If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.
Command and teach these things. Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.
(1 Timothy 4:6-16 ESV)
In the highlighted phrase above it is clear that Paul is talking about reading Scripture allowed publicly in the congregation. Something all churches should do, and something that seems to be rare now-a-days.
I want to take a different approach to the idea above though, on the individual Christian reading Scripture publicly. As I haven’t been working for the last four months, and even before I lost my job, I would go to a restaurant to eat and read the Bible. While I hadn’t done so in an attempt to evangelize, but only because it is comfortable and convenient, I have found it does have some interesting results.
I am approached by believers who tell me how good it is that I am reading the Bible, and in public, as if that was a challenge in America? And, more so, I am approached by people who aren’t Christians, who seem to show an interest in hearing what I have to say. And, on occasion, I see people who are offended by me reading the Bible silently to myself. Those are the fun ones!
It has brought about interesting conversations, with some hearing the Gospel, some being convicted that they aren’t reading the Bible, and some asking for a recommendation to a good church. It clearly isn’t a substitute for one-on-one evangelism, but it does open the door for conversations where the Gospel can be shared, it is convenient (we are all reading the Bible daily anyway, right?), and it gives an excuse to sit in a restaurant and sip a glass of tea.
Do you read the Bible in public? Have you had any interesting conversations because of it?