Engaging with Scripture: A Relational Process

Knowing God (John 17:3) and being conformed to the image of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18); this is our primary purpose. And Scripture is the channel through which it all happens.

Specifically, the Spiritual Discipline of Engaging with Scripture is the relational process through which we come to know God and be transformed by Him. When we open the Bible, it is crucial that we do so thoughtfully, aware that when we sit with God’s Word, we sit with Him.

I’ve heard it said that the Bible is the only book whose author is always present when one reads it. As we read, we must listen intently, for God is there whispering, “Pay attention. I am here!” 

Involving Our Heart and Our Mind 

Engaging purposefully and intently with Scripture requires the use of our hearts and minds. The Bible, of course, has much to say on this subject:

  • Now set your mind and heart to seek the Lord your God.” 1 Chronicles 22:19a
  • You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3
  • And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30
  • What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also.” 1 Corinthians 14:15
  • Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2-3

The Gateway to the Heart

The mind is the gateway to the heart. This is the message of Romans 12:2-3. Transformation is not affected by the mind alone, but by a pathway running from the mind to the heart. Far too often we try to love God with our heart while neglecting the role our mind plays in the process. Understanding and transformation (heart work) come through the mind.   

In her book, Women of the Word, Jen Wilkin writes, “…finding greater pleasure in God will not result from pursuing more experiences of him, but from knowing him better.”

Essentially, a deeper, more intimate relationship with God comes from knowing Him better. And knowing Him is the work of the mind. 

Knowledge of the mind-to-heart pathway certainly gives new meaning to the old phrase, “to know Him is to love Him.” 

Certainly, Engaging with Scripture involves the mind. And this, in turn, leads to heart transformation. Essentially, this Discipline is a way of coming to God’s Word with an awareness that the Bible is a place for encountering God.

Engaging with Scripture is also an active process, one that invites us to come directly to the “source,” in acts of meditation, consideration, and deep thought. All of which result in a deepening relationship with God and transformation of the heart. 

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