August 22, 2018 | by: 0 Comments|
Brothers & Sisters,
This past Sunday in our study of Deuteronomy 31, I made a big deal about the reading of Scripture (both public and private). It may surprise you – then again, maybe it won’t – that I didn’t say everything I could have possibly said on the subject. If you’ll recall, I mentioned that the Apostle Paul instructed young Timothy to give himself to the public reading of the Word until Paul arrived (1 Timothy 4:13). We have every reason to believe that Timothy did just that. What is more, we have every reason to believe that from very early on local churches regularly read the writings of the New Testament authors as God’s Word in their assemblies. Consider what Michael Kruger observes in his book The Question of Cannon:
While it is not always easy to determine whether a manuscript is designed for public or private use—these are not absolute categories that can be entirely separated from one another—a number of our earliest New Testament manuscripts exhibit features that suggest they were designed for public reading. Although it may come as a surprise to us in the modern day, most ancient books were not designed to make the reading task an easy one. Colin Roberts observed that, ‘As a rule Greek manuscripts make very few concessions to the reader.’ However, Scott Charlesworth has shown that it is precisely in this area that our New Testament manuscripts, even as early as the second century, are distinctive. Not only do they often contain a number of reading aids (for example, sense breaks, diaeresis, rough breathing marks, punctuation points, accents), but they often have much few lines per page when manuscripts were designed ‘to ease the task of [public] reading aloud.’ If so, then we have further confirmation that by the middle of the second century, these writings were functioning as Scripture in the context of Christian worship. --Michael J. Kruger, The Question of Canon: Challenging the Status Quo in the New Testament Debate (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2013), 172-73.
Since this was practice by saints of Old, and commanded in the New, at ABC we will, by God’s grace, continue to give ourselves to this privilege and powerful practice. As is often said at the conclusion of the public reading of God’s Word in various churches around the world, “May God add his blessing to the reading and hearing of his Word.”
Warmly in Christ,
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