Leadership training - Lesson 5

By Stafford North

Reading the Scriptures


To inform the class on the basic techniques for effective Scripture reading so they can read the Scriptures well in public.


  1. Reading the Bible should occupy an important place in our public worship.
    1. Joshua had the law read to the people when they entered the Promised Land-Joshua 8.
    2. Ezra read the law to the people after the Babylonian exile-Nehemiah 8.
    3. Paul specifically told the Colossians to read his epistle and to send it to the Laodiceans so they too could read it-Colossians 4:16.
  2. But today there is not very much public reading of the Bible, principally for two reasons:
    1. Our congregations are no longer accustomed to listening to readings of more than a few verses.
    2. The reading of the Bible is often very poorly done. Subject Sentence: Read and read well.


  1. Select the Passage with Care.
    1. Choose a passage that fits you-one you can understand, one you can feel, and one you like.
    2. Choose a passage that suits the audience-one they can understand readily, one that contains material they need to hear, one that suits their age and spiritual development.
    3. Choose a passage that suits the occasion-one which is the right length for the time allowed, one that is on a subject or theme which fits the special reason for the assembly, one that relates to the subject of the sermon or a song.
    4. Choose a passage that carries a complete thought, not just a fragment.
    5. Gain a Complete Understanding of the Passage
      1. Know the background of the passage: author, context, purpose.
      2. Understand the meaning and pronunciation of each word.
    6. Discover whether the passage tells a story, describes a place or person, makes an argument, offers praise or a
    7. Grasp the central thought of the passage, and determine the basic message you wish to leave with the audience.
    8. Find the mood or moods in the passage and especially note mood changes; this is basic in reading with force and understanding.
  2. Practice Orally Several Times.
    1. Practice while standing and holding the book and have as many of the actual circumstances present as possible.
    2. Concentrate on the meaning as you read and be constantly aware of the type of passage you are reading (See II, C).
    3. Read in phrases or word groups rather than single words, and put emphasis on the words that carry the meaning.
    4. Feel the mood as you read, and be certain to communicate mood changes.
    5. If two or three different people speak in a passage, be sure you help the audience keep the different people clear.
      1. Often the different people will vary in age, position or temperament, thus giving an opportunity to make some distinction in the way they speak.
      2. The mood or state of mind will often be different, thus allowing you to speak faster or slower for one of the persons.
      3. You may sometimes turn your head slightly to one side when speaking for one person and to the other side when speaking for another.
  3. Read with Earnestness and Enthusiasm.
  4. Avoid the Following:
    1. Reading too fast.
    2. Holding the book too high, blocking your face and voice from the audience, or too low, putting your neck in a strain.
    3. Mumbling-speaking too softly or indistinctly.
    4. Over-emphasis on unimportant words.
    5. Distracting posture or movements.
    6. Appearing or sounding artificial.


  1. Let’s make reading the Bible a more important part of our service and let’s be certain to do it well.
  2. Assignment: study and practice the following passages: Luke 18:9-14, Revelation 3:14-22, Psalm 23. (Choose one of these or some other passage of equal length for reading in class at the next meeting.)


Please fill in your name and give to the teacher before you read.

Name ________Passage_____

Did the student pause and look at the audience before starting? Yes No

Did the student hold the Bible so he could see both the book and the audience?

Yes No

Was the volume: too loud about right too soft?

Was the speed: too fast about right too slow?

Did the student mispronounce any words? Yes No

Did the student exhibit any nervous mannerisms? Yes No

The student showed that he understood the passage: Well only partially none.

Did the student read with clarity and force? Yes Some No

Did the student convey the meaning of the passage by using his voice well?

Yes No


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