This is a guest post by Rev. Tina Schramme as a follow up to last weekend’s message, How do I read the Bible?
My sacred space is more practical than sacred. It is our breakfast table. This is because I need the discipline and the focus I find at a table. I have tried a comfy chair, but I tend to get too comfortable. And when I have more time, I like to do my bible study on our back patio, as it is my happy place. But I save that sacred space for weekends and down time, so that it becomes more of an extended respite with God.
In the midst of my every day routine, I sit at the table with my tea, my bible, an iPad, and my journal. Since 2001, I have been using a daily Bible for my bible study. It is laid out with daily readings which include a passage from the Old Testament, New Testament, a Psalm and a Proverb. This variety of text is helpful for me because it provides a broad picture of God each day, and keeps my interest. Over the years, I have learned so much about God, God’s story, and my part in God’s story through this daily discipline of reading the Bible.
I underline texts that stick out in my reading, and reread the passage that most speaks to me that day. Sometimes I read it 3-4 times, focusing on the context, the character or the listeners’ perspective. I also research words or text that I don’t understand or want to know more about. I use online research tools like bible.org or biblegateway.com to gain a basic level of knowledge. If it requires more research, I make note of it and research it later with the tools I have in my office.
For me, an important part of this process is the prayer and journaling that follows Bible study. I often write out the scripture passage that really speak to me. Or I write it out as a prayer, inserting my name and personal touches. I write a few reflective notes about what I gained from my reading, then I write out my prayers for the day. For me, the writing helps clarify my thoughts and solidify any insight I gained. The writing of my prayers causes me to slow down and focus as I pray. I spend 30-60 minutes in this time with God each day. On my days off, it might go as long as 2 hours.
Some days there is great insight, joy and respite in this time. Other days, it is simply routine and discipline. But without a doubt, over time, I have come to know God and myself in ways not possible otherwise.