I believe the Scripture continues to speak today. I believe it spoke in its historical context to the ones who directly experienced its events (Exodus 19:9). I believe it speaks by its historical context through the examples shared within its pages (1 Corinthians 10:11). Yet I firmly believe that, because these words are infused with Holy Spirit who inspired them, Scripture speaks today (Hebrews 11:4). When I read these God-breathed words (2 Timothy 3:16), I hear the Spirit bearing witness to my spirit (Romans 8:16).
I read Scripture to hear what God through His Holy Spirit would say to me. I prefer to read a Scripture chosen by a reading plan. That way I avoid reinforcing messages I want to hear rather than hearing what the Spirit wants me to hear. I find it helpful to use a version or translation not too familiar to me.
If I use the version I’m most familiar with, my brain tends to fast forward through the passage, “Yeah, I remember this.” My inner commentary kicks in, and I recall a pastor’s sermon or some notes from a Bible study. Soon I’m no longer attending to what the Spirit is wanting me to experience today.
I use a “listening” approach with Scripture, much like we do when we listen to a pastor’s message. Although the pastor says many things during his message, we usually take with us one illustration, phrase, or idea that challenged us. For much of Christianity’s history, one’s experience of Scripture was limited to listening. Even today obstacles to reading the Scripture for oneself still abound.
So how do I “listen.” I begin by reading the passage(s) indicated by my reading plan. Although a verse or phrase might intrigue me, I continue reading to get a feel for how the human collaborator framed his thoughts. Then I reread the passage and see if the same verse or phrase still arrests my attention. Then I write this phrase or verse down in my journal.
Next, I start writing down the thoughts that come up for me as I think about these words. If I struggle to put down words, I write questions like, “Why did that get my attention?” Then I attempt to answer the questions. Finally, I write a short prayer asking God for His grace to put into practice what He has just shown me.
So I invite you to join me in reading these selections and share what God is showing you.