Going Deeper With The Bible

At some point reading your Bible becomes boring. You know all the stories. You’re familiar with the popular verses. And you have a pretty good sense of what the whole thing is about.

You begin to wonder, “now what?” “Am I doomed to a life of begrudgingly re-reading the same things year after year? Or is there something more?”

Thankfully there is more– a lot more!

If you’ve only been reading the Bible,  you may have given yourself a breadth of biblical  knowledge. But what you lack is depth. Likely your boredom with Bible reading is the Holy Spirit’s way of telling you that your soul is ready for something more. That you need something deeper.

One of my favorite ways to go deeper,  is a method of Bible reading called Lectio divina (pronounced lex-ee-oh di-vee-nuh).  It means “divine reading”. For over 1, 500 years Christians have practiced it in order to hear from God, and draw closer to Christ.

Here’s how it works:780px-Lectio_Divina_.svg

Dr. Richard Peace, professor of Spiritual Formation,  describes it as a four-part movement “beginning with the the text and ending in prayer.” [1]   The four movements are as follows:

Reading/Listening: Read aloud a short passage Scripture. As you read, listen for the word or phrase that speaks to you. What is the Spirit drawing your attention to?

Meditating: Repeat aloud the word or phrase to which you are drawn. Make connection between it and your life. What is God saying to you by means of this word or phrase?

Praying: Now take these thoughts and offer them back to God in prayer, giving thanks, asking for guidance, asking for forgiveness, and resting in God’s love. What is God leading you to pray?

Contemplating: Move from the activity of prayer to the stillness of contemplation. Simply rest in God’s presence. Stay open to God. Listen to God. Remain in peace and silence before God. How is God revealing himself to you?

 Lectio divina is more than a  simple “quiet time”. It takes intentionally getting to a quiet place with no distractions. It also takes practice. Learning to listen to God, is like learning how to use a new muscle. There’s nothing “magical” about it. But it won’t happen until you’re able to sit still, and be silent before God.

If you want to learn more about the practice of Lectio divina, I would start with a copy of Richard Peace’s Contemplative Bible Reading: Experiencing God Through Scripture. It is a short Bible Study handbook that provides more detail about the four movements. It also includes examples of how the process works with different passages of Scripture. The study can be used for an individual or groups. So if your currently in a small group and you think your group might also be interested in going deeper with the Bible, then this might be a great study to do together.

Whether you use Lectio divina by yourself or with a group, I pray it will be something that will draw you deeper into the Word of God, and closer to God through Jesus Christ.