We all know that we should spend time with God in His Word on a consistent basis. While it’s true that the vast majority of Christians throughout the vast majority of Christian history have either not been able to read or have not had access to their own copy of the Bible, it’s also true that during those periods of history many of those same Christians attended worship services and Bible studies multiple times a week, often even daily! In our fast-paced society, making time for everything but God, our involvement in the church has dwindled (according to a recent Barna Research Group study, the typical active Christian only attends worship services an average of 1.7 times per month!).
Given that we’re engaging God’s Word less and less in the context of the church (which severely stunts our spiritual growth), it’s all the more important to spend time with God in His Word devotionally. To that end, here are four questions to help guide your devotional time with God in Scripture.
(1) What does this passage reveal about God? The Bible is first and foremost God’s self-revelation to humanity. I hear people call the Bible a “roadmap to life.” While the Bible does contain a lot of truth about you and your life, it is not ultimately about you or your life! It’s about God and His plan to save the world.
(2) What does this passage reveal about the world? The Bible also reveals truth about the world. For instance, the Bible reveals the origin of sin and shows us how the world got so jacked up. When you read, look for truth about the world, the condition of humanity, why things are the way they are, how human nature works, etc.
(3) What does this passage reveal about me? As you work through a passage, start big and gradually get more specific: God, the world, you. Discovering truth about God and the world should spark questions about your own heart and mind. For instance, Jesus said the harvest is plenty, but the workers are few, and commanded His followers to pray that God would send out workers to reap a harvest (Luke 10:2). We see that (a) God desires people to be saved, and (b) the world is ripe for a spiritual harvest. This should cause you to ask questions about yourself like: Am I working to reap a harvest for Jesus?
(4) What does this passage reveal about God’s will for me? In other words, what is God calling you to change, do, or become as a result of reading this passage? What is going to be different in you? Maybe He’s calling you to think differently, feel differently, desire differently, or act differently. Or maybe He’s not calling you to change anything specifically, but rather using this passage to encourage you to pray for someone else, like your spouse or your kids, a co-worker or classmate, or someone in your church. This last step is a big place to dialogue with God and listen to the Holy Spirit’s conviction.
Happy reading! My prayer for the week is that you will connect with God in His Word, and begin learning to recognize His voice as He speaks to you.