Would you rather hear someone give a speech or read a transcript of it?
I think most of us would rather hear a speech and here’s why.
Oral communication tends to be more effective than written because it involves gestures, movement, rhythm, rhyme, and changes in tone that provide meaning and keep the hearer interested.
Written words may be more precise, but spoken words have a more powerful effect.
Spoken words can move you.
A message delivered by a voice is more powerful than a written one.
When God communicated with the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, he spoke.
Moses gathered the Israelites at the foot of Mount Sinai to speak God’s Word to them.
The spoken word is the original and essential form of the Gospel.
Jesus went throughout Galilee proclaiming the good news, “The time has come. The kingdom God is near. Repent and believe the good news.”
God’s word was spoken before it was written, and it was written in order to be spoken.
The four gospels were circulated to be read aloud in early Christian worship services.
The Apostle Paul wrote his letters so that they might be read aloud in the churches.
God communicates with us through the ear rather than the eye.
The God of the Bible is one who speaks.
Seeing is reserved for the life to come, not for this life. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Now we see through a glass, darkly, but then face to face.”
Again, Paul has written, “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”
God can speak to you any way he wants, but ordinarily he will speak to you through those whom he has called and sent.
Spiritual growth and maturity come through the ear.
Be thankful for the written word of God, but do not use the written word as an excuse to ignore the preached word.
I have heard others say, “I don’t have to attend worship services because I can always read my Bible at home.”
Having a Bible is no guarantee that you will read it, and if you read it, you will learn that we are called to meet together.
No one is to be a stay-at-home Christian unless he or she is unable to attend, and then we go to them to speak God’s word.
The Bible is a necessary record of what God has said, but the written word should always lead us into fellowship and discussions with others so that we encounter the word that is spoken.
The written word of God is the measuring rod we use to guide our preaching and to determine the legitimacy of the preaching we hear.
Many of our biblical ancestors believed in God without any script. They encountered the word of God by means of a voice, either directly from heaven or, more commonly, through a called individual.
To encounter the word of God in its fullness, hear it proclaimed in a sermon or read aloud in a worship service or Bible study.
BibleGateway.com contains many translations of the Bible which you can hear read aloud.
As author Eugene Peterson has noted, “There are still communities that get along without any written language, but none that survive without speech.”
Speech is that important.
Similarly, while the written word of God by itself has the power to convert and transform individuals, neither that individual nor the Christian community cannot survive without the spoken word.
The Bible is widely available and should be studied daily, but it is better to read it aloud and hear it proclaimed in a public setting.
By God’s grace, that living voice will travel from the ear to the heart, from the heart to the lip, and from the lip to the life.
Long ago, God spoke through the Prophet Isaiah, “My word that goes forth from my mouth, it will not return to me empty, but it will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”