Over the past 23 years I have experienced a wide variety of worship gatherings within different denominations and theological perspectives, and one thing I have always found concerning is how little Scripture is used in corporate worship. Of course there are many exemplary churches that use Scripture well in their gatherings, but the liturgy of many churches--especially in my Baptist circles--seems to give much less time and space to the reading of Scripture.
I write this as an encouragement to those churches who have not yet discovered the value of incorporating more of the Bible into their worship services. Because God's word is what revives the soul, makes us wise, enlightens the eyes, and is the means by which God sanctifies us (Ps. 19; Jn. 17:17), we should be eager to give it a prominent place in our worship. While it is common to read the Scripture with the sermon and before the Lord's Supper, I want to suggest 5 more places in worship where the word of God can be lifted up.
The Call to Worship
I know you are tempted to start making all kind of announcements at the beginning of the service, but try to keep those to a minimum, and jump into a reading from a Psalm that sets the minds of the people on God. At Redeemer we begin with a brief greeting to the people and any newcomers, and go straight for a Psalm that was chosen in light of the passage being preached from later in the service. For us this reading can be an entire Psalm or a portion of one.
Leading into Hymns/Songs
Scripture is very helpful for making transitions between portions of the liturgy. I'm not saying we should use Scripture as filler, but as an aid in helping the congregation track with the flow of the service. For example, this morning at our worship service 1 Tim. 1:12-17 was read after one song and led us into another, "Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise." This obviously leads well into the song, but also was "on point" with the focus of that particular worship service.
Before the Offering
The offering in many baptist churches is only preceded by a prayer. But Scripture is a great aid in this act of worship. We should use it to draw our attention to the grace and generosity of God to all men, and particularly to what he has given us in his Son. This also becomes a teachable moment where the congregation is reminded about the nature of biblical giving, as well as the motive for our giving.
As a Corporate Reading
By "corporate reading" I mean reading a text aloud, together or responsively. This is not only another opportunity to hear the word of God, but to stand together and confess the truths contained therein. By the way, check the back of your Baptist Hymnal. Look at that! Responsive readings!
As a Benediction
A benediction is a short blessing that concludes the worship gathering. This is either taken directly from Scripture, or summarizes the truths of certain passages of Scripture. Perhaps the most famous benediction in the Bible is found in the book of Numbers.
There are other ways of incorporating Scripture into our worship gatherings. It was common for the Puritans to read a chapter from the Old Testament and a chapter from the New Testament in their services. Find what will work best for your congregation, and bless them with more of the word.