Someone in my life recently challenged me to stop reading the Bible. So I did. About two weeks ago. Hang on; before you grab your copy of God’s Word and come smack me over the head with it, hear me out.
For probably 5-6 years running, I did the Read-Through-the-Bible-in-a-Year thing. I love plans and things that are organized, so it was great. You do your reading for the day and put a nice little check mark beside the line and Bam! you are good to go! Devotions done! And at the end of the year, you feel really accomplished because you have finished the whole Bible! Tada!
But let me ask you something. Have you ever been reading the Bible (or any book, for that matter) and you read a chapter and then realize you have NO IDEA what you just read? You read every word on the page but wouldn’t be able to tell the person sitting next to you what it was about. Yeah, me too. I’m not sure how that happens but it does.
So now let me tell you the second part of what my friend said to me. What he actually said was, “Stop reading the Bible. Start meditating on it.”
There are quite a few passages in the Bible that talk about meditating on God’s Word. The most convicting one for me being Joshua 1:8:
“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”
What would our lives look like if we actually meditated on Scripture instead of just reading it? If we kept it in our minds day and night? It reminds me of how the Israelites were commanded to keep God’s law before their eyes and hearts all the time:
“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deut. 6:6-9
I think when we start to meditate on Scripture is when the above passage becomes a reality in our lives. It becomes a normal thing to speak of God and his Word instead of it being something that we do at church. His Word permeates our lives and hearts and we are filled with him.
So my devotions have changed. Instead of reading whole chapters a day, I’ve starting reading a couple verses, sometimes even just one (you do have to keep context in mind.) And I meditate on it. I read it over and over and I pray over that verse. Depending on the verse, I might pray for God to make it a reality in my life or in the lives of my friends and those I love. I pray for God to make his Word clear to me and to keep me in it always. I’m getting so much more out of my devotions now. I find myself thinking about Scripture way more often than I used to.
So my challenge for you also then is this: will you stop reading the Bible?