In-Sight: Lectio Divina (1)

One week from today, we will begin a group reading through the Bible, using John Stott’s Through the Bible–Through the Year as our common text.  We will use a modified version of group lectio divina.  So, I thought it might be good to review some of the features of lectio divina before we begin this new venture in scripture.

You do not have to be planning on being part of the group-reading process to benefit from the “In-Sight” posts in the coming week.  So, I hope that the upcoming comments about lectio divina will be helpful to all of you who are part of the Oboedire family.

When we enter the world of lectio divina, we are using a process which we can trace back into the Christian community to at least the fourth-century a.d.  We are setting out to practice a method of reading, which is more formational than informational.

Right here, we come to a challenge.  We have been trained to read informationally—to read in ways that help us capture information, write papers, take tests, etc.  Informational reading is necessary and valid, but it is not the only way to read a text.

Lectio divina is a way of “praying the text” (yes, our predecessors actually saw lectio as a form of prayer more than a form of reading)—that is, allowing the text to reveal the written Word in a way that causes it to become a living word in us.

The moment we open the Bible, we are opening ourselves to God’s revelation.  We are preparing ourselves to respond to that revelation.  It is the recurring rhythm of revelation/response which establishes the basic pattern for spiritual formation.

One way to think of lectio is this:  we do not study the text so much as it “studies” us.  We do not seek to master the text, but rather pray to be mastered by it.

As we will see, lectio divina does not discount any other type of reading or study, but it puts them into the larger context of life influence and application.  As we approach our time to read the Bible together via Stott, I’ll continue posts to help us remember the process and potential which lectio divina holds.

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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2 Responses to In-Sight: Lectio Divina (1)

  1. Michele Morley says:

    Dr. Harper,
    I was introduced to your blog by my pastor and have truly been enjoying them. Your proposal of the group reading of John Stott’s book intrigued me so that I have purchased it and plan to read along. However, I am still unsure of the group lectio divina process and how this will work in an online type setting. Would you give me some guidance on what we will be doing?

  2. jolhowell says:

    Will be arriving home from August-in-Canada grandchildren love just in time to begin the community reading . . . hope there’s an Amazon package with the book waiting for me on my doorstep!

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