Bible Intake (Part 2)
for the Purpose of Godliness Chapter 3
The intake of God’s Word is the most important Spiritual Discipline.We practice this Discipline, not only by hearing, reading, and studying God’s Word, but also through memorizing and meditating on Scripture and applying what we learn to our daily lives. When rightly practiced, these promote increased knowledge of God and closer conformity to Christ.
Memorizing God’s Word:
What Christian doesn’t want his or her faith strengthened? One thing you can do to strengthens it is to discipline yourself to memorize Scripture. Memorizing Scripture strengthens your faith because it repeatedly reinforces the truth, often just when you need to hear it again. Psalm 119:24 says, “Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors.”Just as the Holy Spirit retrieves scriptural truth from our memory banks for use in counseling others, so also will He bring it to our own minds providing timely guidance for ourselves. When Scripture is stored in the mind, it is available for the Holy Spirit to bring to your attention when you need it most. Psalm 119:11 says, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you,” and Colossians 3:2 says, “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”
Tips on Scripture Memory:
Make a list of the verses on-screen or on a sheet of paper or index cards.
Draw picture reminders to trigger your memory of key words in the verses.
Memorize the verses perfectly, word-for-word, with each reference.
Find someone who will hold you accountable for your memory work and will review verses with you.
Every day, review some of the verses you have previously memorized and meditate on them.
Meditating on God’s Word:
We must remember that meditation is both commanded by God and modeled by the godly in Scripture. So, let’s define meditation as deep thinking on the truths and spiritual realities revealed in Scripture or upon life from a scriptural perspective for the purpose of understanding, application, and prayer. Christian meditation involves filling your mind with God and the truth of God. Christian history has always had a place for the sanctified use of our God-given imagination in meditation. Imagination is our servant to help us meditate on things that are true. (Philippians 4:8)
After your Bible reading, choose the verse, phrase, or word that impresses you the most from the passage of Scripture you’ve read. If nothing attracted particular attention, then choose one of the most important verses from the section you read. Then meditate, think deeply, on the text. The general rule in your personal, daily intake of Scripture is to both read and meditate. Read at length -- such as a chapter or more -- then go back over what you’ve read and select something specific from that as the focus of your meditation. Read big; meditate small.
The Value of Applying God’s Word:
The Bible promises the blessing of God on those who apply the Word of God to their lives. The classic New Covenant statement on the value of integrating the spiritual with the concrete is James 1:22-25. Pithy and powerful is Jesus’ similar statement, “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” (John 13:17). Despite the difficulty and spiritual opposition, are you willing, at all costs, to begin using your mind “in a disciplined way” to feed on the Word of God “for the purpose of godliness”?
What is a verse that you have memorized that has a special meaning to you?
Exploring Scripture Memorization:
How does Jesus’ confrontation with Satan (Matthew 4:1-11) illustrate the power of Scripture that is committed to memory?
Read Proverbs 22:17-19. Why should we keep God’s Word within us and ready on our lips?
What does Psalm 119:14 say about guidance? How might you apply this truth to your busy life?
What was the psalmist’s attitude toward Scripture? Read Psalm 119:97
Exploring Biblical Meditation:
Name several differences between biblical meditation and other kinds of meditation.
Read Joshua 1:8. What did God command Joshua to do, and what did God promise would happen as a result of Joshua’s obedience?
What do you think it means to meditate on God’s Word throughout the day and night?
As we meditate on Scripture, what happens to our minds? (See Romans 12:2)
Applying God’s Word to Our Daily Lives:
Read James 1:22-25. When you read the Bible, do you find it easy to apply what you read to your life? Why or why not?
Sometimes Christians use verses incorrectly to try to prove a certain point. Why is it so important for people to understand the meaning of particular verses in their context before applying the verses to their lives?
Why is an overall Bible intake through hearing, reading, studying, memorizing, and meditating on Scripture so important?
Consider this statement: “Biblical meditation isn’t an end in itself; it is the key to putting the truths and realities of Scripture into practice.” Do you agree? Why or why not?
Ask God to open your eyes and show you the wonderful truths in His Word.
Praise Him for Who He is, and ask Him to guide you as you seek to apply biblical truths in your life this coming week.
What steps will you take to deal with the obstacles you expect to face as you begin to memorize God’s Word?
What three steps can you take this week to cultivate the Discipline of meditating on God’s Word?