heaven,” “Hallowed by thy name,” etc. This will help you savor the richness of the text and capture the full meaning of the message in your delivery.
  3. Consider your inflection. Rehearse saying the text in various ways, emphasizing different phrases or words. Try changing your voice inflection or volume at each verb; it will give the reading energy and a sense of forward movement.
  4. Use a pronunciation guide in your preparation. This will ensure you can speak all words in the passage with the same level of confidence.
  5. Use your mic correctly. Ask your sound technician to help you. Podium-mounted mics work best at 6-12 inches from the chin, while hand-held mics should remain less than a fist-width away. Make sure your clip-on or headset mic is not blocked by your clothing, jewelry, or hair.
  6. Match your reading to the culture of your church. You will experience tremendous resistance to a “salesy” or inauthentic reading, or one that seems too much like entertainment. Remember your goal is to draw attention to the text, not the reader. Your personal engagement with the text in preparation (see Tip 1) will be vital to a truly worshipful reading.
  7. Release the passion. Read with the attitude, “I have something wonderful to tell you! You’ve got to hear this!
  8. Keep your body still. Facial expressions and gestures can do more to distract your listener than focus him/her. Body language should only follow what your vocal quality and inflection are already communicating.
  9. Take a breath. Breathing calms and slows you down. Relaxation is key to good speaking.
  10. Practice mic use, transitions, eye contact, and breathing. Authenticity and honest reading do not come naturally—it is a product of good preparation.

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