Reading Too Fast and Applying Too Little

I read the Bible too fast. Too often I read it just like any other book, and thus lose out on not only meaning, but application and even conviction. As a result, I don’t meditate on Scripture like I should.

On the other hand, Martin Luther, before his conversion, wrestled with God over just a few of Paul’s words in Romans: “the righteousness of God.” After countless weeks of difficult wrestling over the meaning of those words, the Holy Spirit opened Luther’s eyes to the glorious truths of the gospel.

David writes and sings of the joys of meditating on God’s Word throughout the Psalms, starting in Psalm 1: “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.” Paul, too writes about meditation, like when he admonishes the Philippians to think about what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy.

Note what meditation is: it’s not breezing through the Bible at breakneck speed while retaining little (like me). It’s also not an emptying of the mind or a turning inward to the self, like traditional Eastern meditation which is sadly influencing the Western church (and often in subtle, easy-to-swallow ways like Foster, Willard, et al). Instead, it’s wrestling with the truths of God’s law. I can remember many years ago my dad likening it to a cow chewing her cud – bringing Scripture “back up” to chew on, think about, wrestle with, and apply. In a way, if I don’t have Scripture on my mind, it’s almost like I am robbing the Holy Spirit of His job of applying it to my life.

Mark Driscoll has some decent, simple thoughts on meditating on Scripture in part 1 here and part 2 here. He writes:

“Christian meditation differs greatly from non-Christian forms of meditation practiced in Eastern religions. Christian meditation is not passively emptying one’s mind, looking inward for guidance, or detaching oneself from the world. Christian meditation is actively filling one’s mind with Scripture to hear from God and subsequently being transformed by God to effectively serve Him in the world.”

My lesson? Stop writing this post and go read slowly! Hey, are you still reading this?


One thought on “Reading Too Fast and Applying Too Little

  1. One of the best ways to accomplish this, I’m learning, is to get on the internet less. As you hinted in your closing thoughts. See also the recent post by helphisunbelief…


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