Why do we… ?

Why do we read the Bible in our worship service?

A rubric is a set of directions or an explanation for the conduct of Christian church services. Rubrics ought to be presented briefly and clearly, without rambling or being extraneous.

Rubrics can be helpful in moving from one part of worship to another. A rubric should answer the question, Why are we doing this?… and, Why are we doing it in this particular part of our worship service?

The worship service in our church always includes the reading of the Bible. Our preacher selects a reading from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament, and someone from the congregation will read these selections before the sermon. I was asked to explain why our worship service always includes the reading of the Bible. (Unfortunately, many churches never include the public reading of Scripture in a service.) Here is the rubric I prepared:

The Westminster Shorter Catechism asks

1. What is the chief end of man? Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.

2. What rule has God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy Him? The Word of God, which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy Him.

3. What do the Scriptures principally teach? The Scriptures principally teach what man is to believe concerning God, and what duty God requires of man.

The New City Catechism asks

42. How is the Word of God to be read and heard? With diligence, preparation, and prayer; so that we may accept it with faith, store it in our hearts, and practice it in our lives.

These things we hold as true and trustworthy—for our pastor, our worship leader, the Session, the Board, for me, and for you. Both as individuals and as a community, we live under the authority of God, our Creator and Saviour. When God speaks, as he has done clearly in the Bible, we listen, and we submit to his revealed will, joyfully and readily, more and more so, as we grow in our common faith.

We could pray something like this prayer before the reading and hearing the sermon:

Heavenly Father,

Show me yourself;

Show me myself;

Show me my Saviour.


Reading and listening to God’s written Word is an integral element of our worship. Now let us hear and listen to God’s Word…