There is only one way of reading that is congruent with our Holy Scriptures…This is the kind of reading named by our ancestors as Lectio Divina, often translated as “spiritual reading,” reading that enters our souls as food, enters our stomachs, spreads through our blood, and becomes holiness and love and wisdom. Eugene Peterson, Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading
Lectio Divina is an ancient spiritual discipline, long used by Christ-followers as a means of listening deeply to the voice of God speaking through our sacred texts. A Latin phrase, Lectio Divina simply means ‘divine reading’ and is a powerful tool for the practice of listening, pondering, and enjoying the Presence of the Divine in the midst of reading God’s Word. Think of it as an intentional, slow meditative approach to the Bible, where you take extra moments to “listen between the lines,” allowing both time and space for what can, many times, be a powerful encounter with the heart of God.
In its truest traditions, Lectio Divina includes four readings* (moves) of a text, with a fifth move added as the afterglow of resolve, where you take what you have received and ask God to show you what it means to have this word “live” in you.
Read (Move #1): As you begin to read your text, invite the Holy Spirit to “read” along with you. Take your time, reading slowly as you go. Pay attention for a word or phrase that seems to beckon you, that addresses you, that unnerves you, that disturbs you, stirs you, or seems especially ripe with meaning. More than likely, this is God’s Spirit highlighting something here you will want to pay more attention to.
Reflect (Move #2): As you read the text a second time, be aware if there is an image or feeling that stays with you as you read. What word or phrase is sparkling or shimmering for you right now? Ask yourself, “What is it in my life right now that needs to hear this specific word or phrase?” Then, as you hold onto that word or phrase, welcome into your heart whatever comes.
Respond (Move #3): As you read for a third time, ask yourself if there is an invitation waiting for you here? How is this specific word or phrase a special gift for you today? Give time here for the Holy Spirit to prompt a response to your questions.
Rest (Move #4): With a final reading, simply sit comfortably with the stirrings you’ve received. Be at peace as you reach this final step.
Resolve (Move #5): An action step now is to simply resolve to live out the word that you have received from God today. It is a gift so you might ask yourself: “What is it about this gift that needed to be given to today? In this moment?” Finally, if time allows, take some time to ponder, pray and journal what you have just experienced. Or perhaps you might consider taking a “pondering walk” as an action to your response to God’s Word?
*If time does not allow for four readings of your text, read it slowly at least two times, asking yourself the basic questions mentioned above in the four “moves.”
Take this ancient tool of Lectio Divina with you as you meditate on the scriptures found in our many blog studies from our As I See It webpage.