Welcome: An Introduction

Sharing the insights I discover as I explore and experience the mystery that is our reality. Join me in my journey and share yours.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Reading Scripture: The Cure for a Homesick Soul

Colossians 3:16 (English Standard Version)

16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

Holy Bible

I've been thinking a lot about writing a post in regards to reading the Bible simply because every morning I can't help but feel an incredible amount of excitement and expectancy when I look forward to opening up our sacred scriptures.  In fact, when the morning finds itself hectic, perhaps my routine getting disturbed by special circumstances, and I find myself going through it without having some quiet time with God and His Word I can't help but detect a growing faultline traveling along my heart's surface. It's almost like the belly of my soul is grumbling, hungry for more spiritual manna. The only way to satisfy it is to fill it with God's word.

I didn't always feel that way. In the past there would be times when weeks would go by without even looking at my Bible. Sometimes I'd have a particular spot for it and just grab it on Sunday mornings to take to church. I know, I know, but if I'm going to have a blog I might as well be honest! So when I felt like God was distant and becoming an abstract concept in my life I knew something had to change. I wanted to experience God, I wanted to know Him personally, and I just wasn't anywhere near being there the way I was proceeding spiritually. I believed in the gospel but I felt through life's twists and turns my connection with God had been severed. The advice I was given: read the Bible again, starting with the New Testament. I thought that solution was almost too simple. (I'm not sure what I expected the solution to actually be!) I mean over time I had developed some pretty large theological concerns and questions. In fact, many of those had arisen from reading the Bible so I didn't see it as necessarily a solution to my spiritual woes.

The advice came from a good source though and I followed it and am truly thankful for that! It didn't take long before I was captivated by every word on the page, drawing me deeper and deeper into the truths they contained. I felt my soul awaken to God's gentle whisper drawing me closer and when that happened I did not hesitate but ran into towards God leaping into His embrace, feeling like I had finally come home again. 

I have found, through  my own experience, that the Word of God is invaluable. There is no replacement to what it can provide. And that going without it can have a devastating effect on one's faith. So, I have to ask, what importance do you put in reading the scriptures daily?

I'm reading a great book right now by JI Packer called "Knowing God". In a chapter discussing God's wisdom he writes:

 " It is to be feared that many today who profess to be Christ's never learn wisdom, through failure to attend sufficiently to God's written Word. Cranmer's Prayer book lectionary (which all Anglicans are meant to follow) will take one through the Old Testament once and the New Testament twice, every year. William Gouge, the Puritan, read fifteen chapters regularly each day. The late Archdeacon T.C. Hammond used to read through the Bible each a quarter. How long is since you read through the Bible? Do you spend time with the Bible each day as you do even with the newspaper? What fools some of us are!-and we remain fools all our lives, simply because we will not take the trouble to do what has to be done to receive the wisdom which is God's free gift." (Knowing God, p. 101-102)

God, forgive me for being a fool for so long! I'll admit it, I was a fool and I wasted time. And friends, brothers and sisters in Christ who might be reading this, I beseech you to not do the same! Because if you want to experience God and His presence and the fullness of joy and peace, it will only come first from reading through the scriptures. Even contemplative prayer, which is a way of finding union with God through meditation, will be but a fraud if it does not begin on the foundational knowledge and wisdom that scripture gives us. Guigo, a Carthusian monk of the 12th century wrote his famous "The Ladder of the Monks" which describes a ladder consisting of four rungs, each foundational (the first is necessary to master or at least grasp before moving to the second, etc.), the last rung being contemplative prayer. The first rung is reading the scriptures, then comes lectio devina, prayer and lastly contemplative prayer. Reading God's word is essential when it comes to all aspects of our faith!

I won't make this post too long but I'd like to share one technique that I read that I've used in approaching the scriptures that have really helped. In Richard Foster's book-Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home, he talks about the concept of using imagination while reading the Bible. Now, he doesn't mean using imagination in the sense that we are imagining fictional occurances or anything like that. What he is referring to is when reading scripture to put yourself there. For example, in the New Testament, when Jesus is preaching to crowds by the sea of Galilee, to smell the scent of sea in the air, hear the sounds of the crowd pressing ever closer in towards Jesus as he teaches.  To put all our senses into what we are reading. I have more to write on this but for anyone more interested in this technique I would highly suggest you read his book!

Other suggestions I've heard, which I've also used (perhaps not regularly but I do think they are good suggestions) is to light a candle or burn some incense. This is to recognize reading God's holy word as something separate and unique from everything else we read. Something sacred. Now begins our time to dwell richly in His word, so we begin it with reverence.

I'm sure I'll eventually write more on this as well as on some of the ideas I brought up within this post but for now I encourage everyone to find some quiet time, if you don't already, to devote to God in reading His Word, and I assure you, you will find yourself very blessed by doing so :)

Any thoughts?


  1. I have a post called "Turning point" on my blog that had me reading the Bible from cover to cover for years. I also researched books that were left out of the original Bible and the Dead sea scrolls and many others. That post happened when I was thirty. I recently wrote a post called "little tree" about a recent experience and came to realize that if we lived in a remote part of the world and were not able to have or read a Bible that the word is with in us. We are the word manifest into flesh. So we should not feel guilty for not reading but rather sit in silence and connect to God inside of us from what we already know,through our own truth that lives in us. You already have the word in you because you were created from that and silence will help you to remember it in such a beautiful way. Thank you for this post,


  2. "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you." (John 15:7)

    I agree with you Jessica, it is like manna that we need daily, showing our utter dependence upon the Lord. He is the bread of life

  3. Deanne: I'll have to check out your blog, it looks like you have some really interesting posts and have come to some interesting conclusions after years of searching.

    One thing though...from what I've read in the Bible, Jesus is The Word (as shown in John 1:1) that became flesh to dwell among us...to say we all are...I'm not quite sure if that is biblical however I would agree that when we do open our hearts to the truth and to God He does come to dwell within us and for sure, through silence, because of the Holy Spirit and our connection with God, there is much direction, comfort, peace to be had. And a direct experience with God is possible.

    When it comes to other people of other nations that haven't heard of the Word of God...I think a verse in Acts mentions such individuals. That God does open the eyes of the heart (I'm totally paraphrasing a concept from a verse I read some time ago, so please forgive me if I'm not totally accurate!)of such individuals to recognize the divine in the natural world around them. So, for sure, God can express Himself to others without using His Word.

    I do think though, when we do discover His written word we discover a way of understanding and knowing God through the words and wisdom He breathed through men to write it. I don't necessarily feel guilty for not reading it, I feel deprived when I haven't read it. Like I've missed out, like my spiritual fuel gauge is on empty and I need a refill and the only thing that can satisfy me is God's Word. I do find God in silence and find that an extremely wonderful experience, but there still, to me, is no replacement for spending time in the word.

    I appreciate your comments :) And I'm looking forward to checking out your blog!

    May you walk in God's light and love this day :)


  4. Hi George :)...thank you for your comment!Yes, it is indeed like manna and I couldn't imagine going a day without it! Why would any of us want to? That would be like discovering the world's greatest treasure only to then hide it under a blanket! The Word is to be embraced and feasted upon for sure.

    Not always a popular sentiment these days, having "an utter dependence upon the Lord", but I totally agree. The world would look a lot different if we all depended more on God and if all the things we did were done through Him.

    Many blessings in Christ,