On May 8, 2019, N.T. Wright led four hundred people in the shared experience of the public reading of Scripture at Central Presbyterian Church in the heart of Manhattan.
N.T. Wright: A World-Renowned Bible Scholar
N.T. Wright is an Anglican bishop and the chair of New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of St. Andrews. He is known as one of the world’s leading Bible scholars and is the best-selling author of many books, including Simply Jesus and Surprised by Hope.
Wright was eager to help revitalize the biblical practice of the public reading of Scripture. He said, “When I heard that this project was underway, I was delighted. And when PRS asked me to be part of it, I thought ‘Yes, I need to do this.’”
Introduction by Andy Mills
The evening opened with an introduction by Andy Mills, the executive chairman of Archegos Capital Management. Andy Mills shared that biblical literacy is at an all-time low in the church today, and Christians are thirsty to have more of God’s Word in their everyday lives. Reading the Bible by yourself at home is the expectation, but it is a strategy that has failed us.
Mills explained that when you see examples of Scripture being read in the Bible itself, it is read out loud in community. As Christians, the Word of God is our food, and we are supposed to be consuming it regularly in order to grow. We need extended portions of Scripture, rather than singular verses, to help us grasp the larger themes of God’s Word. The church has practiced the public reading of Scripture throughout its history and has only left this practice dormant in recent times. In order to satisfy our hunger for the Word of God, we need to remember how to receive God’s Word together.
Captivated by Scripture
After this introduction, the collective focus turned exclusively to the words of God.
N.T. Wright served as a guide, offering “program notes” for each passage. He highlighted key themes, whetting our appetites for the Word. The participants listened to forty-five minutes of Scripture through a captivating dramatized audio Bible.
The words of the Bible resonated throughout the reverent environment of the grand stone sanctuary, creating an unforgettable listening experience, and letting the substance of Scripture shine.
The passages included 2 Samuel 7, Isaiah 42, Matthew 27, Acts 4, and 1 Corinthians 15. Psalm 2 and Psalm 22 served as opening and closing prayers.
We Are People of a Story
At the end of the program, N.T. Wright remarked that it is powerful to listen to extended scripture passages together because, “you remind yourself that we are people of a story—not just of a few isolated ideas… You are people who belong within a long, great, extraordinary narrative, and in prayer we learn to find our place within that narrative.”
Experience It for Yourself
Enjoy the video coverage of this event.