For centuries, Biblical passages were orally proclaimed with great passion from the hillsides by religious figures. Then came the printing press and books. Now, many Christians receive their scriptural message via a laptop, tablet or smartphone, when they're not in church hearing preachers in person.
Which makes Thomas Meyer a bit of a throwback. He recites from memory entire books and lengthy portions of the Bible as part of the ministry Wordsower Ministries International.
Meyer will be touring Minnesota in June, visiting eight churches where he'll recite the Book of Revelation and other Bible passages. His first stops are Autumn Ridge Church in Rochester and Bible Baptist Church in Otsego this weekend.
"It's ... a dramatic performance of the most famous ... book in the history of mankind," said Meyer, who has a master's degree in biblical history.
"A lot of times when a minister speaks ... 95 percent of what's coming forth is their opinion or interpretation of what is on the [Bible] page. We're speaking exactly what is on the page, with all the emotion ... and everything that goes along with it."
Meyer, who has memorized 12 of the Bible's 66 books, says reciting Revelation usually takes about an hour and "replaces your typical homily or message" at a church service. Those interested in Meyer's schedule or who want to see him recite Revelation can go to his website, thescripturecannotbebroken.com.
For a decade, Meyer has worked with Oregon-based Wordsower Ministries and has traveled to about 500 churches in the United States, Israel and Africa.
Meyer views memorization as a dying art form, less needed in the era of social media and instant Internet access. Which makes his Bible recitations feel "very refreshing" to the congregants he visits. "It's something extremely unique. It holds your attention, so much more than a typical sermon. Because if you're a Christian, you believe the words are divine."
Rose French • 612-673-4352