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The Historical Development of the PCA Book of Church Order

Chapter 50 : The Public Reading of the Holy Scripture

Paragraph 4 :

50-4. How large a portion shall be read at once is left to the discretion of every minister; and he may, when he thinks it expedient, expound any part of what is read; always having regard to the time, that neither reading, singing, praying, preaching, nor any other ordinance, be disproportionate the one to
the other; nor the whole rendered too short, or too tedious.


[Digest: The current text dates to 1975 [M3GA, 3-15, Item 2, p. 57. The substance of the paragraph can be found in that composed and adopted by the Westminster Assembly Divines in 1645.]

Antecedent Texts:
PCA 1975, M3GA, 3-15, p. 57
How large a portion shall be read at once is left to the discretion of every minister; and he may, when he thinks it expedient, expound any part of what is read; always having regard to the time, that neither reading, singing, praying, preaching, nor any other ordinance, be disproportionate the one to the other; nor the whole rendered too short, or too tedious.

PCA 1973, Part III - The Directory for the Worship of God, III-2
Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, Proposed text,
and
PCUS 1933, DfW, III, §311.
How large a portion should be read is left to the discretion of the minister, who should have regard to the time, that neither reading, singing, praying, preaching, nor any other ordinance, be disproportionate the one to the other.

PCUS 1925, DfW, III-2 [31.]
How large a portion shall be read at once is left to the discretion of every minister; and he may, when he thinks it expedient, expound any part of what is read; always having regard to the time, that neither reading, singing, praying, preaching, nor any other ordinance, be disproportionate the one to the other; nor the whole rendered too short, or too tedious.

PCUS 1894, III-3
How large a portion shall be read at once is left to the discretion of every minister; and he may, when he thinks it expedient, expound any part of what is read : always having regard to the time, that neither reading, singing, praying, preaching, nor any other ordinance, be disproportionate the one to the other; nor the whole rendered too short, or too tedious.

PCUSA 1789. DfW, III-1
How large a portion shall be read at once, is left to the discretion of every minister: however, in each service, he ought to read, at least one chapter; and more, when the chapters are short, or the connection requires it. He may, when he thinks it expedient, expound any part of what is read; always having regard to the time, that neither reading, singing, praying, preaching, or any other ordinance, be disproportionate the one to the other; nor the whole rendered too short, or too tedious.

PCUSA, 1786, DfW, 2d Draft
[differs from PCUSA 1789 only by capitalizing "Minister"]

The Directory for the Publick Worship of God; agreed upon by the Assembly of Divines at Westminster, 1645, III-4 & 8
How large a portion shall be read at once, is left to the wisdom of the minister; but it is convenient, that ordinarily one chapter of each Testament be read at every meeting; and sometimes more, where the chapters be short, or the coherence of matter requireth it.
When the minister who readeth shall judge it necessary to expound any part of what is read, let it not be done until the whole chapter or psalm be ended; and regard is always to be had unto the time, that neither preaching, nor other ordinances be straitened, or rendered tedious. Which rule is to be observed in all other publick performances.

OTHER COMPARISONS:
RPCES 1973, Directory of Worship, VI-2
The extent of Scripture read at one occasion is to be left to the discretion of the minister. He should read as much at one time as will clearly give to the worshippers a complete account of the Scripture portion selected, pertinent to the reason for its choice. The minister, having regard to the time, should see that neither reading, singing, praying, preaching, or any other ordinance, be disproportionate one to the other, nor the whole rendered too short, or too tedious.



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Chapter Index [links to Par. 1 of each chapter]:
FoG..
1
2
3.
4
5.
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
I. King & Head of Church
.§1.
§4
§5
RoD
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
II. Preliminary Principles
§1
§2
§3
§4
§5
§6
§7
§8
DfW
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59
60
61
62
63
[FoG = Form of Government ; RoD = Rules of Discipline ; DfW = Directory for Worship]