The Bible has much to say about wise and fitly spoken words. Ecclesiastes 12 says, “…the Preacher also taught the people knowledge; and he pondered, searched out and arranged many proverbs. The Preacher sought to find delightful words and to write words of truth correctly….”
Proverbs 25 says, “…A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.”
The Bible also says in I Timothy 3:16 that “…All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for instruction, for conviction, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, fully equipped for every good work.…”
Reading the Bible Aloud
The scriptures have been inspired by God and are written in many literary forms such as history, stories, poetry, wise sayings, prophecy, letters, drama, history. The Bible is great literature filled with rich literary forms and devices for the ear, as well as for the mind, heart, and soul. The auditory appeal of the scriptures helps the listener experience and appreciate the awe of God and provides mnemonic devices which helps listeners memorize and meditate on the scriptures.
Very few readers deliver literary devices with all their engaging power. However, when the Bible is read aloud articulately but naturally with an understanding of the context and attention to appropriate words to be emphasized, the Bible can come alive for listeners and remain in the hearts, souls, and minds.
A few basic speaking skills go a long way to captivate the attention of listeners and to compel them to apply what they have heard. These basic skills include speaking in the front of the mouth, using the articulators actively, and using vocal variety that involves rich, wonderful, engaging sounds and auditory patterns that enlighten and enrich understanding of words and texts.
Tips for Powerful, Effective Delivery of Text Reading
Primarily, audiences need to be able to understand what they hear. Listeners cannot understand the true depth and meaning of the Bible if they have trouble understanding the words that are being spoken.
1-Articulation and Projection
Speakers should strive for effective vocal delivery that involves vocal clarity and good articulation.
Effective articulation involves production of clear vowel and consonant sounds. Clear vowels are produced on open breath, which is unimpeded by articulators and shaped by the oral passage. Incorrectly articulated vowels are often due to not opening the mouth enough. To artfully speak fully open, articulated vowels, think of opening the mouth more vertically than horizontally as you speak. Properly produced vowels are open, rich sounds.
It is important to articulate each sound in a word correctly and clearly. Each syllable should be spoken effectively so that each word is understandable and pleasant to hear.
A speaker should work to develop vocal variety. As it is informed by the text, vocal variety can be produced with appropriate adjustments and variations of tempo, rhythm, pitch, volume, and quality.
To engage audiences and to keep them captivated, speakers should establish justified vocal patterns that include variations. A pleasing voice is flexible, relaxed, colorful, strong, liquid, expressive, and varied. Vocal patterns should not stay static but should build in intensity in the rising action of scenes. Vocal patterns help establish setting, style, emotion, mood, and scenic development.
It is critical to use correct, standard grammar that is accepted by educated people. Good American and English speakers study the language rules of English. There are three important, basic elements of good speaking: ethos- credibility, logos- logic, and pathos- emotion. Nothing can hurt credibility more than using incorrect grammar.
It is important for credibility and engaging speech to pronounce words correctly. Using correct grammar and pronunciation facilitates speakers’ credibility, influence, and persuasion.
Effective speakers realize that vowels and consonants can sound differently in various contexts and combinations of sentences. They strive to accent stressed syllables in words. They are aware that some letters should remain silent. Effective speakers realize they can’t rely on spelling alone for correct pronunciation for many reasons.
Good readers and speakers understand that not all phrases and sentences are equal in terms of importance. Further, they understand which phrases, clauses, and sentences to speak with vocal stress. Skillful speakers determine which words, phrases, and clauses are keys in the sentences of their texts and stress only those key words, phrases, or clauses.
Telling the Stories of the Bible
Our Lord used stories to capture, captivate, and compel listeners. His stories and those of other Biblical storytellers, such as the Prophet Nathan and King David, engaged, sustained, and maintained the attention of listeners, as well as motivating them to take appropriate, significant action.
Effective stories begin with critical experiences or turning points for the main characters. These crises commonly involve counteraction of the characters’ desires. Conflicts with the desires, intentions, or motivations of the characters can come from within, from others, or from the characters’ environments.
Opening, critical scenes usually create in an audience suspense and a desire to follow the story through the outcome. The focus is always on the characters. The stories reveal the characters’ struggles. They describe action. The storytellers are careful with dialogue. They must know where the problems or tensions are for the characters. The storytellers develop scenes, which visually show the struggles of the characters. These scenes are ones of crisis and of significant action.
Effective stories have emotional appeal to hearts, consciences, and morals. Effective storytellers appeal to the senses and imaginations of audiences. Good storytelling builds in intensity to the critical turning point of the story and ends with a strong point that will have a lasting, important impact and will motivate significant change for eternal good.
Hearing the Word
Hearing the Word clearly and being captivated by a skillful reading of the Word is critical for salvation and the growth of believers. Throughout the Bible, we are admonished to speak the Word and are given examples of speakers who were skilled and persuasive.
“How then can they call on the One they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the One of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach? …” (Romans 10:14)
As was his custom, Paul … reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Messiah had to suffer and rise from the dead. ‘This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Messiah,’ he said. Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and quite a few prominent women…” (Acts 17: 2)
It is up to readers of the Bible to speak to it according to its literary forms and devices to convey the content accurately and to maximally captivate and compel listeners.