Thursday, September 10, 2015

How to Read the Bible ~ Part 3

By Your words I can see where I'm going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path.
Psalm 119:105 The Message


In our series on discernment, I have explored some suggestions of how to read the Bible. The phrase lectio divina describes a way to read the Bible and can be translated "divine reading" but more importantly means living the Holy Word. With 4 basic components, to read, to meditate, to pray, and to live, lectio divina is more than a spiritual discipline.
"Discernment requires not only reading with the heart but being willing to put down the book we are reading to just listen to what God is saying to us through its words. Henri Nouwen
Lectio divina is a way of reading spiritually, reading without a personal agenda and with a vulnerability of heart, reading while embracing Christ and exceeding the words. Lectio divina is a living reading, a way of reading that expects a living response. To be effective, we must consider the message within these ancient words. While reading, it is important to keep the words in context, to examine the historical settings, storylines, and cultures. The Holy Scriptures are sacred writings inspired by God, filled with vivid language full of poetry and metaphors and idioms that draw the reader into God's worldview, a living document for every age.
"Meditation is a process in which you struggle with the word of God that has entered your heart." Macrina Wiederkehr
Meditation on a Scripture passage helps the reader to understand how this piece of information relates to God's character and plan for humanity. To meditate on these words reveals connections between the moments recorded then and my circumstances now, the lesson centuries ago and a message for me, personally. Listening to the word of God with the heart opens the door for spiritual communion.

Prayer becomes the language of the heart, with its deepest agonies and richest joys. Often, prayer exceeds the vocabulary of our emotions. Wordless or word-full, prayer is relational and connects us to God. Reading His word combined with prayer, refines our access to God. As Jesus intercedes, we become engaged in deeper conversation with God. In praying the sacred words, we embrace God's message, we participate in His world, we live and love more.
"Lectio divina is not a methodical technique for reading the Bible. It is a cultivated, developed habit of living the text in Jesus' name." Eugene Peterson
To live the Word of God, we must take this unexplainable God into a complicated world. We must carry this extraordinary message into our ordinary moments. We are to live God's word through the chaos and beyond the suffering, above the distractions and against the opposition. Lectio divina means living the Holy Word. ~dho