I’ve been reading the biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Bonhoeffer, if you don’t know him, was a German pastor/theologian who was heavily involved in the fight against Hitler and his Nazi regime. He ultimately was executed for his role in a plot to assassinate Hitler but before that happened he made a mark on history in many ways. I’m fascinated by the story of his life and how he impacted the Christian world.
Over the years I’ve considered many different ways to study the Scripture and honestly sometimes I’m overwhelmed by the thought of how to best grow in my understanding of God and the words he provided for us to read. Once when Bonhoeffer was asked how he grew in his relationship with the Lord, he replied he didn’t just read his Bible daily but he mediated on the words of God. I thought through that and was surprised to see in my own life where that was lacking. So I started looking at my Bible reading as a time of mediation not just reading the words but thinking through them deeply, asking myself “what is God trying to show me in this text?” and praying through verses or passages that were confusing. This means I read less Scripture each time I read but I’m finding its having a great impact on my life.
Not only that, it is having a greater impact on how I talk about the Bible with those in my life. About the time I made this shift in thinking, my discipleship circle starting reading through Romans together. What perfect timing to focus on mediating on the word of God. Roman’s is a tough book. Chapter 1 starts off with some pretty direct teaching about sin. We got into a pretty heavy conversation that night and I didn’t feel prepared. I felt beat up by the Word, beat up by our cultural influences and a little bit like my friends might never speak to me again. Thankfully, the next time we met we’d all had a little more time to pray through and process what God was teaching us and as I meditate through our readings each week God is teaching us all so much!
So next time you are reading the Word, don’t just read to get it read, but read for understanding. Read for God to speak through His words. Ask Him what insights He wants to show you!