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The Bible is the most influential and powerful book in history.
It tells the story of what God is doing for us and through us – with Jesus Christ as the center. Our kids need to listen to God’s Word to hear Him speak, live out His Word, and grow closer to Him. One way to do this is through the public reading of Scripture.
Are you looking for ways that your child can start reading the Bible or be more consistent with it?
Maybe you are looking for a way to help your child get started reading the Bible or be more consistent with it. With the busyness of life, many of us (not just our kids) struggle to maintain this important habit. Is there a strategy for getting into God’s Word that provides accountability, simplicity, and a biblical foundation for our kids?
There is. Let me introduce you to the public reading of Scripture.
The public reading of Scripture is the simple but powerful practice of gathering together and listening to God’s Word read out loud. This biblical practice helps you remember:
First, the public reading of Scripture is a communal experience that is done as a group. So you can participate as a family and strengthen your relationships by listening to the Bible together. Second, it is regular, meetings at least once a week to establish a rhythm of listening to God’s Word. Finally, it is extended, meaning your family will listen to entire chapters or books of the Bible to understand verses in context.
In 1 Timothy 4:13, the Apostle Paul encouraged his young friend Timothy to be devoted to the public reading of Scripture. The Bible provides this model for us when, repeatedly, God’s people come together to receive His Word as a community.
The public reading of Scripture is a tradition that started all the way back when God delivered the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. After God saved them, the Israelites gathered and listened as Moses read God’s law to them for the very first time. This public reading of Scripture defined Israel’s story as God’s people. The Israelites didn’t have Bibles they could just carry around to read. The public reading of Scripture was a huge privilege. Being the only way people could hear God’s Word., anticipation and wonder filled this event.
Some other biblical examples include:
“And all the people gathered as one man into the square before the Water Gate. And they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses that the Lord had commanded Israel. So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, both men and women and all who could understand what they heard, on the first day of the seventh month. And he read from it facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand. And the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law.”
“Then the king [Josiah] sent, and all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem were gathered to him. And the king went up to the house of the Lord, and with him all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the priests and the prophets, all the people, both small and great. And he read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant that had been found in the house of the Lord.”
“And [Jesus] came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. As was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’ And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’”
Jesus also told us that every word of God is like food to our souls. So, by listening to God’s Word regularly, your kids will get the food they need to grow strong in their faith. Like a delicious meal, listening to God’s Word together can fill us up with strength, nourishment, and delight. By listening to the Scriptures, we gain understanding, guidance, joy, love, and peace. That’s why Paul told Timothy to be devoted to the public reading of Scripture.
Here are a few ways you can start with the public reading of Scripture.
We’ve created a 30-day public reading of Scripture plan for the whole family, featuring characters from Adventures in Odyssey! Listen along as Whit, Connie, and Jason from the Adventures in Odyssey series read to you from God’s Word. Each reading is the perfect length to listen to during a family meal, car ride, or anytime! To access this free reading plan, simply follow the instructions below for your preferred platform:
If you already have an account on the Focus on the Family app:
If you do not have an account on the Focus on the Family app:
If you ARE already an Adventures in Odyssey Club member:
If you ARE NOT already a Club member:
If you’d like your family to start listening to the Bible read to you in its entirety, check out the Public Reading of Scripture website. They have full, dramatized Scripture readings with different lengths to choose from to fit your schedule. Create an account (it’s free!) and start listening on mobile or the web.
© 2021 by Focus on the Family. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible.
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