Lectio Divina

The discipline of reading God’s word can often be a challenging habit to stick with, especially during this busy time of year.  I often find myself making excuses or reading the text without actually absorbing any of it.  I’m guessing many of you likely run into similar issues.  So how do we combat the roadblocks we face when it comes to studying the Bible?

One method we’ve come to love here at Goodberry is a practice called Lectio Divina.  Perhaps the greatest reason we love this practice is because of how it views scripture as greater than text to be studied, but as the Living Word of God.  The origins of this practice date back to the third century and have monastic roots.  What an incredible gift that we can still benefit from this method today!

Traditionally, the practice has 4 movements.  I would love to share these movements with you, as well as include a few suggestions that have helped me in adapting this practice.  Prior to beginning, I suggest finding a quiet, comfortable spot for reflection.  I typically prefer to be outdoors, though any space with limited interruptions will be best.

  • First Movement:  READ

    • This movement involves selecting a text to read.  Perhaps you have a daily bible study plan that you follow, or are reading through a particular book of the bible.  For this intent, I would recommend a shorter text, maybe 1 or 2 verses.  Simply start by reading through the text.  I often will read it several times, even saying it aloud once or twice.  A slow recitation of the text will allow you to absorb the content more fully.  A caution here is to avoid quickly jumping into interpretation or discovering meaning.  That will come later.  Simply focus on what is written.

  • Second Movement:  MEDITATE

    • This movement is focused on allowing the text to come to life before you.  Don’t be tempted to analyze just yet, but leave room for the Holy Spirit to intervene and consider the text from different angles.  Are there certain words or phrases that stand out to you?  Chew on them.  Consider why these words are resonating in your heart.  The passage may illuminated in new ways before you during this movement.

  • Third Movement:  PRAY

    • The third movement is all about savoring the text.  This an opportunity to come before God and thank Him for the living and active word that He has given you.  Share with Him your feelings, your questions, your doubts, your needs.  Ask for meaning.  This practice of communing with God will open your eyes to the specific truths you are reading.

  • Fourth Movement:  CONTEMPLATE

    • The final phases of this practice involves digesting the word of God.  In this form of prayer, your only role is to listen.  You have had a chance to read the text, speak it’s meaning to you, and seek the truth.  And lastly, you have the chance here to hear the word of God speak.  Listen for the whispers and the roars of the words to speak.  Your silent prayer expresses love for God and a respect for His word.

May you be blessed as you read God’s word!  For more information on the practice of Lectio Divina, please check out these great resources available on our website:

Lectio Divina:  Contemplative Awakening & Awareness

Lectio Divina:  How To Pray Sacred Scriptures

Discovering Lectio Divina:  Bringing Scripture Into Ordinary Life