Monday, February 18, 2008

read slowly

I guess I'm not a fan of speed reading, unless you're reading something not all that riveting to you, but having some importance, or else having to complete a heavy academic load. I think here especially of our Bible reading. When we read Scripture do we really let it have a chance, as God's word, to really get hold of us? To do so means more than to just read it, good as that is. I think it involves reading it slowly.

We read it slowly in a receptive manner, to receive it as what it is, the word of God. We may not know exactly what God is saying to us, or how this word is impacting us. But the important thing is that we're there with our Bible, in quietness before God, to let him speak or impact us as he pleases. It's not an issue of whether or not we have to sense that speaking or impact on us. No. We have to proceed by faith and seek to do so with a listening heart as in the words of Samuel, "Speak Lord, for your servant is listening."

Reading slow means to read letting the thoughts come to us. Letting the Bible speak to us on its own terms; thus truly opening ourselves up to the word of God and all that can mean for us.

This will take time on our part. Being unhurried. Reading Scripture can become monotonous and I think sometimes we have to fight through times of boredom and tedium in our reading of it. But often this is the case, surely, because we're not giving it the time and place it needs.
For my part, I tend to want to read it in large chunks and quite alot over time. But I'm afraid in doing so I may be running ahead of really letting the word of God speak to me.

I don't want to discount that fact that Scripture plainly speaks to us with mostly words that on the surface are not hard to understand. But it takes more than just an understanding of their meaning, but a work of God by faith, so that we will take in the meaning and reality of the meaning in Jesus, into the very fabric of our hearts and out from that into our lives. We are indeed, to eat the Book (cf., prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel, and John on the island of Patmos in writing the book of the Revelation).

I am a believer in us reading through the entire Bible from cover to cover, repeatedly. But I also think we need to be willing to read it slowly, and sometimes the same passage repeatedly. And we need to do this regularly, at least as a rule, once a day.

Of course some of us can have it quiet much easier than others. For some with babies and small children, quiet for any certain length of time may be impossible. We just have to do the best we can to get a space somehow, where we can do this, however imperfectly. The Lord looks on our efforts, not on the actual performance.

What help can any of you offer on this? Or anything you might like to say.

8 comments:

preacherman said...

Ted,
Thank you for your wonderful words to us all today. Great post brother.

NaNcY said...

thank you for the encouragement, ted. i think that we all need to have a good word toward this. i think that it is an emportant part of the battle. evil does not want us to read the word, the world does not want for us to feed on the holy word of God. and so it is a spiritual battle of the highest concern. thank you for your words to remind my heart and mind in this direction. to put on the armor.

God's blessings upon you and your family.

L.L. Barkat said...

I like to do both. Read on through. And read some passages slowly. Like the way I love to run through my neighborhood and also stop to explore a single branch laden with drops of new rain.

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

I agree - it is good to both read through and to slow down and really study a passage. I like the Greek for study - at least the Greek you can find on "crosswalk" or other sites - my Greek reading isn't that good yet! But I really like to try to understand exactly what the author was trying to get across!

Ted M. Gossard said...

Preacherman,
Thanks again for reading and for your most kind comment.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Nancy,
Thanks for your good words tying it to the battle we're all in.

And blessings on you and yours, as well!

Ted M. Gossard said...

L.L.,
Nice analogy there.

Me too. You make me feel less guilty about reading some parts faster, then slowing down at other parts. I want to take in everything, but some things are especially important to ponder, and explore.

Thanks.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Susan,
I admire your desire to do everything (I think I pick that up from you). To read the koine Greek from the Gk NT is wonderful indeed. Though no one who cannot do so should think they're playing second fiddle. So many good Bible translations and good helps, and I know you're an avid, regular student of God's word.

We certainly need both. So much there; so much wonder and awe and beauty in the pages of holy writ. A shame to just do one or the other. We need both. Good thought from you and L.L.

Thanks.