As we think about engaging the Word of God there are a number of ways of going about it. Below is an illustration of six key areas that should constitute our intake of the Word.
- Hear. Romans 10:17 17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.2 We listen to the Word being read aloud by others. Back in the Biblical times this was the main way people learned the Word. There were only a few scrolls of scripture and they were largely kept in the synagogues.
- Read. Revelation 1:3 3Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.3 Reading the Bible should become a regular habit in the Christians life. Starting off your day with a time of reading the Bible and prayer will strengthen your walk with Christ.
- Meditate. Psalms 1:2-3 2But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.4 To meditate upon scripture means to think upon or ponder it. To weigh the meaning and implications of the scripture involved. What does this mean? How does this apply to my life? What changes are necessary in my life as I consider the truths that are revealed?
- Study. Acts 17:11 11 Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.5 There is a difference between reading something and studying it. Study implies digging deeper, working to get more understanding, and remembering what was read. It also means to make connections with other truths and as a result develop a greater comprehension of the subject at hand.
- Memorize. Psalms 119:9-11. 9How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. 10I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. 11I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.6 One of the most powerful ways God uses to change our hearts is through truth that is memorized and meditated upon. With so much coming at us from the world, we need solid truth to strengthen our soul and help us to resist temptation.
- Apply. James 1:22 22Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.7 If we merely listen to the Word but do not apply it, we just become more knowledgeable at the best and more arrogant at the worst. God's Word was given to us to apply to our lives. That by learning it and following it, we might be changed.
Now every time we engage the Word we may not use all these ways of taking in the Word, but we will certainly use some of them. Generally the more you use the better grasp of the Word you will have.
1 LeRoy Eims, The Lost Art Of Disciple Making (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1978), 81.
2 Romans 10:17, NIV.
3 Revelation 1:3, NIV.
4 Psalms 1:2-3, NIV.
5 Acts 17:11, NIV.
6 Psalms 119:9-11, NIV
7 James 1:22, NIV.