Seven Ways to Make Scripture Come Alive

  • 13 January 2017
  • Randy Wollf

Sunflower reaching upConfession time: I don’t always enjoy reading Scripture. Sometimes, it’s routine, even boring. Yet, I’ve also experienced incredible “Aha!” moments as God has spoken wisdom into my life. God’s Word has often encouraged me to carry on, even in the face of a big challenge. 

I’ve discovered that the times Scripture impacts me the most is when I actually engage with what God is saying―to meditate on His words. 

I’d like to offer seven ways for engaging Scripture that I have found life-changing.

Pray Through Scripture

I am currently using a Bible reading app on my phone to read through the Bible in 18 months. I like this approach, but sometimes find that I’m just reading to get it done. What has helped is to purposefully pray through the passages as I read them. For example, when reading Psalm 46, I can praise God that He is my refuge and strength. I may find myself confessing those times when I have tried to find safety outside of God. Depending on what I’m going through, I may respond to this passage by committing challenges to the Lord that need His strong helping hand. Praying through Scripture is a way to engage in a conversation with God about what He is showing me. It makes Scripture real and personal.

Journal in Response to Scripture

Journaling is another great way of engaging with Scripture. When I went through the two-year Navigator 2:7 Bible Study Series, we had to journal about our Bible reading each day. The approach was simple. We recorded a key idea and then applied it to our lives. Many have found that life journaling is a great way of getting into the heart of Scripture. One of the great benefits of journaling is that you can trace themes that God might be emphasizing in your life.

Memorize Scripture

Random Order: Read, Memorize, Study

  • 7 March 2016
  • Keith Reed

I’m memorizing the “armour of God” passage that’s found in Ephesians 6:10-18. I chose this section because I’m convinced that temptation is a lifelong struggle. I’ve been able to develop some degree of willpower over the years, but without the power of Christ, I’m still a slave to sin. I need more than personal effort to keep myself from falling. 

As I’ve studied the words in the first few verses and repeated them over and over again, I’ve noticed things that I never before saw in this passage. For instance, the word “stand/withstand” appears in verse 11 and then is quickly used three more times in verses 13 and 14. The image that now comes to my mind is not that of an attacking warrior, but of a soldier who is standing in the confidence of knowing that his armour is outfitted with God’s power and presence. The enemy cannot prevail so long as he stays alert and uses his weapons accordingly.  

But in order for this to happen, the soldier must do something that I never before realized. He must “do everything” (NIV). Standing firm will be the result of “having done all” (ESV).

What then is the “thing” that needs to be done? This is the question I’ve been asking myself as I keep repeating this verse and committing it to memory. And it has led me to study this passage so that I will gain a better understanding for how I can keep standing when the evil one attacks.

This experience has made me grateful for the various ways that I can read and interact with God’s Word and it makes me think about how each practice relates to another. 

How Lettuce Helps Me Memorize Scripture

  • 24 November 2015
  • Keith Reed

 lettuceAdults have developed many excuses to convince themselves that memorizing Bible verses isn't important (click here to read the post). Despite what we may tell ourselves, our minds have an incredible ability to remember; we simply lack the creative energy or the creative methods to make the important things stick. Let me suggest a number of ways that you can develop Bible memory like you develop muscle memory:

Use Props and Associations

When I was a child in Sunday school, the classic strategy was writing a Bible verse on the blackboard and then erasing individual words and reading the verse aloud as a group. This was effective (reading something 20+ times over 20+ minutes will do this), but it was painfully boring. Thankfully, I also remember a teacher using a head of lettuce to help us remember the beginning of Galatians 6:9 (“Let us not become weary in doing good…”). I remember another time when a racing illustration was used: On your mark, get set, “Go into all the world and preach the good news…” (Mark 16:15). Be creative in how you develop associations to the key words you're memorizing. The options are nearly limitless.

Find a Partner

Sharing your goal with another person greatly increases your chance at succeeding. When you’re working with someone to memorize Scripture, it will also provide you with a number of creative options (i.e. you can text the verse to each other during the day or develop a scoreboard to see how each of you are doing).

Involve Children

Kids are naturally creative! Ask for them for ideas for how you can remember a verse and see what they come up with (scavenger hunt anyone?).

Use Music

There’s a good chance that a musician has already developed a song from a verse you’re trying to memorize. Try googling the verse to see what comes up. You can also try writing your own song or taking an existing tune and exchanging its lyrics for the words from the verse (if you choose to do this, please upload your recording online and send me the link!). 

Make it Visible

Save the verse as your computer’s screen saver or use it as the background image for your phone. Use sticky notes on your car’s dashboard or on your mirror in the bathroom. Set up a reoccurring meeting on your online calendar and include the verse in your meeting notes.

Develop a Pattern