Blog

Getting more from the Bible

Reading the Bible; it is instantly both a desire for us and yet, at times, it is hard work. Or we read it, several chapters at a time perhaps, and instantly forget what we have read as soon as the Bible goes down and we move on to the next thing on our daily to do list.

I have been reading a book on spiritual disciplines recently, and one of them is on meditation. I do not mean the eastern idea of it that has us trying to empty our minds. I mean the meditation that the Scriptures speak about. So Joshua is told to meditate on the book of the law. Psalm 1:2 tells us that blessed is the one who meditates on God’s law day and night. Psalm 119 mentions meditation eight times. We are called to not just read the Word of God but to think about it as well.

That’s all well and good, but how do I do that?

Well in the book I have been reading,[1] taking its cue from the Puritans and others, suggests a number of questions you can ask when reading a piece of Scripture. The suggestion is that you read a section and then home in on one or two verses. Here are some of the questions that he suggests you can ask:

  1. “What is it?”[2] That is; what is the summary, in your own words, of what the verse says?
  2. “What are its parts?” That is how is it divided up? Take for example John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” What it is, is that God gave his Son for us so that we might gain eternal life. Its parts are (i) the giver – God (ii) the reason for giving “love” (iii) the object of love “the world” (iv) the gift “his one and only Son” (v) the beneficiaries “whoever believes in him” (vi) the outcome negatively put “shall not perish” (vii) the outcome positively put “have eternal life”.
  3. You can then ask what is meant by each of these things. So, what does the Bible mean when it talks of God? What kind of God is He? Why does John say “so loved”? How is our knowledge of the love of God expanded by the fact that he gave up his one and only Son? And so on.
  4. “What is different or contradictory to it?” In this case, John supplies the answer in the next verse when he says that whoever does not believe is condemned already.
  5. Does what I have thought about fit with what I know of Scripture? This is a test to make sure we are not making Scripture say what we want it to say.
  6. What does this text tell me about me, about God, about the gospel or about Jesus?
  7. “Does it reveal something I should believe about God?”
  8. “Does it reveal something I should have a new attitude about?”
  9. “Does it reveal something I should praise God or trust God for?”
  10. “Does it reveal something I should make a decision about?”
  11. “Is there something I should pray for myself or others for?”
  12. “Does it reveal something I need to do for Christ or others or myself?”

Now, you need not do all those at one time. But using some or all of these will help to start digging deeper into the Word of God.



[1] Donald Witney, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (NavPress, 2006)

[2] Where I put something here in quotation marks it is a quote from Witney. I am using the kindle version so I am not able to give book page numbers.

 

Subscribe to Blog

RSS Feed



Blog Posts

When our sorrow may be sinful
12 Sep 2016
Seeking more
09 Apr 2016
How do I work hard for fellow believers?
06 Jan 2016
Getting to the meat
05 Oct 2015
The beauty of God's choice of sinners
03 Aug 2015
Knowing it is for good
04 Jun 2015
Getting more from the Bible
08 Apr 2015
Seeing beyond the obvious
12 Jan 2015
Fully equipped
22 Nov 2014
The sweet longing
24 Sep 2014
Praying for a thankful heart
27 Aug 2014
A little naughtiness or something far, far worse?
22 Jul 2014
Coming to know God
21 Jun 2014
Hanging on the promises, hoping in God
03 Jun 2014
Pious limitations
13 May 2014
Reuniting the divided life
29 Apr 2014
God communicates to us when he shows us Christ
07 Apr 2014
A journey into beauty
01 Apr 2014
"The death of self-importance"
10 Mar 2014
Passion for Life
27 Feb 2014
Am I really a Christian?
10 Feb 2014
Christianity is not morality
20 Jan 2014
Are our devotions really devotional?
08 Jan 2014
Let us resolve to not be lukewarm
06 Jan 2014
A baby who is so much more than a baby
03 Dec 2013
"The gift of desire", what St Anselm saw
18 Nov 2013
I can get satisfaction
13 Nov 2013
What's in a biography?
26 Oct 2013
The beauty of God's way of salvation
26 Oct 2013
Why not, Mr Dawkins?
26 Oct 2013
What is the ultimate good of our hearts?
08 Oct 2013
Boasting in the offence of the cross
30 Sep 2013
Too heavenly minded to be of earthly use?
17 Sep 2013
What's in a name?
02 Sep 2013
Revival and building houses
27 Aug 2013
Do you delight in God even when he withholds?
20 Aug 2013
How much do we value God's presence?
01 Aug 2013
Why sincerity is not enough
24 Jul 2013
An invitation to true blessing
15 Jul 2013
When not being happy might be a sin
08 Jul 2013
"Created in Christ Jesus to do good works"
01 Jul 2013
The worst has already happened so that the best can
24 Jun 2013
A misplaced "Wow!"
04 Jun 2013
I know I am supposed to change, but how?
25 May 2013
God's delight in saving sinners
11 May 2013
"A God Entranced Vision of All Things"
07 May 2013
Our most fatal allergy; our most deadly addiction
23 Apr 2013
Wowed, urged on and imploring
15 Apr 2013
Responding to God's peace
08 Apr 2013
Which Jesus?
02 Apr 2013
When we mess up
02 Apr 2013
Image and Desires
28 Feb 2013