As I have been leading worship over the last 10+ years, one thing that I have started trying to incorporate more is the reading of scripture. In some venues, I have little time or freedom to speak; in other venues, I have great freedom and flexibility to do so. In either case, though, I have found that the scripture will say what needs to be said far better than I can on my own. Whether I am reading a passage verbatim, or paraphrasing passages that I have committed to memory, I have much more confidence in those transitional, spoken-word moments if I am speaking scripture than if I am offering my own thoughts and reflections. There’s certainly a place for both; I am just speaking of my own personal experience of course.
I hold a strong conviction that we need more scripture and less commentary in the corporate gathering today. I am often struck in small groups and Bible studies by how much time is devoted to the voicing of individual opinions about the Word (whether those of the members of the small group, or of the author of the material itself). Certainly group discussion has its merits, but we seem much less interested in finding out what God Himself has said clearly in His word than with what we perceive His Word to be, even if we’ve spent very little time searching it out ourselves! I think this tendency carries over into our private quiet times as well; we are often more willing to read the commentary notes in our study Bibles, or a good devotional book by a Christian author than we are willing to spend dedicated time in the Word itself. I can say this because I find this tendency in my own life at times. We have become dependent upon having the Word of God parsed for us rather than learning to listen to the Holy Spirit as He speaks to us directly through His Word. Small wonder that most of our congregation has not cracked their Bibles until the corporate gathering. Amidst this dynamic, the last thing we need in the corporate gathering is more commentary; we desperately need to read the living Word itself with the Holy Spirit its only interpretation!