The Scripture Readings

Everything we do as the body of Christ is built around the Word of God.  He revealed Himself to us in a special way through this Word.  First through the prophets, then through the apostles, God revealed to His children who He is and what He does.  We have no greater resource by which we know Him.

This proved to be one of the great foundations of the Reformation, that we trust Scripture above all else.  When Martin Luther argued and debated with the leaders of the church and the empire, he based his arguments and his whole theology on the revealed Word of God.  One of the Pope’s representatives, when pressed, said that he could not prove Luther wrong on the basis of Scripture alone.  That was not enough to change the position of the Pope or his representatives.  But it was enough to cause the former Augustinian monk to stand firm in his faith and stand against both church and empire.

The writer to the Hebrews reminds us of the importance and power of the Word of God.  “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).  And as Paul encourages young Timothy, he reminds the young pastor of the application of Scripture for its hearers.  “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).   God speaks through Isaiah (55:11) to tell His children that His Word is effective: “so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”

Because of the great importance of the Word of God, it becomes, along with the Lord’s Supper, the central focus of our worship.  God has promised to come and to forgive sins through each of these means of grace.  The other parts of the service which change from week to week, called the Propers, are based on the readings assigned for the day.  For each day, there is a reading from the Old Testament (or Acts on the weeks following Easter), a reading from one of the Epistles (or Revelation), and a reading from the Gospels.  Normally, the three readings revolve around a central theme.  This theme forms the basis for the Introit, the Collect for the Day, the Sermon and the Hymns.  In this way, the Word of God shapes all of what we do in a service on a particular day.

It is good for the children of God to read His Word on a daily basis.  While it is beneficial to hear it on Sunday morning, our whole lives should revolve around the Word in which God has revealed Himself to us.  Therefore it is encouraged that each Christian spend some time each day in private devotions, alone and/or with family, especially with children, that they may come to know the greatness of this precious gift of God.