Reading the Bible is simple, right? Pick it up, read it, Instagram a verse, go on with our day. Yet, often we find this practice unfulfilling—like we’re missing something from the text. The Bible acknowledges this when it describes its ideal reader in Psalm 1:1-3:
Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.
The Bible doesn’t call us to just pick it up and read it; it calls us to meditate on it and let it transform our souls. Historically, the church has meditated on the Bible using an ancient practice called lectio divina (divine reading). Lectio divina has five simple steps:
First, pick a passage of Scripture to read; then…
- Prepare to meet with God. Get rid of distractions (like your phone) and ask the Holy Spirit to meet with you in the text.
- Read the passage slowly and carefully.
- Reflect as you read the passage a second time—what is God saying to you through this passage?
- Respond to what you’ve read. Talk to God about what He’s revealing.
- Rest in God’s presence. Contemplate what you’ve read and how you can live it out.
If you want to learn more about how to engage in lectio divina or just read the Bible in general, here are two great resources:
- Bridgetown Church in Portland Oregon has a sermon specifically about Lectio Divina. (https://bridgetown.church/teaching/scripture/the-bible-as-meditation-literature/)
- Bible Project has a series of YouTube videos that talk about how to read specific parts of the Bible. (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLH0Szn1yYNedn4FbBMMtOlGN-BPLQ54IH)