A Brief History of Scripture Reading

The reading of Scripture has been a significant part of both Jewish and Christian worship, an appropriate liturgical priority for a religion that is based on God’s revelation. This article traces the history of the reading of Scripture in worship throughout the history of the church.

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Scripture Reading in the Old and New Testaments and the Early Church

In the assemblies of the early church, the Scriptures were read to the congregation by a lector, or reader. This practice was modeled on that of the synagogue, wherein the Old Testament Scriptures were read aloud every Sabbath by a reader appointed from the congregation. The practice of the synagogue, in turn, had developed from the ancient concept of a literary document as something recited, rather than something read silently from a manuscript.

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