Friday, September 12, 2008

Spiritual Transformation

Bible study is tricky.

I don’t know where my struggle with it comes from. Maybe the fact that I’ve grown up in the church and with the stories has caused me to lose interest. I hate even typing that.

Instead, I actually think my not-so-quiet time comes from this fact: my brain goes a thousand miles a minute. I love sitting quietly. But most of the time, when I’m sitting quietly, I’m thinking. My poor brain never stops. I think years of multi-tasking have officially taken their toll. So when I read the Scriptures, I don’t ever feel like I’m dwelling on them. Instead, I’m constantly thinking about the day’s events, the next day’s events, life, my family, my fiancé, anything… except what I’m reading.

That’s not to say I haven’t tried hard to improve the habit. In junior high and high school, the One Year Bible was my study weapon of choice, and it worked pretty well. But after four years of pulling that same routine… It got old. As an overachiever, I then decided I would write a page or two about what I’d learned from every night’s reading. Bad idea. I definitely bit off more than I could chew there, and the habit soon dwindled down to nothing.

During college, Jordan and I read together every other night, and I would read from the One Year Bible on our “off nights.” This also worked well. I love studying God’s Word with another person, and now that Jordan’s in the same town, we’re looking forward to breaking open John together. It helps me greatly to think the Scriptures aloud with someone, to take what I’ve just read and have a brief discussion on them. Plus, the accountability when you’re studying with another soul is so helpful! And yet…

My personal, one-on-one time with my Savior and His teachings still lacks. I love reading with Jordan, but I want to be able to study on my own. So, here is my new idea to bring me into these refreshing autumn months with a renewed love for my Father’s Word:

My dear friend Leigh introduced me to the works of Richard Foster, and during my internship, Jordan and I studied his book about praise and worship together. It was excellent. I’m hoping in the future a small group of mine will tackle the same material. Until then, though, I think I’m going to purchase this new book by Foster about Bible study. Like Eugene Peterson, he uses the concept of lectio divina as his guide. This concept has fascinated me for some time, and I’m hoping this book will give me some practical tips for sitting quietly and soaking in the Scriptures.

I also recently re-discovered The Message: Solo, which is great for some in-depth study. With these two books as my guide (and with the greatest book of all in my hands), I think my passion for God’s Word could be on the verge of renewal.

I’m ready.

No comments: