There’s so much life in the Word of God that some people have sacrificed their lives to put a Bible in people’s hands.
Bill and I (Kristi) have been inspired by the stories of men like Luther, Tyndale, and Wycliffe who translated the Bible. They treasured Scripture and endured terrible persecutions, even death, in order to translate it so ordinary people could read it.
As long as I can remember, I have had more than one Bible and I have read through God’s word many times in my life. Sadly, too often I can find myself reading to get through the Bible instead of reading to get the Bible through me.
A man tells a story about his uncle who when he retired set out to read the entire Bible in a single month. It takes 76 hours to read the Bible straight through so it took him about two-and-a-half hours each day. He went on to do this every day for twelve years! He read through the Bible cover-to-cover 144 times!
That’s a Bible-reading marathon! Not many people have been that immersed in the Bible as this uncle. Yet listen to what his nephew observed: “My uncle died… the meanest, bitterest son of a gun you could ever wish to meet.” (The Fire of the Word, by Chris Webb, p 32.)
Sadly, we may misuse Scripture for our purposes instead of submitting to the Holy Spirit as we read. When we do this we are missing out on the living reality and transformational power that’s available to us. “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12, ESV).
My favorite way to read the Bible is called Lectio Divina. This ancient way of Scripture meditation was developed by Benedict in the sixth century and has been refined by monks over the years. Lectio has become an important rhythm in my devotional life and ministry. When I share God’s word with others in this way it’s very easy for me to feed off its fruit as I’m leading.
Lectio has been powerful for my ministry. It helps me get out of God’s way so he can directly speak from his word into the lives of those I am leading. We love sharing Lectio with people like you in our Soul Shepherding retreats and in our Institute and Spiritual Direction training program.
We’re thankful that every day over one hundred people go to SoulShepherding.org to learn about Lectio Divina or download our Lectio Divina Guides. This new digital resource features over 70 one page handouts with the Scripture, meditation questions, and space for journaling. They’re easy to print off and use for personal devotions or leading a small group. It helps me to read the index that lists all the Scripture passages and their spiritual formation themes and to pray for the Holy Spirit to lead me to a text.
If you’re using Soul Shepherding’s Lectio Divina resources we’d love to hear from you.
Listen to SoulTalk Episode 179 – Listen: Be Energized in the Word
Bill and Kristi share how you can be encouraged by praying Scripture through Lectio Divina! This practice helps you become powerfully aware of God’s presence.