Not Reading, ‘Ritin’ and ‘Rithmetic. This post is about the 3 Rs for understanding and living Scripture.
You have to read Scripture. The more you read, the more you’ll know and remember. This is the starting point. “You must know what the Bible says before you can know what it means.” Allen B. Wolfe (founder of Balancing the Sword)
Ask yourself how Scripture applies to your life. What are the implications of the verse/passage for you? Your family? Work? Ministry? What you would do/say to be biblical in your approach and response?
A vital part of living biblically is, well, living it out. One can read and reflect, but the moment you come in contact with a grumpy waiter, a manager with a sour attitude, a spouse who’s had a bad day, a crying child, or with your own bleak outlook on life – how does your theology hold up? How do your Reading and Reflection impact real life? Can you go beyond the mental and intellectual aspects or study, memorization and theology (Orthodoxy), and move into practicing it (Orthopraxy)?
The Christian life is more than mental; the goal is to be like Jesus. Jesus did not simply read, study and memorize (though He was obviously well-studied); He lived it out. You need to know what Scripture says, then work toward living it out. And living it out doesn’t take place in the mind; it takes place in relationships of any and every kind.
You may find it helpful to think through situations first: what would I say or do in such-and-such situation? It’s not hard to think up situations: I stub my toe – what should I say? Someone complains over the phone: how do I respond? There’s a wrong/extra payment onmy credit card: how should I approach the CS rep when I call to report it? This thinking provides a blueprint and a script. But then comes the point of testing: what do you actually think and say and do when it happens?
If you find that you’ve failed in the true test, you’ll realize that your heart is not truly changed in that area. What do you do? Keep on going – don’t give up.