Scripture Reading

Scripture Reading

(Here’s an excerpt from an e-mail answering someone’s question on how to re-approach scripture reading after it has lost its excitement and meaning.)

You certainly don’t ask an easy question, but it sure is an important one.

Here are the thoughts I’ve had on making bible reading more effective:

  1. Make it fun.  Get a bible that you like the looks of.  Smell the inside pages and create positive emotions… Find a way to enjoy the actual copy of the bible you have.  We judge books by their covers so why not use that to your advantage?
  2. Find the section in scripture that fits your internal dialogue at this point in your life.  Are you wrestling with God?  Then read the Psalms.  Are you wanting to see more clearly?  Then read Paul.  Are you wanting to see God?  Then read Jesus’ words.  Are you wanting to “get it”?  Then read the Old Testament and get the big picture.  Make the words running around in your soul match the words your reading in the text.
  3. Interact with the text.  Highlight it.  Underline it.  Personalize it.  Make your bible reading dynamic.  Go hunting for a new set of “favorite verses.”  Scripture is a treasure hunt and treasure hunts are fun!!
  4. Pray before you read.  As illogical and paradoxical as it is, I truly believe that scripture is living and that God actually communicates through it.  It’s more than just reading information, but hearing and seeing things that God speaks into your heart.  I know that sounds like religious mumbo jumbo, but it’s true. So pray before you read so that you’re not just mindlessly doing a task, but seeking to make your time in scripture a dialogue.
  5. See scripture as worship.  We’re caught in this mindset that worship is something that only happens with the arts and our emotions.  Singing IS a great way to worship, but reading and using the mind is also a great way to worship.  “Doxastic” practices (ways of praising God) are unlimited even though our culture has a narrow set.  If you can make scripture reading a way in which you are giving back to God… a way of obeying and praising, then the time you spend in scripture will always be meaningful.  It will be an offering.  It will be a gift. It will be your joy in God manifesting itself in intentional scripture reading.

I’m sure there’s more I can say, but at the end of the day it really is about being intentional until we form (or reform) a habit.  And I believe that habits are best formed when we play with the circumstances to make the felt relevance and the felt joy as high as the inherent potential allows.  This is hard if we enter into scripture reading as an old, tired, dull, worn out thing that we’re really familiar with.  It is easier if we hit the reset button and craft it into an art form that is new, adventurous, fun and deeply meaningful.

I hope that helps… it is a subject that I think every Christian wrestles with.



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