"Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. "Do you understand what you are reading?" Philip asked. Acts 8:30
We can read through the Bible numerous times and still struggle to understand a passage. Or sometimes, we read so quickly that we couldn't tell someone what we just read. There are many methods to read the Bible - lectio divina, SOAP (scripture, observation, application, prayer), Dwelling in the Word (our Board of Deacons uses this method), the Swedish method as well as others. Let's look at lectio divina... the ancient practice of quietly praying the scriptures. You can practice lectio divina on your own or in a group.
Select a passage or verse in the Bible the move through the four steps of this practice...
- The first step is 'lectio' or read. Read through the passage several times. Allow the passage to soak in. Once you have read the passage a few times, a word or phrase may pop out at you. Choose this or any other word or phrase from the passage to use in the next step.
- The second step is to meditate - simply thinking about the word or phrase you have chosen. Think about what it means. Are there different definitions of the word? What other words come to mind when you think of the word or phrase? What does the word mean to you?
- The third step is to pray. Form a prayer about the word or phrase. Ask God what it means. If the word or phrase makes you think of a situation in your life, pray about it.
- The fourth step is to contemplate. Be still and listen. Do any new thoughts come to mind after praying? Do you come to a new understanding? Sit for a while in God's presence and be filled with God's love.
Ask your teen...
When have scripture and everyday life collided so that you had a better understanding of both?
Challenge your teen...
Try reading a different Bible translation.
Find ways to slow down as you read. What do you notice that you haven't seen before?
As you read the Bible, imagine the stories with real scenery and real people.
Thank you, God, for showing us that everyone has weaknesses and that you are willing to work through us anyway. Show us what to do to serve you. Amen.