Hiding God’s Word in Your Heart

There is a definition of a New Year’s resolution being “a to do list for the first week of January.” Their life expectancy is about one week. Well, belatedly try yet another, the regular reading of the Bible. In Latin such a program is referred to as lectio divino, meaning “divine reading.” Since antiquity doing so has been illustrated by a term used of certain animals, ruminate, meaning “to chew the cud, or turn over in the mind.” Certain animals have more than one stomach. They ingest food, chew it, swallow it, later regurgitate it, chew it again, and go through the process again. Certain animals have four stomachs with which to do this.

First, take a bite and chew it. This is equivalent to first attentively reading the Scripture. Read it slowly so that at all the time you are paying attention to what you are reading. 

The next step calls for chewing on the word, that is, meditating on it.

This requires an undisturbed place of solitude where you can contemplate on the passage giving it deep thought. Mentally dissect the passages phrase or word by word and consider how they apply to you. Make it personal.

Let your emotions come along beside your intellect and consider how it relates to you emotionally. How do you feel about it? Resolve to apply it in your daily life.

Let your own heart interpret the text at this time. This is time spent in personal comprehension of the Scripture, not a deep dive in the text. That comes later. 

A third phase for rumination is study of the Scripture. The second stage being the meditative phase now has added to meditation the study of the word using resources such as Bible commentaries. There are numerous good free commentaries on the Internet. In the search bar enter: “Bible Commentaries.”

This is time to do as instructed: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (II Timothy 2: 16)

“Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You. (Psalm 119: 11) 

Don’t only ruminate on the Word as part of your initial reflection, apply it as opportunity presents itself during your busy work day. Reflect on it until it becomes your basic nature, that is, you instinctively apply it. In this way it soon becomes your “go to” conduct even without conscious thought. At that stage in your rumination you will have ingested, and assimilated it. Thus, it becomes your energizing force.

To get started practice these steps using Philippians 4: 4 – 7.