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Son Build Me A House Church Resources

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Public Reading Calendar

Casting Lots RANDOM BIBLE
VERSE GENERATOR
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Public Reading

The public reading of Scripture is a commanded activity for the people of God; they are to read it while assembled/gathered for instruction, upbuilding, and the equipping of Yahweh's holy ones in performing all good works and revealing our historical identity.

Doctrine
  1. Until I come, pay attention to the public reading, to exhortation, to teaching. 1 Timothy 4:13 (LEB)
  2. 9 So Moses wrote this law, and he gave it to the priests, the descendants of Levi, the ones carrying the ark of the covenant of Yahweh, and to all the elders of Israel. 10 Then Moses commanded them, ⌊saying⌋, “At the end of seven years, in the time of the year for canceling debts during the Feast of Booths, 11 ⌊when all Israel comes to appear before⌋ Yahweh their God at the place that he will choose, you shall read this law before all Israel ⌊in their hearing⌋. 12 Assemble the people, the men and the women and the little children and your aliens that are in your ⌊towns⌋, so that they may hear and so that they may learn and they may revere Yahweh your God, and ⌊they shall diligently observe⌋ all the words of this law. 13 And then their children, who have not known, they too may hear, and they may learn to revere Yahweh their God all the days ⌊that you live⌋ on the land that you are crossing the Jordan ⌊to get there⌋ to take possession of it.” Deuteronomy 31:9–13 (LEB)
  3. 8 All of the people gathered as one to the public square before the Water Gate. They asked Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses that Yahweh had commanded Israel. 2 So Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly for each man and woman to hear with understanding, on the first day of the seventh month. 3 He read from it facing the public square before the Water Gate from dawn until noon that day, opposite the men, women, and those with understanding. The ears of all the people were attentive to the book of the law. 4 Then Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden podium that had been made for the occasion. And beside him stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah on his right. On his left was Pedaiah, Mishael, Malkijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam. 5 Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, because he was above all of the people. When he opened it all the people stood up. 6 Then Ezra blessed Yahweh the great God, and all of the people answered, “Amen! Amen!” while lifting their hands. Then they bowed down and worshiped Yahweh with their noses to the ground. 7 And Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites were teaching the people from the law while the people were in their places. 8 So they read the book from the law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that they could understand the reading. 9 Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all of the people, “This day is holy to Yahweh your God. Do not mourn nor weep.” For all of the people wept when they heard the words of the law. Nehemiah 8:1–9 (LEB)
  4. 16 All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, 17 in order that the person of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16–17 (LEB)
Exegesis
  1. 1 Timothy 4:13
    1. no exegesis yet
  2. Deuteronomy 31:9–13
    1. the context for the reading of Scripture is the gathering of the church/assembly (primarily public).
      Show Exegesis
      11 ⌊when all Israel comes to appear before⌋ Yahweh their God at the place that he will choose, you shall read this law before all Israel ⌊in their hearing⌋. 12 Assemble the people, the men and the women and the little children and your aliens that are in your ⌊towns⌋, so that they may hear and so that they may learn and they may revere Yahweh your God, and ⌊they shall diligently observe⌋ all the words of this law. </span>
      11 ἐν τῷ συνπορεύεσθαι πάντα Ἰσραὴλ ὀφθῆναι ἐνώπιον Κυρίου τοῦ θεοῦ ὑμῶν, ἐν τῷ τόπῳ ᾧ ἂν ἐκλέξηται Κύριος, ἀναγνώσεσθε τὸν νόμον τοῦτον ἐναντίον παντὸς Ἰσραὴλ εἰς τὰ ὦτα αὐτῶν· 12 ἐκκλησιάσας τὸν λαόν, τοὺς ἄνδρας καὶ τὰς γυναῖκας καὶ τὰ ἔκγονα καὶ τὸν προσήλυτον τὸν ἐν ταῖς πόλεσιν ὑμῶν, ἵνα ἀκούσωσιν καὶ ἵνα μάθωσιν φοβεῖσθαι Κύριον τὸν θεὸν ὑμῶν, καὶ ἀκούσονται ποιεῖν πάντας τοὺς λόγους τοῦ νόμου τούτου· Deuteronomy 31:11–12 (Lexham LXX Int Swete)

      The use of the verb ἐκκλησιάζω (to hold an assembly) is fitting. This is the verb used to create a gathering/assembly, or as the LXX translates it: an ἐκκλησία (ekklēsia) The linguistic choice of the LXX is echoed in the usage in the NT. The association between the "church/assembly" of God's people AND the written Scriptures is ancient, preceding the birth of the Church by at least hundreds of years.

  3. Nehemiah 8:1–9
    1. ezra alone had the actual scroll; so he was the only one actually reading from the scroll, and he was reading in hebrew
      Show Exegesis
      ...They asked Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses that Yahweh had commanded Israel. 2 So Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly for each man and woman to hear with understanding, on the first day of the seventh month. 3 He read from it facing the public square before the Water Gate from dawn until noon that day, opposite the men, women, and those with understanding. The ears of all the people were attentive to the book of the law. 4 Then Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden podium that had been made for the occasion ... 8 So they read the book from the law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that they could understand the reading. NEHEMIAH 8:1–8 (LEB)

      the phrase "they read" is explained by the verb קרא (qara) in hebrew. The verb literally means to "call out"; it is figuratively applied to the act of reading in ancient times, because the vast majority of people were illiterate and thus required a literate person to "call out" to them what was in the text.

    2. All the other levites were only translating Ezra's reading into the vernacular of the people (not instructing them): aramaic
      Show Exegesis

      ...And beside him stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah on his right. On his left was Pedaiah, Mishael, Malkijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam. ...7 And Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites were teaching the people from the law while the people were in their places. 8 So they read the book from the law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that they could understand the reading. NEHEMIAH 8:1–8 (LEB)

    3. The format alone (the elevated podium, reading the original text in Hebrew, the translators translating Hebrew into Aramaic in pockets on the ground, the people listening) seems to allow no space or time being afforded to questions.
    4. The Israelites are engaging in ritual behavior by listening to the reading of the Torah; i.e. context of the reading is cultic, not simply didactic. I do not think they were permitted to interrupt.
  4. 2 Timothy 3:16–17
    1. no exegesis yet
Tradition

Here are some traditions surrounding public reading of Scripture :

  1. We read the Scriptures out loud in gathering on a yearly cycle. Our annual cycle currently includes the Torah, the Prophets, the New Testament, and the Psalms.
  2. We apply attentiveness to the public reading of the word by seeking to "minister to it," sitting at the feet of the Scriptures as Mary sat at the feet of Yeshua. In contradistinction to Mary, in attending to the public reading, whilst seeking the rest of Shabbat, we seek to NOT EMULATE Martha by avoiding kitchen/prep/food/cleaning work that is not to the direct and dire service of one of our weak (e.g. a toddler pee-peeing on the floor, someone spilling a drink on themselves, etc.).
  3. During the public reading, we enforce no particular posture, though many are encouraged (raising the palms, davaning, closing the eyes, standing anything that engages the listener with the text, etc.).
  4. In orbiting the weakest among us, the children and the disabled, we encourage
    • creative postures (e.g. sitting in lap, laying, holding the weak and pacing/moving etc),
    • doodling activities (e.g. drawing book, doodling, color books, etc),
    • special seating (e.g. quiet rocking chair, lounging in comfy bean bag, using a yoga mat, etc.)

Public Reading Calendar

Here is a calendar of the weekly public readings of scripture.

Footnotes

  1. ἐκκλησιάζω
    ekklēsiazōhold
    an assembly morphology: VAAP-SNM verb, aorist, active, participle, singular, nominative, masculine
    hold an assembly, debate therein, convene ἐκκλησιάζω — hold an assembly (10×) Hebrew Alignment קהל—assemble; summon; gather (9): Lev 8:3; Num 20:8; Dt 4:10; 31:12, 28; 3 Kgdms 12:21; 1 Ch 13:5; 15:3; 2 Ch 5:2 כנס—gather (1): Es 4:16 Inflections LALS [variant reading] LEB, ESV, NASB95, NIV, NRSV, KJV 1900, NLT, AV 1873, LXX Swete having assembled LES

  2. ἐκκλησία (ekklēsia). n. fem. church, assembly, congregation. A group that meets together for various political, religious, and civic purposes. In Graeco-Roman culture, an ekklēsia referred to a political assembly. The Septuagint uses the term to translate the Hebrew word קָהָל (qāhāl), which means “assembly” or “congregation” and often refers to Israel’s religious gatherings. The NT use of ekklēsia reflects both of these uses of the term, though it probably deliberately applies the image of Israel’s congregation to the gathering of believers. In the NT the term can refer to a local or universal body of Christians. On the whole, Acts uses the term to denote a local community comprising those who embraced the gospel preached by early Christian missionaries (e.g., Acts 9:31). During the conflict of Paul and the Ephesian artisans, this council is referred to as an ekklēsia (Acts 19:32, 39, 40). The term is rarely used in the gospels (Matt 16:18; 18:17), but is fundamental to the imagery and theology of the letters in the NT. Paul uses ekklēsia in the universal, regional, and local sense of the term. It is a place where the “saints” gather (1 Cor 14:33; 16:1; 2 Cor 1:1) and is itself sanctified (1 Cor 1:2). It is a gathering where the spiritual gifts of the members are demonstrated (1 Cor 12–14) and financial support for the universal body of believers is collected (Rom 16:1; 2 Cor 8–9). In a universal sense, it is regarded as the “bride” of the Messiah (Eph 5:25) and the body (or flesh) of the Messiah (Eph 1:22, 23; 5:23, 29; Col 1:18, 24). In 1 Timothy, the church has the specific nuance of a larger household, charged with caring for the social outcasts (e.g., 1 Tim 3:5, 15; 5:16). Revelation uses the term exclusively to refer to the seven churches in the region of Asia.
    Davis, D. L. (2014). Assembly, Religious. D. Mangum, D. R. Brown, R. Klippenstein, & R. Hurst (Eds.), Lexham Theological Wordbook. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.