Would you be willing to share about your own time alone with God and the materials you use devotionally?
I don’t think I’ve got anything out of the ordinary to share. Like other Christians, I try to get up in the morning early enough to start the day with God and the Bible, shall I say with God through the Bible. I’ve been telling people for years that every Christian worth his salt ought to read the Bible from cover to cover every year. And I do that myself by using the One-Year Bible that Tyndale House publishes. I don’t know whether you know it; it gives you every day a hunk of the Old Testament, a passage from the New Testament, a psalm or part of a psalm, and something from the Proverbs. And you do get through the whole Bible, and the Psalter twice, in the course of a year.
You’ll find that there are any number of remarkable aptnesses in the way that the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs passages fit together. It’s a lovely tool for devotional use.
I read the Bible, and as I read it, I ask questions in order to get my thoughts into shape. I think when one reads the Bible one ought always to be asking questions, and my questions are basically three: (1) What does this show me about God? (2) What does this teach me about life? (3) What direction does this give me for my life today?
And you’ll need to go through questions 1 and 2 before you’re qualified really to answer question 3. Otherwise, you’ll answer question 3 on the basis of impressionism, and you will in the outcome miss a great deal of what each passage has to say to you.
I expect you’ve proved this in experience. What does it tell you about God and what does it tell you about life and its ups and downs, its joys and sorrows, with its temptations and its battles, with its responsibilities, and so on and so forth? There’s a lot of thinking to do, but it’s fruitful thinking. Whether I do it well, of course, is another question, but this is what I try to do.
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