Long time readers will remember the theme of this year has been the Word of God. I have sought insight and guidance in the reading of scripture and worked to gain a greater appreciation and love for the Bible. Several books have helped me in this process, George Guthrie’s Reading the Bible For Life and Scot McKnight’s The Blue Parakeet to name a few. But the book that I would recommend for a more spiritual approach to the Bible is Chris Webb’s book The Fire of the Word.
In the book, Webb introduced me to the Exercises of St. Ignatius and provided guidance on conducting my own exercises with scripture. The beauty of the Ignatius approach is it immerses you in the story of scripture. After spending 15-20 minutes meditating on a passage, you then begin to pray and seek out a response from Jesus.
At the end of the exercise, you begin to talk with Christ and most importantly – listen. I don’t always hear a response but I feel closer to Christ and feel like our relationship has a more honest element to it. Also, because of this exercise, I spend the rest of the day thinking about the passage and reflecting on the parts of the story that meant the most to me.
I would highly recommend Webb’s book and encourage you to give the Ignatius meditative approach to scripture a try. Here are the steps to follow as you read a designated passage:
Step One – Imagine the scene as clearly as you can. Use your imagination to take in smells, sounds, and sights.
Step Two – Place yourself in the shoes of one of the characters
Step Three – Continue to run the events of the story to run through your mind. Pay close attention to what people say and do.
Step Four – Ask yourself what emotions does this passage create in you? How do you want to respond to the questions asked or statements made.
Step Five – Use your emotions and questions from the previous step to spark a conversation with Christ. Listen for his response.
If all of this seems strange to you then maybe it is time for you to try something new. The Bible is too important for us to not do everything we can to engage it and the method above has worked very well for me.