1 Thessalonians 5:27
I charge you by the Lord that this letter be read to all the holy brothers.
The solemnity of this charge suggests —
1. The coordinate authority of the Epistles with other portions of Holy Writ. The Old Testament lessons came as messages from God in the synagogue; the New Testament lessons come as the same in the church.
2. The prominent place they should occupy in public worship. Too many regard them as amongst the "preliminaries," and treat them accordingly. Singing, prayer, reading, preaching are each of the utmost importance. If any deserve prominence it is reading, for that is the declaration of the pure Word of God.
I. HOW THE BIBLE SHOULD BE READ IN CHURCH.
1. Distinctly. When mumbled the time is simply wasted, and the people deprived of edification and comfort. Those who protest against their being read in a dead language should beware of reading them in a dead voice.
2. Reverently. Carelessness is a grave fault; it begets careless hearing. The Word read is a savour of life unto life or of death unto death. What a responsibility, therefore, rests on the reader!
3. Impressively. The art of elocution is by no means to be despised. We take all possible pains to impress our own messages on the minds of those who listen. We are pathetic, earnest, persuasive, as the case may be; how much more then should we be with the message from God?
4. Without note or comment. This should be the rule, although there may be exceptions. Comment comes naturally in the sermon. The Bible should be allowed a fair chance to do its own work. "My Word" — not a comment on it "shall not return unto Me void." "All Scripture...is profitable for doctrine," etc.
1. As a perpetual safeguard against heretical teaching. The preacher may err from the truth, but if the Bible be in the reading desk, the antidote is always at hand.
2. As a continual supply of teaching, comfort, and edification. If the preacher be inefficient, the reading of the lessons will do much to supply the want.
3. As an ever-recurring reminder of the duty of searching the Scriptures. It is to be feared that the Scriptural knowledge of multitudes is just what they learn on Sunday.
4. As a constant witness of God's presence in His Church. The speaker is not far away from his speech.
(J. W. Burn.)
Parallel VersesKJV: I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren.