R is for . . .

READ (those verses aloud)

In the craft of writing, reading aloud helps uncover mistakes, from weak sentences to simple typos. Reading the Bible aloud, whatever the translation, is never about finding mistakes though.

First, the Biblical words were passed along by reading aloud, by one person sharing with another. The Bible is not filled with infallible written words that arrived intact and fully formed. The library called the Bible is filled with verses and phrases once memorized “by heart” and frequently sung or dramatically presented. They were first children’s stories, campfire tales and word pictures.

Second, reading it aloud claims community. Read the Bible aloud as part of your prayer time and anticipate God’s communal presence. Read to others, with the expectation that another both listens and questions.

We are a “people of the word,” but the written word was second, while the spoken word—a voice rising to publicly seek and receive forgiveness between individuals or to call for and demand justice from institutions—came long before carefully numbered verses and tables of contents.

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