Read. Study. Memorize. Meditate. Recite. Most of us are aware, at least to some extent, of the power and importance of Scripture in our own lives as we practice the aforementioned disciplines. We know that God’s Word blesses and sanctifies us as we spend time in it. But, if you are like me, you may not have thought much about why it is important to proclaim God’s Word to others publicly. But that is a crucial part of what God intended His Word for. By proclaiming, I don’t mean preaching the Word, as in expounding on it and expositing it (although that is an important and powerful way that God uses Scripture in our lives), but I mean simply reciting the very Word of God to others, and letting them speak for themselves. So, let’s dive into four reasons why sharing God’s Word by proclaiming it to others is not only beneficial, but vital.
First, reciting the Word brings glory to God. How exactly? His Word is the primary way we learn about Him and come to worship Him for who He is. There are many verses in the Bible telling us about the character of God and why He is worthy of worship. For example, in Revelation 4:10-11 we read “The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” (Revelation 4:10-11). Scriptures like these lead us to worship by causing us to recognize the worthiness of God. By expressing God’s worthiness publicly through His Word, we bring glory to Him.
However, the majority of verses in the Bible don’t explicitly state any of His character qualities, so how do those verses glorify God? The entire Bible is a story: the true story of God and humanity. As we read the story of creation, the fall, and redemption and everything else that happened in between, we see attributes of God like holiness, mercy, sovereignty, love, justice, creativity, power, and goodness (among others) abundantly demonstrated by the way He interacts with us. When God parted the red sea, He demonstrated His majestic power over all of creation, and we see His loving faithfulness in the lives of His children as He provided a miraculous way for them to escape. Or, when God struck down Anais and Sapphira for lying we see His wrath, His righteousness, and His omniscient justice. Even the sections that are tempting to consider “boring” and “irrelevant” (like genealogies) teach us about God and the world He created. In genealogies, for instance, we can see God’s sovereign plan to eventually bring a Savior into the world through the family line of a king by carefully preserving that line through thousands of years. Whenever we recite Scriptures we proclaim things about who God is and how He established the world, whether they explicitly mention God or not, and by focusing our hearts and minds on God, we bring Him the honor He deserves.
The second reason to publicly proclaim the Word is for the benefit of other believers. While it’s easy to view Scripture as personal, intended to be read in nice, neatly-packed, 20 minutes a day personal devotionals, much of the Bible was written to be read aloud in group settings. Most of the New Testament is comprised of epistles written to churches, where these letters would have been read to the congregation; much of the Old Testament is either history written down so it could be passed from generation to generation accurately, or discourses (like the prophets) intended for entire groups, and sometimes entire nations. Scripture is replete with calls to proclaim, declare, speak, praise, make known, and preach the Gospel – all of these involve communicating about God to others. As children of God, we are called to comfort, edify, encourage, and admonish each other: what better way to do it than through Scripture? Whatever someone is experiencing, whether it is tragic or joyful, miraculous or mundane, discouraging or encouraging, God’s Word has something to say about it. When we recite Scripture, we provide an opportunity for God to speak to fellow believers through His Word – what a beautiful, powerful influence!
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” (Colossians 3:16)
Besides benefitting believers, it is also good for unbelievers to hear the Word proclaimed. God uses His Word to convict and change hearts, and it is through His Word that we come to know Him. Paul points to the power of Scripture to save souls as the reason he endured so many trials and continued to share the Gospel.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16)
Finally, while proclaiming the Word makes it less about us and more about God and others, it is still good for us. Because the Word is so powerful and transformative, any time we spend in it, whether reading or reciting, will impact our own hearts.
“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
There have been multiple times when I was reciting a passage, and suddenly a phrase or a verse that I’d read or recited countless times before stood out to me in a completely new way. Not to mention all the time spent working on a passage until it is memorized well enough to recite it is precious time spent in God’s Word, investing in the treasures of eternity. I encourage you to focus on the Words you are reciting instead of allowing your mind to wander to other topics; God will use His Word to work in your heart and mind, even if you cannot see it at the moment.
What a wonderful privilege we have to be able to memorize the Word of God, and then proclaim the Word to others! Not our words, or our interpretation, but the Word of God itself. It is important to recognize that none of these benefits come through us; rather, God uses His Word to accomplish His ends, and He is gracious enough to use us as vessels of His Word. So let’s take those opportunities to glorify God gratefully and joyfully, and make God known through Scripture. What opportunities do you have to proclaim God’s Word this week?
Written by NBB Alumna: Janese Hurst