In answer to the question posed in the last issue: “What form should family worship take?” we promised to make some more concrete suggestions about conducting family worship in this issue. We do that here and in the next issue in connection with each part of family worship.
Scripture reading is a part of family worship that ought never be neglected. That it may be the more profitable each member of the family should have a Bible when Scripture is read. This helps keep everyone’s attention. We would suggest, however, that if the reading is done at mealtimes, the inexpensive editions of Scripture produced by the Bible Societies be purchased so that the family members’ personal Bibles are not ruined.
More importantly, we find it very profitable that each member of the family read a verse in turn or that different members be asked to read a portion of the passage. This, more than anything else, prevents Scripture reading from becoming a formality and helps keep the attention of the younger children.
We ourselves encourage the family members to ask questions as the passage is being read and allow them to interrupt the reading in order to do so. These may be questions about the meaning of a word or about deeper doctrinal and spiritual matters, but by asking such questions the children take an interest in Scripture and its teaching and much opportunity for teaching is created.
This may also lead to further study in that one member of the family agrees to or is asked to look something up or study a matter for the benefit of others when a question cannot be easily answered. So, too, a Bible Dictionary or Handbook should be readily available to help answer questions. In all this, though, the father, who is responsible for the worship, must be sure that things are done in an orderly and reverent fashion.
When Scripture is read, the members of the family, particularly the children, should be asked about the reading to make sure they have listened, do understand, and will profit from the reading. This need not be long and tedious and can be done either during the reading or at the end of it. Especially with younger children this often involves no more than a few questions to insure that they have understood.
In reading Scripture regularly, a schedule, such as those published by the Bible Societies, can be followed or Scripture can simply be read consecutively from cover to cover, perhaps a short passage at the end of each meal that the family is together and another at the end of the day. Our family is presently using a detailed plan for reading the Bible chronologically (copies available on request - four sheets).
In any case, we believe that all of Scripture should be read including the more difficult genealogies and prophecies (II Tim. 3:16, 17). This requires considerably more effort if it is to be profitable, but ought not be neglected.
We believe, too, that the Scriptures themselves ought to be read. There is a place for Bible Story Books and other such materials, but they are not the inspired and infallible Word of God. Only in and through Scripture do the family members hear what God the Lord says to His people (Ps. 85:8).
If we are careful about these things, we will, by God’s grace be able to say of our children what Paul says of Timothy in II Timothy 3:16, 17.
- Volume: 6
- Issue: 22
Rev. Ronald Hanko (Wife: Nancy)
Ordained: November 1979
Pastorates: Wyckoff, NJ - 1979; Trinity, Houston, TX - 1986; Missionary to N.Ireland - 1993; Lynden, WA - 2002Website: www.lyndenprc.org/sermons/
Address317 North Park St.
State or ProvinceWA