I finished reading Shaped by the Word this past weekend. I highly recommend this book. It made me question how I viewed Scripture, how I interpreted Scripture, and deepened my love for the Word. It brought many things to surface that I had never thought about before. Here are a few of them; Do I read the Bible to gain more information or read as much as I can, or do I read the Bible to let God speak to me and meditate on one Scripture at a time? Do I always read the same books of the Bible because they are comforting to me and forget the others.....such as neglecting the Old Testament? Do I read certain parts of the Bible because I want to read what pertains to my life right now, or do I let the Lord guide my reading? Mulholland referenced John Wesley's How to Read Scripture. This has been very vital to my walk with the Lord. Here is what Wesley advised:
If you desire to read the scripture in such a manner as may most effectually answer this end, would it not be advisable,
1. To set apart a little time, if you can, every morning and evening for that purpose?And whatever light you then receive, should be used to the uttermost, and that immediately. Let there be no delay. Whatever you resolve, begin to execute the first moment you can. So shall you find this word to be indeed the power of God unto present and eternal salvation.
2. At each time if you have leisure, to read a chapter out of the Old, and one out of the New Testament: if you cannot do this, to take a single chapter, or a part of one?
3. To read this with a single eye, to know the whole will of God, and a fixt resolution to do it? In order to know his will, you should,
4. Have a constant eye to the analogy of faith; the connexion and harmony there is between those grand, fundamental doctrines, Original Sin, Justification by Faith, the New Birth, Inward and Outward Holiness.
5. Serious and earnest prayer should be constantly used, before we consult the oracles of God, seeing "scripture can only be understood thro' the same Spirit whereby it was given." Our reading should likewise be closed with prayer, that what we read may be written on our hearts.
6. It might also be of use, if while we read, we were frequently to pause, and examine ourselves by what we read, both with regard to our hearts, and lives. This would furnish us with matter of praise, where we found God had enabled us to conform to his blessed will, and matter of humiliation and prayer, where we were conscious of having fallen short.
Now I am off on another venture and have started reading Richard Foster's Prayer. My hope is that it will help to deepen my prayers, if nothing else, to understand prayer in a new light.