|Psalm 19:14: "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in
your sight, O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer."
1:2-3: "His delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his
law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which
yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does
|A typical image in Christian art is that
of the Studious Reader. Such images tend to stress both the close study of the text as
well as the reflective meditation upon the text. Christian reading is extensive,
systematic, and analytical, as well as intensive, close, and intuitive. The first focuses
on learning and ordering the parts, getting the big picture, making connections across
|The other focuses on a few
things, experiencing them deeply, chewing on each and every nuance. Both seek to
internalize the truth in the thought, imagination, and life of the follower of Jesus. Both
of these kinds of careful, patient reading mold and shape us. The more we study and
meditate upon God's truth, the greater opportunity for these matters to be imprinted on
In a very real sense, scripture reads and writes
our lives. We are read by the truth of God's Word. In our spiritual blindness, we
cannot see or understand who we are. It interprets us, teaches us to know who we are in
all our limits and possibilities. Equally, the Holy Spirit writes us, composes us as we
internalize Scripture. We are a composition, an essay, a text that God revises and
perfects by study and meditation.
This same kind of active, patient reading of scripture also carries
over in a more limited sense to our reading of texts in general. We engage them
carefully and thoughtfully. We bring to bear a close study, and we at times
meditatively mull over a truth until it becomes part of us. Frankly, not every text
deserves such meditation; some don't even deserve close study, but we should at least give
all texts careful consideration.
Central Insight: The process of reading reminds us
that God calls for us to be both active and contemplative in our faith; this process
internalizes in us the work of spiritual formation. It suggests a model for some
reading in general.
Suggestions for Application: Give an example of a
passage from a text that requires a close reading to make sense of it. Or show why a
particular truth in a work is worth repeated reflection.