Will You Have Steak or Baby Food for Devotions?

“If you desire to pull out of God’s Word the serious ‘meat’ that he has placed there for us to sink our teeth into-you will have to exert considerable effort.  It takes work-hard work!  And you, the reader, have to decide whether you are content to swallow ‘baby food’ that comes from casual reading or whether you want to work for the ‘mature food’ that comes from serious reading.” Scott Duvall, Daniel hays 

Every morning after a few cups of coffee I get out my Bible for devotions fully expecting to feast on the “steak” of God’s word…so why do I get “baby food” instead?

 Scott Duvall and Daniel Hays in their excellent book on Biblical interpretation “Grasping God’s Word” say the reason we find strained-peas instead of steak is we don’t “observe the text”

One of the most critical skills needed in reading the Bible is the ability to see the details.  Most of us read the Bible too quickly, and we skip over the details of the text.  However, the meaning of the Bible is intertwined in the details of every sentence.

Duvall and Hays point out most of us in devotions move directly from initial reading to application which “ties us to our previous understanding of the text” (the baby food) and ignores the steak of God’s Word.

The kind of reading that digs into the t-bone steak of Scripture is one that doesn’t ask “what does the text mean?”  but “what does the text say?”

And the kind of reading that pays attention to details:

  1. Like repetition of words
  2. Contrasts
  3. Comparisons
  4. Lists
  5. Cause and Effect
  6. Figures of speech
  7. Conjunctions
  8. Verbs
  9. and Pronouns

For most of us this serious reading means going through less than one chapter for devotions instead of reading three of them.  But that’s okay because ten-verses of a spiritual t-bone steak beats three-chapters of gerbers any day.

What tools have you found that helps reveal the “steak” of God’s Word during devotions?

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