June 2008 - Vol. 20
When it comes to reading Scripture, take your time
by Jeanne Kun
One of the characteristics of life in modern Western society is its fast pace. We have grown accustomed to instant food, instant news coverage, instant answers, instant results, instant gratification. But, in our haste, we often fail to take the time necessary to appreciate the full scope of God's gifts to us. A fine meal, carefully prepared with love and culinary skill, is to be savored. A fine painting is to be looked at again and again as the balance of its form and line and colors are explored. A fine symphony is to be given complete listening attention to identify and delight in its melodies and their variations that recur and weave their way through its movements.
So it is, too, with God's word. When it comes to reading Scripture, take your time. There is no need to rush. The object is to savor God's word, reflecting on it and allowing it to nourish your life. Sometimes either in our habitual haste to accomplish a task, or because of the effort it might require even to find a block of time in a busy day to read the Bible, we end up taking the mistaken approach of trying to read as much as possible, as fast as possible. That is like wolfing down a meal ó we quickly become over-sated without really appreciating what we are eating.
Cassian wrote of his monks in the fourth century, "They do not delight in the number of verses they recite but in the spiritual understanding with which they recite them. They hold it to be of greater importance to recite ten verses in an intelligent and orderly fashion than to rush through a whole psalm in confusion of mind."
So, too, with
our Scripture reading. Read the word slowly and attentively. Ponder it.
Make Scripture a part of your daily diet, and chew on the word, being fed
and strengthened by it. Savor it to get the full taste. Better to read
a few verses, reflecting on their meaning and prayerfully considering their
application to your life, than to race through several chapters, only to
end up feeling stuffed but without any recollection of what you have taken
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