A powerful way to edify your church

Rod Long/Unsplash

“Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.” — Revelation 1:3

Normally, before we preach through any book of the Bible at our church, we have an introductory sermon. For longer books I preach an overview sermon, and for shorter books I will read the entire book and preach a shorter sermon.

As we were preparing to preach through the book of Revelation this year, Revelation 1:3 continued to come to mind. I thought about how amazing it would be to read the entire book of Revelation as a church, but my hesitation came from its length: 22 chapters, 404 verses, 11,472 words (in the English Standard Version). However, after reading it aloud (which took almost an hour, much longer than my 35-40 minute sermons), I couldn’t be happier that we did or more confident in our decision to do so. We knew this would be a new experience for many, so we shared four reasons with our church as to why we did:

Scripture is God’s inspired, inerrant Word

1 Timothy 3:16-17; Hebrews 4:12
While I am full of excitement to preach the depths of God’s truth from Revelation over the next few months, this is better than any sermon I’ll ever preach. I’ll be honest: reading this book will take significantly more time than an average sermon. But there is no better use of your time than to spend time reading God’s inspired, inerrant Word.

Publicly reading Scripture is biblical

1 Timothy 4:13
The public reading of God’s Word is modeled in the Old and New Testament (Exodus 24:7; Deuteronomy 31:10-13; Joshua 8:34-35; 2 Kings 23:1-2; Nehemiah 8:3-4; Luke 4:16-21). In fact, in Nehemiah 8, Ezra read the law to God’s people from sunrise to noon. But it’s not just a biblical practice that brings blessing: it’s a biblical command (Colossians 4:16, 1 Thessalonians 5:27; 1 Timothy 4:13).

Reading entire books brings understanding

Luke 24:27, 44-45; Acts 8:30-35
Each book of the Bible is a complete literary unit. Therefore, knowing what happens in the book provides context to help us understand each smaller part within the whole. Not only should we read books completely, but reading the whole book in one sitting furthers our understanding of the content and purpose of each book and how it fits into the larger story of Scripture.

Faith comes from hearing God’s Word

Romans 10:17
God’s Word is powerful, for by it the universe was created (Genesis 1). And while creation declares God’s glory, God’s Word is what revives the soul (Psalm 19:1-7). This is why the Holy Spirit inspired men to record the 66 books: “That you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:31).

After reading this book, we received numerous words of encouragement from members and visitors. Even though it took almost an hour to read the book, everyone’s ears were tuned and their eyes were glued to the page (especially the youth). I cannot wait to see the fruit this will bear on our church in the coming months and years.

Pastors, read entire books to your church on Sunday mornings. It may take a long time, and you may need to change your service around a little bit to allow for more time. But it will edify, strengthen, encourage, challenge, and bless your church. You won’t regret it.

Michael Visy
Grace Church, Hewitt
Most Read

Bradford appointed dean of Texas Baptist College

FORT WORTH—Carl J. Bradford, assistant professor of evangelism and occupant of the Malcolm R. and Melba L. McDow Chair of Evangelism, has been appointed dean of Texas Baptist College, the undergraduate school of Southwestern Baptist Theological …

Stay informed on the news that matters most.

Stay connected to quality news affecting the lives of southern baptists in Texas and worldwide. Get Texan news delivered straight to your home and digital device.