How to Read the Word

Dallas Willard recalls the first time he spent the better part of a day just reading and rereading the Gospel of John. He was in his second year of college and it was a holiday week-end so the campus was largely deserted. He began by reading the Gospel while machines washed his clothes. But that was done in an hour or two, and by then he was engrossed in John's account.

"I did nothing for the rest of the day but live there in that world: reading, meditating, cross-referencing, and rereading. Truthfully, my world never looked quite the same after that day." He had discovered a reality in Jesus that he had never known before.

Willard says he learned through this experience that intensity is crucial in our attempts to gain spiritual understanding. "To dribble a few verses or chapters of scripture on oneself through the week, in church or out, will not reorder one's mind and spirit--just as one drop of water every five minutes will not get you a shower, no matter how long you keep it up. You need a lot of water at once and for a sufficiently long time. Similarly for the written Word."

We can unconsciously come to this written Word forgetting that Christ desires to speak to us. When we listen intently, we hear His invitation to become the embodiment of the Word as Jesus was. What an invitation!

Dear Jesus, help me not to be so concerned with the volume I read when I read scripture that I fail to invest both time and intensity.

 "Pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words...for they are life to those who find them" (Proverbs 4:20, 22).