How to Read Scripture Devotionally
May 1, 2020 3019
You can learn to read Scripture devotionally. Many of us want to read the Bible and have it speak into our lives with power, but many people don’t know how. Here are my tips for how to read the Bible in a powerful devotional way. If you learn to read the Scripture devotionally, I promise you, you will never be the same again.
These same tips are relevant if you are writing a devotion or preparing to give a devotional talk.
Tip # 1: See God in the Everyday
Jesus is the greatest teacher who ever lived, and he taught us that we must learn to see God in the everyday happenings of life. He was surrounded by farming and fishing, and so many of his teachings are anchored in stories of farmers and fishermen. Think about the simple, everyday things that you experience and ask God to help you see the powerful spiritual lessons you can find there. This can go in two ways: the experiences of the everyday can point us to the Word of God, or the Word of God can point us to its applications in the everyday experiences of our lives.
Tip # 2: Get Personal
Spiritual teaching often has no power because we live in a culture in which people are afraid to get personal. The Bible is full of examples of how God connects with people through other people and their experiences. If you want the see the power of God at work, then you need to be prepared to get personal, both in being honest about your own sorrows and joys of life, and also in similarly reaching into the lives of others with love.
Tip # 3: Be Encouraging
God didn’t write the Bible to make anyone depressed, but instead to bring encouragement. It’s like positive and negative reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is always much more powerful than the negative. So, go easy on the apparently negative parts if you are seeking a devotional focus. But even the parts of the Bible that seem to be about doom and destruction are there to encourage. They are meant to encourage people to turn their lives around, but also to encourage God’s children with the fact that he will win in the end. But basically, people are basically discouraged enough. So, when you read the Bible, ask yourself, “How is God trying to encourage me here?”
Tip # 3: Put Yourself in the Story
When you read a passage of the Bible, ask yourself questions like: “Which character am I most like in this story?”, “In what ways am I like this character?”, “How would I have responded in this situation?” This is a powerful way to help us understand the spiritual teachings of the Bible.
Tip # 4: How Does This Help Us Shed Light on Scripture?
This is a powerful way to help people understand the Bible. For example, how does the story of https://biblia.com/bible/niv2011/Ru2Boaz and Ruth in the Old Testament help us to understand what happened at Calvary? This is all about comparing Scripture with Scripture. One part of the Bible illuminates another.
Tip # 5: What Does This Show Us About the Character of God?
At a general level, the whole point of the Bible is to show us what God is like. So, if you’re focusing on other lessons, you could be missing the main point. Every part of the Bible exists to show us something about the character of God. Seek spiritual eyesight from God so that you’ll be able to see it.
Tip # 6: How Does This Point us to Christ and to the Cross?
The ultimate purpose of every part of Scripture, as well as the spiritual lessons we can draw from life, is to point us to Christ and the Cross. This is the heart and goal of all Scripture. If you want to read or teach Scripture with power, then this is a vital question you must be able to answer. Remember, there is only power in the Gospel; everything else is just consequences. This is one of the principal keys in how to read Scripture devotionally.
Tip # 7: Call to Action
Jesus in the Bible is never afraid to call people to action, and neither should we. Our society is very hesitant to call people to action. It’s seen as intrusive. That’s why too many spiritual talks are just a bunch of intellectual or theological points that have no personal application. These are wasted opportunities. God is in the business of transforming hearts. If you are reading Scripture for yourself, you need to have the courage to always ask yourself at the end, “How does God want me to respond?” And then you actually need to respond. If you are preparing a devotional talk for others, then you need to have the courage to present the call to action with clarity and boldness at the end.
I challenge you to learn to read Scripturally devotionally. It will transform your understanding of your life, your relationships, and your God.
If the Spirit of God has awoken a desire in you to read Scripture devotionally, I invite you to subscribe to our daily email devotions here, which follow the principles outlined above. You can subscribe here: