Lectio Divina

Church bulletin:

It goes without saying, reading the Bible is a must. We should seek to do so every day. Having read a passage however, let us not suppose that we have fulfilled our obligation. There are important issues which accompany reading, that is – the manner in which we read and what we do with what we read. It is the manner which determines the outcome. He who has ears let him hear. It is possible to hear with the ears and see with the eyes but not take anything in. Plenty of people followed Jesus, they heard Him preach and they saw miracles, yet they went away unchanged. John 6:60-66, Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “this is a hard saying; who can understand it?……………From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.”

The ancients referred to lectio divina. Translated from the Latin it means “divine reading.” There are four components which comprise lectio divina, divine reading.

* Lectio – meaning to gather and read. The place to begin with good reading is not simply the text itself, but to gather information about the text. What kind of genre is it; how is it to be interpreted; what is its context; where, when, why, to whom and by whom was it written. This is not to say that you can’t benefit from the Bible without detailed preparatory research, but background information enables us to derive greater benefit. We don’t read in a vacuum.

* Meditatio – meaning to meditate. Meditation is to think over and ponder. It is to reflect upon what the text has to teach us about the Triune God, salvation, obedience, worship, the world, sin, ourselves etc. When we read, we get into the text. When we meditate, the text gets into us. The aim of meditation is to discover the richness of God’s Word. We are not hunting for hidden special revelation, but we recognize there are layers and depths to the truth which are not always immediately obvious.

* Oratio – meaning to pray. We read and meditate asking God to help us; asking God to reveal Himself and His truth. Prayer recognizes that along with human effort we need God to speak to us through what is written. Furthermore, we should use the scripture to shape and inform our prayers. This way our prayers are kept in line with God’s will. It can also be helpful to turn a passage into personal prayer. There is nothing wrong with repeating prayers in the Bible and making them our own prayers – such as the Lord’s Prayer. Prayer is to meet with God in His Word – we come to Him, and He comes to us.

* Contemplatio – meaning to contemplate. Contemplation is the idea that we take the text with us. It becomes a part of us, and we live it out. Of what value is it to read the Bible if its truths remain only ideas? We will be like that man described by James – he sees himself in the mirror and immediately forgets what he looks like. Scripture is given so that we might know how to be saved and how to live. Ours is a living faith; ours is a practical faith. God is concerned with our day to day lives and how with think and act.

It is not simply reading that matters, but what you do with it. If the information is to be beneficial then we must meditate, pray, and contemplate. If we are to be fruitful and the church is to be fruitful, not only must we get into the Word, the Word must get into us. Lectio Divina.