Just as our bodies need nourishment that comes from food and water, our souls need nourishment from the word of God.  

According to pastor Charles Swindoll, reading the Bible is similar to enjoying a great meal for our souls, but it takes time to digest.

“Forget all about speed reading when you’re reading your Bible. You gain nothing at the end of a day by saying, I read 38 chapters today. How much better to say I spent 38 minutes on 3 verses of scripture today. Do you know why that’s better? Because you began to digest what you were chewing on for those 38 minutes.”

Pastor Swindoll explains why speed reading is not an effective approach to connecting with the word of God.

“You don’t digest anything when you force-feed 38 chapters. All you are really focusing on is the clock. That’s all you’re thinking about, getting it all read and this brief period of time. I don’t know where we got the idea that that will make you spiritually self-sustaining. That’ll really confuse you and furthermore wastes your time.”

By speeding through the chapters, we aren’t retaining as much information and we are missing out on important details that the author is trying to convey.

“You don’t see the theme that the writer had in mind, you don’t know what burden he was dealing with, you don’t know what concern he had, or question he was answering, etc., because you raced through it.”

We miss key transition words when reading through scripture too fast. Those transition words are not there to take up space, they actually have significant meaning and purpose. Pastor Swindoll points to the word therefore as an example.

Therefore is our way of saying, ‘now let me summarize’ or, ‘in light of all that we have just heard.’”

In addition to slowing down, reading out loud is another great way to digest God’s word into our souls. Pastor Swindoll shares a personal example,

“I’m up in my study and Cynthia will hear me reading out loud often because my ears need to hear what my eyes are seeing, and my mouth is saying. I’m engaging 3 senses, not just my eyes, but I’m forming the words with my mouth and I’m hearing there with my ears, having seen them with my eyes.”

Taking our time with each verse in the Bible will not only provide us with great insight into God’s word, but provide us with the spiritual nourishment that our souls need.


Charles Swindoll is the senior pastor of Stonebriar Community Church, chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary, and the Bible teacher on the internationally syndicated radio program Insight for Living, heard each morning on Faith Radio.

Searching the Scriptures

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