Thursday, May 14, 2009

We should ditch Bible readings in Church

And replace them with Bible Hearings. It's the same thing essentially, just a different title. But I think the title says a lot. In our church service we always see ourselves as doing things, and it would be far more helpful if when the Bible was read we realised we are actually hearing the words of God being spoken to us then and there. We are the recipients of the word. We don't do anything to it, it is revealed to us.

It's not my idea, but a good friend of mine did it at his church. It was actually the first decision he made as a Pastor there. It apparently upset some people, but I think it's a really good idea.

25 comments:

psychodougie said...

nice idea.

i've been getting a bit antsy of late about the quality of bible reading at our church. and i haven't been able to communicate to people without it sounding like i'm having a go at anyone giving it a go. except it's not about 'giving it a go', it's reading the word of God for the edification, teaching and rebuking of his people.

what about if we weren't told to read along - but were going 'to have the bible read to us'?

i think i get upset because people read the bible in monotone, yet if they were reading a story about spot and the balloon to a 2 year old, would probably be 10x more expressive.

is that too harsh? did your mate say it improved after then? (was that even the issue?)

katierae said...

so... i was at the church when your mate changed it. it didn't realise it had upset people - it made sense to me!

shanerogerson said...

great move Geoff,
we have bible hearings but its interesting how easy it is to slip into the language of reading again

but its worth pursuing if you think that language and how we use shapes culture

Fox said...

nice one. I was thinking of another possible change in title.

How about instead of prayer points we call them expectation points? Does quite have the same ring to it but it is based on ps 5:3 'I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation'.

What do you think?

geoffc said...

@ Katie: ha!, I forgot you were there (are you still there?). Upset may be too strong, but people brought it up.

@ doug: I'm not sure if how the bible was read was the issue, and I'm not sure how things are. I blogged about it because I realised today how badly I treat bible readings. I don't treat it as though God is speaking to me, rather I'm waiting to get to the 'good bit' (the sermon). Maybe that does have to do with how the bible is read

@ Fox: I'd need more convincing. Do you think expectation is what prayer is wholly about? What if we called it "submission"?

geoffc said...

but its worth pursuing if you think that language and how we use shapes cultureI think it does shape culture. Think of how we use the word 'church'!

Belteshazzar said...

Hey Geofro,

Good issue, I think it needs to apply to the situation.

In a literate Church gathering 'Bible reading' seems more important. We are encouraging people to engage their minds whilst reading and hearing the Word of God. By swapping the word reading with hearing people might feel inclined to leave the Bible closed.

In an illiterate church why not call it a 'Bible hearing'? It emphasises that they can hear what God is saying to them. It doesnt make them feel dumb but gives them confidence that God is speaking to them. For in an illiterate church you might want to dramatise the Bible passage or make it visual.

In a mixed literate church you could argue for either or.

On a side note if we call it a Bible reading will this lead to people thinking (maybe not straight away, but maybe create a culture of) the Bible is to be heard in 'Church' and not to be attempted at home?

katierae said...

"By swapping the word reading with hearing people might feel inclined to leave the Bible closed."

is it actually necessary to open your bible while someone is reading from the front?? i actually think its not the act of the congregation reading along that is important - but the act of them hearing God speak to them through his word. for some people sitting back and listening to the words without reading along might be helpful. i think that calling it bible hearing helps to highlight that God speaks through his word not only in the sermon.

Donna said...

Good idea.

I've often thought it was weird that people say that "the word of God" is central in their church, but what they seem to mean in practice is the sermon.

Anything which encourages us to hear the bible better in churches is a good thing.

Giraffe Pen (기린 만년필) said...

Great idea! :)

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