Yesterday we had a guest speaker at church. I can't remember his name, but I know his message will forever change how I read the Word of God.
He was speaking about how he had gone to see an actor who at his pinnacle had been in Les Miserables on Broadway, but this man instead was doing 1.5 hour monologue bringing the book of Luke to life for so many. He said he asked to meet for lunch the next day and nine hours, his way of reading God's Word was changed. This man had talked about just spending months hanging out absorbing one specific book of the Bible until it wasn't just that you had it memorized, it was that you had absorbed it into your very being.
Our speaker talked about how it transformed how he read the Bible - no longer was he worried about memorizing verses, he began to read and hang out in Philippians, he kept moving as he became absorbed in the Word and the Word became a part of him. He didn't just read it, and know it by heart, but he understood each book he spent time hanging out in.
How did he do this? He spoke of three things main points. However, he also talked about reading out loud as if we are reading for our children - even if we do different voices for them, but alone.
Here were his three points:
1. Prayerful Reading: He talked about a lot of things here - including the fact that sometimes we get distracted because just as in a game of football, someone is playing defense. Sometimes we'll find ourselves distracted - there is a reason for this. Sometimes we'll walk away with nothing but sometimes we'll also find the humor.
2. Continuous Reading: Just as you would sit down and read a book in a single sitting, you should do this with the book you choose to study. You will come away having absorbed more. I can attest to this fact.
He suggested setting a timer for 10, 20 or 30 minutes. Because when we set limits like "I'm going to read 5 chapters" By the time we read chapter 2 we are saying to ourselves, "I've got three more chapters." However, by setting a time limit, it makes it more manageable and we can just read continuously until our timer goes off or we know our time is up. I have to say, I started doing this this morning - and you can cover a lot of Matthew in 30 minutes. I am half way into Chapter 7 now. I even started with the different generations that lead to Jesus being from the line of King David.
3. Repetitious Reading: He talked about spending months just reading and rereading each chapter until you have read it so much that it is just ingrained in your heart and mind. He also suggested starting with smaller books like Ephesians, Philippians and John, to name a few.
I loved this idea - not worrying about memorizing, but just absorbing God's Word until it is in a part of you. I look forward to absorbing and hanging out with Matthew first. Learning and absorbing Jesus' teachings.
Warning: If you do this too, prepare to be convicted and realizing that things we didn't think much about are suddenly very visible and there in front of us.
I hope you have a good week. Happy Monday!