Reading the inspired words of Scripture aloud to and in the congregation is too often a subject met with indifference in our churches. How often do we read Scripture for the sake of reading Scripture? When we read Scripture, do we read with respect, gravity, and attention to detail? Indeed, considering our failings along these lines, we need to read the Scriptures aloud more often, and we need to read them aloud more effectively! This is an important point for those of us who support and promote the King James translation as the one Bible that we should use. Do our actions actually accord with that affirmation? Does reading the Scriptures seldom and sloppily declare loving and honoring the Word?
In the King James Version, we have a Bible that was translated with an “ear” for its hearers. The title page (see HERE) tells us that it is “Appointed to be read in Churches.”[i] The first printings by the King’s Printer Robert Barker were large folio pulpit Bibles (about 16 inches tall).[ii] Even enemies of the King James Bible often recognize its sonorous sounds for remarkable reading to the ear better than its friends. The Anglican-turned-Catholic Frederick W. Faber wrote, “It lives on in the ear like a music that can never be forgotten, like the sound of church bells which the convert hardly knows he can forgo.” [iii] “The KJB has rhythm, balance, dignity, and force of style that is unparalleled in any other translation,” declares modern Bible and texts proponent Daniel B. Wallace.[iv]
We preachers can make a mess reading aloud.[v] If we believe the King James Version is God’s Word, it behooves us to treat it as such, honor it, and to read it out loud to the best of our abilities.
We need to read aloud more often.
The Scriptures, in both the Old and New Testaments, emphasize reading the Scriptures aloud, as well as being ready to hear “when thou goest to the house of God” (Exodus 24:7; see also Ecclesiastes 5:1). Jesus himself stood up to read the Scriptures aloud in the synagogue (Luke 4:16). Paul charged the first Thessalonian epistle be “read unto” others (i.e. aloud, 1 Thessalonians 5:27). The book of Revelation pronounces a blessing on “he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy” (Revelation 1:3). See also Deuteronomy 31:11; Joshua 8:34–35; 2 Kings 23:1–2 (Cf. 2 Kings 22:8); Jeremiah 36:13; Colossians 4:16; 1 Timothy 4:13.We need to read aloud more effectively.
“And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things.” (Justin Martyr, First Apology, Chapter LXVII)