Our church family has recently started dedicating Wednesday evenings to the public reading of Scripture and prayer. The Lord has recently convicted me of the power that the Word of God has as it is read. (You can read more about that here)
Being a Christian, I believe in the inspiration, authority, and power of God’s Word. However, in practice I have believed more in the power of sermons and preaching than in the power of the Bible itself.
Don’t get me wrong. I believe in the place of preaching. But the power of preaching is in the Word being preached. In the words of Thomas McComiskey, “The Bible has meaning and relevance for those who hear it in faith. It does not need the sermon to give it force (actually the converse is true). The Holy Spirit brings insights to the mind whether we are reading the Bible alone or hearing it’s words in a congregation” (15).
So, our church gathers on Wednesday evenings to read the Word and hear it read. We have read through Galatians, and we will be reading through more books of the Bible. However, this past Wednesday was a special opportunity for our church family. Everyone was given the opportunity to share favorite passages or passages that were used by God to impact our lives through personal study. What a blessing it was to hear the passages and testimonies of God’s work through His Word.
There was one that especially impacted me. One of our missionary couples has been with us since August. They work with local churches on building projects. They are currently helping us with major repairs and renovation. Their work has been a tremendous blessing to us. They are not only encouraging in their work, but in their words of encouragement along the way. This was especially seen as one of them shared 1 Peter 4:8-11 with us on Wednesday:
“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:8-11
God has given us all different gifts. He has given them to us for a purpose – to glorify Him through serving one another.
So, may this encourage you, brother or sister in Christ: Whatever abilities you have, God has given them to you. He has given them to you to enable you to serve His church for His glory. No matter your abilities, your place in the body, or how insignificant you may feel, God has placed you where you are with the gifts He has given you to serve for His glory. You matter to the God who saved you. You matter in the local church body to which you belong. You exist for God’s glory, and He will use you to that end by His grace.
McComiskey, Thomas Edward. Reading Scripture in Public: A Guide for Preachers
and Lay Readers. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House Co., 1991.
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Unless otherwise noted Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.