Divine Reading

Reading the Bible is one thing, meaningful reading is another. In past times meaningful reading was called lectio divina, “divine reading.”

Since ancient times, this spiritual discipline has been compared to the ruminating eating of certain animals. They ruminated, meaning “to chew the cud, to turn over in the mind.”

It takes two things, a text and time. Both are essential. As a starter try this:
“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4: 4 – 7)

To do it justice, get alone in a comfortable quiet place and read it. Then go back over it, breaking it down phrase by phrase.  In beginning this practice, give yourself five minutes. Later you will want to learn to devote more time to the practice. Try to arrange it so the time is undisturbed. The length of the passage is unimportant, the depth of thought is very important. Hide His word in your heart.

The purpose of this process is to have a meeting with God, a divine rendezvous. Soon you will grow to realize you have hidden His word in your heart and it is growing to become your first response in life, your instinct. Thus, it is becoming your nature, your behavior. It will enable you to deal with the issues of life in God’s way.

Be patient with yourself. Remolding life takes time… and pays big dividends.

For animals to ruminate they must take bite sizes. The same principle is true in assimilating God’s word.  As you reread it slowly, take a passage apart in your thoughts bit by bit. Pause and reflect on a phrase or word.

Following this practice you will find the word to become mysteriously and purposefully alive. As you “chew” the word you will find yourself musing over such thoughts as: “I didn’t know that.” Or, “That is meaningful.” Or, “WOW!”

As you sit silently ask yourself such questions as: “What am I learning from these words?” Or, “How can I apply this truth?” 

This is to be time just between you and God. Don’t rush to see some commentary or reference source.  Doing that later is very good, but not now.

The purpose in this lectio divina, divine readings is for you to better understand the truth of Hebrews 4: 12, “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Chew on that.