You probably have been told you should read the Bible. It’s an important book. It’s been influential for centuries. And it’s the number-one bestseller year after year.
But has anyone taught you how to read the Bible to achieve maximum spiritual growth in your life (not merely knowledge of biblical people and events)? Engaging Scripture is more than acquiring and cataloging information. Effective Scripture engagement is when you personally interact with the Bible’s stories, poems, songs, history, principles, and lessons so that you discern the text speaking to you by the power of the Holy Spirit, enabling you to get beyond the printed page and hear the voice of God, and discover for yourself the unique claim Jesus Christ is making upon you.
The Bible itself teaches us how we’re to approach God’s Word. It uses such vocabulary as “meditate” (Psalm 1:2; Joshua 1:8), “reflect” (2 Timothy 2:7), “look intently” (James 1:25), “dwell” (Colossians 3:16), “ponder” (Psalm 119:95), “consider” (Jeremiah 2:31), and even “eat” (Jeremiah 15:16. These words describe Scripture engagement.
The Abide Bible (Thomas Nelson, 2020), available in both the New King James Version (NKJV) and New English Translation (NET), is designed to help you experience the peace, hope, and growth that come from encountering the voice and presence of God in Scripture. Every feature in The Abide Bible is arranged to teach and develop Scripture-engagement habits that help you know the power and spiritual nourishment of abiding in Christ (John 15:4).
The Abide Bible is one of the many resources you have immediate access to as a member of Bible Gateway Plus
Having a foundational understanding of Scripture engagement is critical, as is developing the skills necessary to actually be able to better meet God in his Word. Like the Ethiopian eunuch, we often need a “Philip” to come alongside of us who can model the process to help us know what to do when we come to the Bible (Acts 8:26-40).
Just as there are many ways to exercise that lead to being physically healthy, there are a variety of ways to engage Scripture that lead to spiritual health. Throughout its history the church has used and taught a number of methods to help people assimilate scriptural meaning into their lives.
Created in partnership with Bible Gateway and the Taylor University Center for Scripture Engagement (@TaylorU_CSE), The Abide Bible’s features include articles, book introductions, and practical Scripture prompts based on five ways of engaging deeply with the Bible. What follows is a more detailed description of the five specific Scripture engagement practices used in The Abide Bible (website), with video descriptions of each presented by Dr. Phil Collins from Taylor University’s Center for Scripture Engagement. These five are not the only five that exist, but they are five foundational practices that probably every follower of Jesus should be exposed to and experiment with.
- Praying Scripture: Pattern your prayers after biblical texts, personalizing the prayer and gaining language for the thoughts and emotions you want to express.
- Picture It: Place yourself in a biblical narrative as a bystander or participant in important events.
- Journal: Focus and reflect on Scripture and its meaning for your life, opening yourself to God’s voice as you ponder.
- Engage Through Art: Consider a classic piece of art—photograph, sculpture, painting—and let it deepen your meditations on scriptural truths.
- Contemplate: Follow the church’s long-standing practice of reading, meditating on, praying, and contemplating a passage of Scripture in order to experience God’s presence through the words of the Bible.
About Thomas Nelson
Thomas Nelson (@ThomasNelson) is a world leading publisher and provider of Christian content and has been providing readers with quality inspirational product for more than 200 years. As part of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., the publishing group provides multiple formats of award-winning Bibles, books, gift books, cookbooks, curriculum and digital content, with distribution of its products in more than 100 countries. Thomas Nelson, is headquartered in Nashville, TN. For additional information visit www.thomasnelson.com.
The Abide Bible is published by HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., the parent company of Bible Gateway.
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