[Wednesday] I stressed the value of memorizing God’s Word and talked about how doing so has benefited me in practical ways throughout the years. Memorization, however, is only one of many ways to interact with Scripture.
First, we can hear Scripture. This is the simplest, least difficult method of learning the precepts and principles of the Bible. There are plenty of trustworthy Bible teachers and preachers around the world. There are churches and schools, trustworthy radio and TV programs, audio and video recordings, and countless online resources that specialize in scriptural instruction. Except for those individuals whose physical hearing is impaired, no one in the world has any excuse for not hearing God’s Word.
Second, we can read Scripture. Hearing can too easily be a primarily passive encounter with the Bible, but reading requires more personal involvement—a greater investment of energy—than simply listening to instruction on the Scriptures. People who start getting serious about their spiritual maturity will purchase a copy of the Bible and begin reading. Numerous versions, paraphrases, and styles can be found on the shelves of almost any bookstore, and the Internet offers free access to virtually any translation available in print. To get the most out of reading, you might consider a “through-the-year” Bible: its reading plan guides an individual through all sixty-six books of Scripture in 365 days.
Third, we can study Scripture. While I prefer reading a print Bible, many people have discovered the power and convenience of electronic Bible resources. This kind of Bible study makes sense, considering that almost everything else we do involves a computer. Some of the better programs take Bible reading to a completely different level, integrating the Scripture text with links to dictionaries, maps, encyclopedias, photographs, diagrams, and commentaries. A click of a mouse on an unfamiliar word brings a wealth of information to the screen, and you can easily lose the better part of an entire afternoon discovering the background and meaning of just one verse. Combine that kind of study with an online course or one of the many excellent programs offered in churches, and the average believer can be prepared to meet any spiritual challenge.
Fourth, we can memorize Scripture. As I stated yesterday, committing Bible verses to memory is the best way to displace alien, unholy, and demoralizing thoughts! In all honesty, I know of no more effective way to cultivate a biblical mindset and to accelerate spiritual growth than this discipline.
Fifth, we can meditate on Scripture. As we hear, read, and study God’s Word, our mind becomes a reservoir of biblical truth. We can then think through, ponder, personalize, and apply to our lives these truths we’ve hidden in our hearts. In times of quiet meditation, we allow the Word to seep into our cells, to speak to us, reprove us, warn us, comfort us, and transform us. Remember these two great verses from the book of Hebrews?
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. (4:12–13)
From Living the Proverbs by Charles R. Swindoll, copyright © 2012. Reprinted by permission of Worthy Inspired., an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc.
Used with permission. All rights reserved.
In Embraced by the Spirit, we step away from the heat of theological battle that analyzes and criticizes and move quietly and closely to the One who has been sent alongside to help.