Friday, February 4, 2011

Which is better?

I go back & forth in my personal practices between reading a handful of chapters of the Bible at a time and reading only one chapter at a time and then spending some quiet moments re-reading & reflecting upon what I read.

More and more I'm finding that greater joy and benefit come from the latter practice than the former.

Consider this quote from Peter Toon (he's summarizing the teaching of the Puritans on these things):

(Note first of all that the word "meditation" in Christianity does not mean the same thing as it means in other contexts. In some religious contexts meditation means emptying your mind -- moving to a state of mental passivity. In the Bible meditating is very different. It mean to fill your mind with God's truth & turn it over & over in your mind, taking it all in. It's a state of mental activity, not passivity. It means immersing your mind in the Scriptures & thinking deeply about how those truths are to be understood, applied, and prayed into your life.)

But here's the quote from Peter Toon, summarizing the Puritans:

"To read the Bible and not to meditate was seen as an unfruitful exercise: better to read one chapter and to meditate afterward than to read several chapters and not to meditate. Likewise to meditate and not to pray was like preparing to run a race and never leaving the starting line. The three duties of reading Scripture, meditation, and prayer belonged together, and though each could be done occasionally on its own, as formal duties to God they were best done together."

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