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.
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.