Here are the closing words of Phil Towner’s very helpful article, “The Function of the Public Reading of Scripture in 1 Timothy 4:13 and in the Biblical Tradition.”

In view of the diverse media with which modern societies spread their messages today (e.g. television and internet), and in view of the ready access most believers have to these media, the need to ensure that measures are taken in the church to reinforce Christian identity is all the more urgent. We are also called to live out a distinctively Christian witness within the world, not separate from it—so, putting distance between us and the competing messages and values is not an option. But where within the maelstrom will the church find its solidifying and anchoring sense of identity as God’s people? It must come through a shared participation in the symbolic and spiritual activities that we practice when we gather for worship. The lesson to be learned from 1 Timothy 4:13, and the background that informs the exegesis of this text, is that the deliberate public reading of Scripture (according to a schedule or plan of some sort) is one way of rehearsing the acts of God in behalf of his people and his creation and finding and renewing our identity-center in that story over and over again. It takes only a minimal amount of honest reflection to reveal how easily we are attracted to other competing stories (and value systems) for our sense of identity.

The full article can be found here.

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