In this second post in the series Reading the Scriptures – How, When and Why? I will focus on different methods for studying the scriptures – not specifically different techniques but rather different attitudes of heart.
Reading the scriptures – we all say it is a priority in our Christian lives but few of us take the time or put in the effort to make it really effective. We often read the scriptures without a clear sense of what we plan to get out of it. We want scripture on the go for life in a whirl people. For some it has become rote obedience rather than God seeking desire and we rarely evaluate our efforts so have a false sense of how effective they are. No wonder many of us slip away from the faith when we face trials and temptations that undermine our rather shallow foundations.
So my challenge to all of us today is to take time to evaluate our use of the scriptures.
- How much time and energy do you give to reading the scriptures on a daily or weekly basis. Do you hunger for its “food” in the same way that you hunger for physical food.
- Do you really reverence the Bible as the living word of God or do you read it as an intellectual exercise?
- Do you read the scriptures as a way to transform your life or do you see them as a way to justify your life as it is?
- Do you memorize scripture so that specific come to mind when you are in a place of spiritual or emotional crisis?
There are many ways to read the scriptures from inductive bible study to lectio divina. Often the method we use depends on our faith tradition. Some churches love inductive, formative studies that dig into the theological meaning of the words. Others prefer the more informal intuitive methods. No matter which method we use, what we get out of reading the scriptures depends on our attitude of heart and the purpose, conscious or unconscious, with which we study and this is primarily what I want to focus on here. In the next few days I will explore several methods possible approaches to Biblical study that I have been thinking about. These include:
- The listening mode
- The study mode
- The strengthening mode
- The equipping mode
- The community forming mode