Reading with Passion

I recently listened to a number of sermons in John’s Gospel by Pastor Mark Dever while traveling here to Afghanistan. If you’ve not had the benefit of this man’s teaching I’d like to cordially invite you to Google the name and download away. As I was listening to him I noticed something lacking in my own teaching. It is something sadly lacking in many places. It was the way he read the text he was to teach on with an intended passion and depth. There was warmth in his voice and a passion in his diction that was very inviting. He wasn’t just reading a book. So often when we read the text it sounds far too much like an encyclopedia or technical manual. I’m not talking about performing Shakespeare here, but he read the text like, I don’t know, like he’s reading the living word of the living God. After listening to him I went and read some text on my own with a similarly focused desire to read it with passion. It was refreshing and appropriate. I would define what I’m talking about here as somewhere between a user’s manual and the way you might read your young children a Christmas story.

     Pastor Dever’s warmth reminded me of what Scripture says of Jesus before the group became violent in Jesus’ home town of Nazareth. I like the way the NASB says it: “And all were speaking well of Him, and wondering at the gracious words which were falling from His lips…” Luke 4:22. Like a river this Greek word can mean. Consider whether or not your reading of God’s word could ever be confused with something gracious? We should have great passion for the word of life. Perhaps we can show it a bit more in our audible reading of the text. It’s just an appropriate posture I think. God’s word should fall from our lips as the very overflow of heaven. We should reflect in our voice what we feel in our hearts toward the book.

     It’s certain that not all texts evoke the same tone, but all text should perhaps evoke a tone appropriate to it. I imagine a similar passion and warm invitation to what I heard in Pastor Dever’s voice in John’s when he wrote: “What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life— 2 and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us— 3 what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4 These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.” 1 John 1:1-4.

     We are reading the word of God. It is a privilege to do so. I invite you to read it with passion to esteem it like no other text on earth. 

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