PUBLIC READING OF SCRIPTURE
Public Reading of Scripture helps us remember who God is, who we are, and who God calls us to be. If you try to read through the whole Bible on your own, it’s easy to get sidetracked. Listening in community provides natural community. This is an easy, accessible way for anyone to get into Scripture. Hearing the Bible read aloud offers a different perspective than reading silently. Listening to the words allows us to absorb the content more deeply. To hear someone read God’s Word well is a different experience than to simply read it silently to yourself. A well-prepared and gifted reader can bring out meaning in a text through voice inflection, rhythm, and intonation. A talented reader can present the Word of God to a group or congregation so that the listeners may experience the Bible in a rich and powerful manner. There is something moving about being with other believers and hearing the Word of God read to you as a group that results in a powerful corporate experience that can’t happen when you read alone.
PRS provides a model of faith formation that centers on biblical listening practices rather than dependence upon “a sage on the stage” teaching. As a result, PRS reduces the pressure on designated leaders or facilitators to develop “fresh” insights.
PF Malawi implements this program in 15 prisons as of now in partnership with PFI and Grace and Mercy Foundation. The program was first launched in Malawi in 2019 in three prisons and grew each year.
The program requires a group to be together with one or two facilitators to manage the group while listening to an Audio Bible. The session begin with a Psalm as an opening prayer and closes with another Psalm as a closing prayer. In between, inmates are allowed to enjoy the reading of the bible while following along through their own bibles they receive after completing another program called The Prisoner’s Journey. Two to four chapters are read from the Old Testament and then are given an opportunity to reflect on the just read scriptures before going to New Testament scriptures. Before closing, participants share a light meal that PF Malawi provides.
The program runs 12 sessions that can be completed in 6 to 12 weeks depending on the schedule. Those who attend at least 10 of the 12 sessions graduate with a certificate. 5272 prisoners have graduated from the program since it was launched.