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Is Reading a Bible Verse a Day Enough? Why Bible reflection matters

We get asked many great questions about Bible reading. Here is an answer to a recent question “Is it enough to just read a Bible verse each day?” The quick answer is – no, it’s not enough! In this post, we’ll dig into why Bible reflection matters and give you ten ways to reflect on the Bible. 

 

“Is it enough to just read a Bible verse each day?”

 

We’ve heard this question a lot on social media. A popular app delivers a Bible verse to your phone each day – which many subscribe to – but is a verse a day enough?

A friend shared how they do this so they don’t feel guilty about not reading the Bible. However, our approach shouldn’t be following a checklist of things a “good Christian” is supposed to do. Rather, we should be coming to God’s Word to connect with Him.

“We read the Word to connect with the One [Jesus] of whom the Word speaks” – Dr. Lawson Murray.

Bible Reflection matters

 

According to the researchers Greg Hawkins and Cally Parkinson, spending time reflecting on Scripture has the highest impact on personal spiritual practice. Hawkins and Parkinson cataloged the spiritual lives of 250,000 people at 1000 different churches and discovered that the primary catalyst for developing mature Christians is not Bible reading alone; it’s Bible reading coupled with reflection.

Bible reading and reflection results in strong Christians and healthy churches. According to the Willow Creek Association’s Reveal survey, there are 25 significant catalysts that help people grow in the Christian faith. Of these catalysts, reading coupled with reflecting on the Scriptures outpaces the other catalysts by 75 percent.

If we could choose only one thing to help us grow spiritually, reading and reflecting on Scripture should be our number one choice.

Bible reading and reflection on the biblical text are two distinct spiritual disciplines. You’re not doing enough if you simply use a Bible reading plan and don’t reflect on the Scriptures. Don’t assume that Bible reading will result in reflection on Scripture. We must intentionally reflect on the Bible.

Bible reading coupled with reflecting on the Scriptures outpaces the other catalysts by 75 percent.

What is Bible Reflection?

 

The practice of reflection is thoughtful deliberation or musing on the Scripture text. It’s tuning the mind and heart to draw near to God to be refreshed with the spiritual waters for which our souls thirst. And it’s asking God, in Foster’s words, to “pour the living water that flows from Christ through the Bible into my dry and thirsty soul.”

 

 

Ten ways to reflect on the Bible

 

1. Pause frequently. Take your time with the text. Reflection is lingering, not skimming. Temporarily halt on words or phrases the Holy Spirit brings to your attention.

2. Search for emphasis. What are some words in the text that should be stressed or highlighted?

3. Unpack the language. Analyze the syntax and grammar. Verbs are often the key to understanding the meaning of a sentence.

4. Define the meaning of keywords. Use a dictionary or thesaurus to better understand nuances of meaning. Look up the Hebrew or Greek meaning of words for better comprehension.

5. Look for patterns. Search for repetitions, acrostics or chiastic structures (unique repetitions), literary rhythms, or poetic rhymes. (see our post on reading poetry in the Bible)

6. Be aware of yield signs. Words like “all,” “every,” “never,” and “none” are yield signs that should slow us down. Take time to reflect on what should be included or left out.

7. Contrast. Consider the opposite of what the verse says. For example, the opposite of “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” would be, “I have [not] stored up your word in my heart, [and now I] sin against you,”

8. Ask relational questions. Where do I find myself resonating with a word or resisting what the text is saying? What do my reactions to the text tell me about my relationships, attitudes, or behaviours? What aspect of my life is being touched or spoken to through this text? How do I feel about what is being said?

9. Identify yourself in the text. Ask, “What is God saying to me?” and “If I was literally in the narrative, what role would I be playing?”

10. Look for what the text teaches about the Father, Son, or Holy Spirit. Ask God, “Where are you in this Scripture?”

 

Bible reflection usually happens along with other Bible-reading practices. One can’t, for example, pray, memorize, study, or journal Scripture without reflection. This is why every Christian must learn basic Scripture reflection skills.

Ready to get started? A Bible reading guide will be a helpful tool! Take our quiz to find which Bible reading guide is best for you.

Related Posts: How to do Lectio DivinaWhere to Start Reading The Bible, Nurturing Bible Engagement

© Scripture Union Canada, 2021

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