Friday, September 30, 2011

This Week's Bible Study

Our Bible Study group has started again, and seeing as I haven't posted in a while I thought I'd post what we did this week for those away or unable to make it.

As we've met over the past year I've decided to use lectio divina as a way to begin and wrap up the study when we've taken a break, or around the major holidays of the church year. As Presbyterians, our study of the Bible tends to be focused on intellectual understanding and application, which is an important discipline. But it also helps to take some time to approach the text of Scripture in a quieter, more reflective way. While we are called to love God with all our minds, our faith must touch all of our lives.

Lectio divina, means literally 'divine reading', but a more helpful transation is 'prayerful reading and listening'. It is an approach to encountering God's Word in the Scriptures on a more personal level, to come ready to listen to what God may be saying to us in this particular moment of our lives.

This week the passage we considered was Matthew 12:15-21, which was where we left off in June. This particular text comes after Jesus has a dispute with the Pharisees, who have now begun to plot how to kill him. The translation below is the ESV:

15 Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. And many followed him, and he healed them all 16 and ordered them not to make him known. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah:
18      “Behold, my servant whom I have chosen,
      my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased.
            I will put my Spirit upon him,
      and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles. 
19      He will not quarrel or cry aloud,
      nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets; 
20      a bruised reed he will not break,
      and a smoldering wick he will not quench,
          until he brings justice to victory; 
21      and in his name the Gentiles will hope.”

Below is the Lectio format that I use in group settings. Be sure to take your time. Do not rush through the silences. May God speak to you through his Word.

1. Lectio. (reading) Get comfortable. Read the passage twice. You are listening for the word that "jumps out for you." The word/phrase that catches your attention in a special way.


2. Meditatio. (meditation) Read again. What is evoked in you by the word/phrase? What memories, images or feelings are tapped.


3. Oratio. (prayer) What might God be trying to bring to your awareness? How does this relate to your life right now? What might God be inviting you to do or become?


4. Contemplatio. (contemplation)



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