"He (God) made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testifies to everything he saw - that is the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it because the time is near." (Revelation 1.1b-3)✞
Justin Martyr (100-160 AD) was an early Christian apologist who gave us the oldest known account from his own memory of what a Christian worship service was like. He said that it included the reading of "the memoirs of the apostles" that is the Gospels and the "writings of the prophets" taken from the Old Testaments." The "Reader" of these Scripture passages became in time a very important official office in the Church.
One of Tertullian's (160-220 AD) complaints against heretical sects in "On Prescription against Heretics 41," was the way in which a man could so speedily attain an office as a Reader without any training for it. Tertullian was a respected church leader, apologist and famous for being the earliest writer to use the term "Trinity." He wrote, "And so it comes to pass that today one man is their Bishop, and tomorrow another. Today, he is a Deacon who tomorrow is a Reader."✞
John of Patmos writes that to "hear Revelation words" is to be "blessed." How great a privilege it is to hear the Book of Revelation indeed the whole Bible read out and studied in our own languages. Men and women have died at the stake, been tortured and persecuted in so many awful ways in order to hand on this wonderful Word of God including the Book of Revelation to us. To this day, the task of translating the Scriptures into other languages goes on sometimes in remote and dangerous places. I was reading the other day of the translations underway of the Bible into the Inuktitut language by our own Canadian Diocese of the Arctic. A new Syllabic Cree Bible for Nunavut has also been created in conjunction with the Bible Society.✞
According to Revelation, people who "hear the words" whether, in English, French, Cree or whatever language and who keep them are "blessed." It is a great privilege to hear the Scriptures and to obey. It is our duty but to receive a personal blessing for doing it is the icing on the cake. There can be no real Christianity or indeed a blessing for the one who hears and forgets or deliberately disregards the message of Scripture.✞
Some heretics contend that the Scriptures are not the Word of God, but that only some parts like the sayings of Jesus are. The words of the Holy Scriptures themselves in 2 Timothy 3.16-17 reassure us, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." "The servant of God" in this verse may be translated as "you, a man of God." Those who deny that the Bible is the true Word of God will receive no salvation or any blessing from God. We have God's word on that!✞