We can often use the Bible in ways that stifle spiritual life or even destroy the soul.
Really? Stifle spiritual growth and destroy the soul? That’s the observation made by Richard Foster in Life with God. He points out that the root problem has to do with two common objectives people have for studying the Bible.
The first issue is the practice of studying the Bible for information or knowledge alone. There is much that we can learn from the Bible and learning is a vital part of growing. But knowledge alone tends to make us arrogant.
The second issue is that people often study the Bible to find some formula that will solve the pressing need of the moment. When we go looking for simple formulas we greatly increase the risk of taking Scripture out of context and this can lead to some unhealthy conclusions.
The real danger in these two common ways of approaching the Bible is that they leave us or someone else in charge. They are, in fact, ways of trying to control what comes out of the Bible rather than submitting to the process of transformation that Scripture can accomplish in us. When we approach the Bible from the perspective of whole-life discipleship to Jesus, amazing changes can take place in us.
So how do we approach Scripture in a way that promotes real life change?
READ with an open, focused mind and a surrendered heart. Ask God to help you understand the context (big picture) of what you’re reading and the author’s original intentions.
REFLECT on what you’re reading. Pause to reread portions of it and let it soak in. If something really speaks to your heart highlight it or make a note. If something raises a question jot it down to explore later.
RESPOND to what you’ve read. Is there an action to take or an attitude to adjust? Is there a sin to confess or a praise to offer God? Prayerfully invite the Holy Spirit to continue speaking to you from what you’ve read.
Use a small notebook to record your daily reading, reflecting and responding. This is a great way to review your journey with God through Scripture and can be an encouragement when times get tough.
If you’re sharing our journey through The Story then read chapter one in it and The Heart of the Story. If you’re just hearing about The Story and want to know more click on the page tab above.