Have you ever read a portion of Scripture - perhaps even several pages or chapters - only to realize that you have no idea what you just read? Your eyes may be reading words but your mind is thinking about the phone call you just received or your day's schedule. If you wish to know God, you must know His Word, advised C. H. Spurgeon.
How to make the Word come alive within you:
Write out portions of the Word. Do you remember in elementary school when the teacher would instruct the class to copy a list from the blackboard? The teacher knew you were more likely to grasp and remember the concepts if you copied the words. God knew how prone His people were to forget what He had told them. Over and over, He challenged them to remember Him, to remember His law, to remember what He had done for them. Taking time to write out specific passages from the Word forces you to think about what you are reading and to observe the details of the text more carefully. You could begin by writing out paragraphs of scriptures on index cards, then meditating on or memorizing those passages.
Write in your Bible. Underline verses you find particularly meaningful to you. In time your Bible will tell a story of your personal journey of faith during a specific period of time. Circle repeated words or phrases. Write cross references in the margin as well as noting the meaning of specific words or phrases.
Record insights. When John was in exile, he was given a vision of heaven. The Lord appeared to him and said, Write on a scroll what you see...Write, therefore, what you have seen (Rev. 1:11,19). Likewise, you can write what you have seen in scripture. Use journals to record your observations and insights that the Holy Spirit has shown you while reading and meditating on the Word. Each time you write, record the date and passage you are reading.
Record your responses. Ask yourself, What should I do? God told Ezekiel that the problem with His people was that They sit before you to listen to your words, but they do not put them into practice (Ex. 33:31). How does this truth apply to my life? What changes need to be made in my life?
Record milestones in your spiritual pilgrimage. When the Israelites were attacked by the Amalekites, God used the occasion to teach the eager Joshua to rely, not on his natural strength or ability, but on the power of God revealed each time Moses raised his arms. Not wanting Joshua ever to forget that the Amalekites were his eternal enemies and that He alone had the power to overcome them, the Lord said to Moses, Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered (Ex. 17:14). This is perhaps the first Biblical illustration of what we call journaling. When you have spiritual achievements (understanding the death of a loved one, coming to terms with your frailties, learning about obedience), write them down as a reminder of the providence of God.
From A Place of Quiet Rest by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, copyright (c) 2000. Used by permission of Moody Press, Chicago, Ill., 1-800-678-6928.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss is director of publications and women's ministries for Life Action Ministries in Niles, Mich., and editor of Spirit of Revival magazine. A graduate of the University of Southern California, Nancy produced the national TV program, America: You're Too Young to Die.