Last week we began to discuss the importance of spiritual disciplines. Like anything else we do, the spiritual life requires training. As Christians, we train through the spiritual disciplines. This week we continue our discussion on the disciplines by beginning to look more closely at how to utilize and take in every aspect of the Bible.
Created to Be In Relationship
You and I were created to be in relationship. We weren’t created to be alone. We need one another. The Bible is chalked full of stories about the importance of community and having deep, meaningful relationships with others. In fact, in the very beginning, God had pronounced that all of creation was “very good” (Genesis 1:31), but when he saw that Adam was alone he declared, “It is not good that the man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18). So, he created Eve. While human relationships are so vital to each and every one of us, we were created for a deeper and more intimate relationship. We were created to be in relationship with our Creator. Like every relationship, however, our relationship with God is not automatic. I could not have a growing relationship with my wife without regularly communicating with her and she communicating with me. By communicating with my wife, I have the ability to know her on a deeper level and more practically live life with her day-to-day. How is our relationship with God any different? I think there is no difference. We must hear from God and at the same time speak to him. But how can we hear from God when we do not speak to him face-to-face?
God Has Spoken!
Thankfully, you and I we have God’s Word. He has spoken to us. God has chosen to reveal himself to us through his Word. We have the Bible, comprised of both the Old and New Testaments, revealing God to us. While we ultimately know God through his Son, Jesus Christ, the Bible provides us with a diverse and thorough portrait of who God is. So, God has spoken. What do we do when someone has spoken to us? We listen! Who better to listen to than our Creator and Redeemer. I know what you’re thinking right now. I know the Bible is God’s spoken Word, his communication to us, but how do I listen? How do I hear from God? Any sort of communication requires discipline on our part, especially communication with the Lord. So, you and I need to fight to develop discipline in our lives to hear from the Lord…to take in the Bible.
Ways to Take In the Bible
- Scripture Reading It sounds simple enough, right? A great place to begin is by simply reading the Bible regularly. Here are three great suggestions: 1) find the right time, 2) find a Bible-reading plan, and 3) find at least one word, phrase, or verse to meditate on. Time is important because each of us have different times during the day in which we are at our best. Some people are morning people and others are night people. Find a time that works best for you and be consistent. Bible-reading plans are great because they provide structure to our Bible reading. Many plans will take you systematically through the Bible in bite-sized chunks so it is not overwhelming. You can find some excellent Bible reading plans at youversion.com and at Crossway’s ESV Bible website. Finally, don’t just read the Bible to read the Bible. Read the Bible to hear from God. As you are reading, stop and mediate on words, phrases, or verses. Meditate and think about what God is telling you. Pray through it. Then, live it out in your day-to-day life.
- Scripture Memorization Psalm 119:11 says, “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” We need to hide God’s Word in our hearts. The best way we can do this is to memorize his Word. Scripture memorization allows us to constantly meditate on God’s Word, having it ready for any time of the day we might need to remember his Word. A great way to memorize Scripture is using Tim Brister’s “Partnering to Remember” project. This is an excellent way to memorize large chunks of Scripture. If that seems overwhelming, begin with one verse, and see how God uses it.
- Bible Study Scripture reading and memorization are great and necessary. Bible study takes your Bible intake to another level. “Reading gives us breadth, but study gives us depth. The value of Bible study lies in the opportunity to dig more deeply into a passage or topic than we can do in a Bible reading plan.” One of the easiest ways to study the Bible is to follow this three-step process: 1) read, 2) interpret, and 3) apply. You can find more resources on studying the Bible from one of our Equip Nights entitled “Discovering the Greatest Story.”
What do you need to do this week to begin the discipline of Bible intake?