January 22 (Joshua 1:8)
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. (ESV)
A deep, wonderful, and supremely nerdy experience recently proved the truth of this verse to me. I had been wrestling with this and that, and even though the thought of reading Scripture should have brought me comfort, my thoughts were scattered. I began to explore a particular verse in one translation, but it seemed rather flat, so I went to a different translation that was much more dynamic. This led me to consult the Greek translation of the Old Testament, known as the Septuagint, and I found that the more dynamic translation was the more accurate.
What struck me most at the end of this time of study was how much more calm I felt. I had spent about an hour reading, thinking, and writing, and my chaotic thoughts had settled into place. I had not simply glanced at the Bible and moved on, but I had meditated on it, and that made all the difference.
What can you do to slow down in your engagement with the Bible? Note that I did not say “in your reading the Bible.” We can read something in a flash and promptly forget it. Engagement is a different matter. Try reading the same passage in different translations and noting the differences. Ask God what He is saying in the passage. Take notes on it in a journal. Talk about it with a friend via email, text message, or over coffee. When you actively engage with the Bible, it will take on a much richer meaning than if you merely read a bit and check it off your to-do list. You will have moved into meditation on God’s word, and that will truly change how you go about life.
Lord, I ask You in these words of Thomas Aquinas, “Pour forth a ray of Your brightness into the darkened places of my mind; disperse from my soul the twofold darkness into which I was born: sin and ignorance. Grant to me keenness of mind, capacity to remember, skill in learning, subtlety to interpret, and eloquence in speech. May You guide the beginning of my work, direct its progress, and bring it to completion. You Who are true God and true Man, who live and reign, world without end. Amen.”
Copyright © 2017 by Steven R. Perkins