Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Say the Words Part I

10:33 p.m. Today's project was to embark on a third day of reading my daily chapter of the Bible out loud to myself and the Lord.

Last Sunday, at our last Home Fellowship meeting of the 2012-2013 season, with able leader Mark Murdaugh, studied Acts Chapter 8. In this chapter, evangelist Philip catches up with the chariot of a high official of the Ethiopian government who was leaving Jerusalem after worshiping. The reason Philip met this man was that the Holy Spirit told him to leave Jerusalem, where the Lord had been using him to work miracles and convert many to a saving knowledge of Christ, and go to Gaza, verse 26, "which is a desert."

When Philip caught up with the Ethiopian eunuch's chariot, verse 30,

...and heard him read the prophet Isaiah, and he asked him, "Do you understand what you are reading?"

 During our freewheeling, intensely wonderful group discussion of the verses, it occurred to me to say, "Did you notice that the official was reading his scriptures out loud there in his chariot? I have to admit that in my devotional times, I just read the Bible silently, not aloud, even though I wouldn't be disturbing anyone there in my room. Should we be reading our scriptures aloud back to the Lord?"

The group assented, that they didn't read the Bible out loud in their private devotion time either. Pete Levitsky described how in Nehemiah 8, Ezra the scribe read the Book of the Law aloud "from daybreak til noon" to the returned exiles in Jerusalem. Our leader mentioned that scripture was read aloud out of respect. So we all discussed this, and it was like a light went on for many of us, that we could be bringing more of our senses to the reading of scripture in our private devotions by vocalizing the Word.

Starting Monday, I began reading my daily chapters out loud. It's been challenging, especially with less sleep than I should be getting the night before, to get that energy up for reading the Gospel of Luke, whose chapters may have 40-50 verses! But it's been enjoyable, too, reading with realistic expression as I imagine Jesus would have spoken, or the murmuring Pharisees, or repentant and suddenly generous Zacchaeus. It's made the verses come even more alive to hear them spoken by this somewhat sleepy but devoted reader.

One thing I just thought of: when I'm reading aloud, I'm not almost dozing off, or preoccupied with my day--I so want to get the right tone of voice for Jesus in every circumstance.And since I don't want to make a reading error, even just with the two of us present--the Lord and I , it really makes me focus on the words.  My imagination comes more and more alive as I "narrate" the chapter!

Thousands of years later, the Ethiopian eunuch inspires and challenges us all to have a more deeply personal time of Scripture reading each day!!!

1 comment:

  1. One year recently, I think 2011, I daily typed up my Scripture highlights and that really helped me as well.