Monday, October 27, 2008

On Reading the Bible to the Congregation

One word--preparation. First, you should look over the passage. Are there any words you doesn't know? Then you need to look them up and learn how to pronounce them. Are there names? Ditto. (On this point, I would recommend that anyone who is going to read Scripture in public should purchase a "self-pronouncing" edition of the KJV and learn how to use the diacritical marks for the pronunciation of names.) Third, look at the punctuation of the passage. Where are the commas, the semi-colons, and the periods? These tell you where the pauses are. Fourth, practice. Read it aloud to someone. Try to follow the rhythm of the text, pausing and stopping where the punctuation indicates, and stressing important words and phrases. Have your listener critique your reading. Then you are ready to read the passage to the congregation.

One further note on names. If you mispronounce them, do so boldly, with certainty in your voice, and without stumbling. The one or two people who know how the name is pronounced will value your lack of stumbling, and the rest won't know the difference.

2 comments:

Adam said...

An adult woman was baptized recently in our congregation and she gave a brief testimony which contained a short reading of the Scriptures. Do you think this reading of Scriptures by a woman is appropriate?

Jeff said...

One further note on names. If you mispronounce them, do so boldly, with certainty in your voice, and without stumbling. The one or two people who know how the name is pronounced will value your lack of stumbling, and the rest won't know the difference.

I experienced that this past weekend. I was reading in Gen. 11, but not intending to read 10-25. Thankfully there are only two or perhaps three that are somewhat difficult. :)