How to ‘devotionally’ read the Bible
“I will meditate on Your precepts and regard Your ways. I will delight in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word.” Psalm 119:15-16
When your heart is hungry for truth you read the Bible the right way. Your mind thinks deeply about what the words mean to you. Your ears are listening as you silently ask: “What are you saying to me, O God?” You are amazed at how certain phrases impact your heart and mind. Suddenly your deep concerns make sense, and your heart is filled with joy.
It is rightly said that “faith seeks understanding”. There will be important questions that we need to find out and can only be answered through academic study. The Bible has an endless store of jewels that can only be garnered this way. The Christian community needs this intelligent approach to our faith – so long as it begins with faith. “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (2nd Timothy 2:15).
While this knowledge is important to satisfy the inquiring mind and inform the body of Christ, this type of study is not designed to feed your soul. You must hear the Word of God with a hungry heart, listening to His voice, not your mind.
Make sure you stay devotionally reading the Bible. Set aside a regular chunk of time and read it when you’re refreshed. Read it slowly, silently, and don’t have an agenda to use it. Let the words come to you and speak to you.
Focus on a verse or two that invokes joy or peace, then savor and fully digest the words. Perhaps memorize them or just the main idea. You can take it further by meditating upon them at various times of the day; For example, after savoring 2 Thessalonians (1:11-12) I set my mind that day to believe that God would empower me to fulfill every desire to please Him and be fruitful in every good deed prompted by my faith.
Here is another practice suggested by St. Ignatius: use your imagination to connect with Jesus, Father-God, or Holy Spirit. Just like the “hem of his garment” story, you can pick any Biblical scene and put yourself in it and start interacting with Jesus.
Be ready and expectant to encounter His presence as you read the Bible. Believe he is readily prepared to do that.