This is a guest post by Rev. Johnny Brower as a follow up to last weekend’s message, How do I read the Bible?
This is my space! Impressive, right?
This is the third bedroom of our 3 bedroom house. It has this desk and a couple bookshelves that are full of books and paperwork, most of which pertains to my grad-school studies. The rest of the room is pretty bare — maybe one of these days, it will actually have some pictures and art and whatnot. I generally like things to be pretty clean and organized, but my desk at home pretty much stays like this. It must function for family stuff, seminary studies, and for time with God.
My day begins at 5am everyday.
Some days are easier than others, but it is the time of day where my mind has not yet been filled with the worries of the day. Also, the rest of my family is asleep, and so the house is rather dark and quiet.
I am quite a nerd, and I love to peel back the layers of scripture. My main method for reading scripture is the S.O.N. method that Pastor David detailed in his sermon. As I read, I try to immerse myself in the world of the narrative. Sometimes I will read a story several times and imagine myself as a different “character” or a bystander and observe the events from their vantage point. It helps me to step outside of my own perspective and hopefully discover something new in the text that I haven’t noticed before.
Some notes about what you see in the picture:
- (on the left) You can see an orange file folder filled with whatever seminary homework I had most recently been working on. That there is from my Preaching class. You can also see a stack of books. Most notable there is the HarperCollins Bible Dictionary. It was <$40 brand new, and I use it to look up things that I have questions about as I read. For example, passage I spent significant time with was John 9:1-41, and I looked up the “Pool of Siloam.” It is super helpful!
- (in the middle) That’s my study Bible that use for my time with God in scripture. I also use it for my biblical studies classes at school, so I have LOTS of notes in the margin. It is an New Interpreter’s Study Bible NRSV translation. Also, my computer is charging, but I don’t use that.
- (on the right) The coaster is for my coffee that is an integral part of a 5am scripture time. The yellow pad of paper is the most important part of that quiet time because it helps me record any distracting thought that pops up in my mind so I don’t dwell on it. I also have a candle — usually something with a manly scent (that one is “blue cedar fig”).