The best way to learn something is to just give it a go. Now I’m not suggesting that you tie some ropes around a tree and jump off the nearest waterfall to learn how to bungee jump. I want that to be clear because I don’t want a lawsuit on my hands.
What I do mean though is that it’s through trial and error that things really sink in. We need people to guide us when learning certain tasks, whether that’s through a teacher, an expert or even through a youtube video. We can’t just change a car battery unless you know what it looks like and how it fits in and which parts it connects to and so forth. Once someone shows you and is with you as you try it the best way to learn is to then give it a shot yourself and when you make a mistake you will be ready to fix it next time. If someone fixes it for you may have a working car battery but will you have the practical experience of fixing it yourself?
I think reading the Bible is a bit like changing a car battery. There are parts of it that seem so complicated and so over our head (and there are) that we need someone who knows what is being said, what it meant for the original readers and how to translate Greek.
People who know how to study the Bible are so important. People like NT Wright, Rob Bell and Bob Ekblad have given me tools, resources and ideas of how to read the Bible that will forever help me understand what it all means.
But sometimes what I need is to just read it for myself.
That’s why I use Lectio Divina, an ancient way of reading scripture through meditation.
It is a way of experiencing God’s presence through scripture. It is a way of letting God speak to you right where you are. Through reading, contemplation, repetition and prayer you can experience God through the Bible more acutely than you may be used to.
Some people talk about it as letting the Bible read you.
Some of the most powerful times I have experienced God have been through Lectio Divina. It is a tool that I love using and opens up new ways of understanding what I am reading.
These past few weeks I have been applying Lectio Divina to the Psalms. Taking one a day. Reading it slowly and a few times. Then praying about the words that stand out as I let God speak to me right there.
It takes practice. It takes time. It might even be really boring at first.
But it transforms our minds so that we see God is with us and don’t have to go looking for him. He’s already there. Then throughout the day as I pray over the phrases and words I have an acute sense that God is here. Not distant waiting for me to call Him and ask for a favour, but here.
At your desk. In your conversations. At the drive thru. Putting your kids to bed. In an argument with your wife. While brushing your teeth.
Being open to hearing and feeling God in all moments and not just at 6am beating yourself up that you haven’t spent any time with God lately.
It opens up the world and our life in ways that can truly transform how we see ourselves and others.
Reading the Bible can be frustrating and it can feel like this ancient book that people tell us is living is kind of hibernating. That’s where feeling God’s presence through praying over the scripture can change things. Where it can bring alive God and His word in new, exciting and fascinating ways.
Taking God out of the ‘quiet time’ box we’ve been taught to put him in every morning.
Taking the spiritual and the secular and realising all of a sudden that they’re not too different.
In fact they can be the same, if we just showed up and realised,
God was here all along.
Really enjoying this series. NT Wright, Dallas Willard and Richard Foster are my reliables. Have had Lectio Divina recommended before; now, will give it a go. Thanks.
Thanks for reading Susan. Glad you have been enjoying the posts. Yeah you totally should, has really been a game changer for me. And ditto to Willard and Foster!
Any Psalm or other verse you recommend starting with?
I was reading 5 a day for a while but just doing one now so I can carry it through the day with me easier. I just started at the beginning.
Thanks, Paul. New season, new way to pray. Bless you.