There’s a difference between reading Bible passages and studying the word of God. Scripture is so transformative it is no wonder the enemy puts distractions and excuses in our path to keep us from living in the Word. Dr. Greg Bourgond explains why it is so important and what it means to study and meditate God’s Word.

“The easiest book to put down, and the hardest book to pick up is this one: the Bible.”

“It is the inspired word of God; it will shape you into the very image of God’s Son, and that’s the last thing the enemy wants. He doesn’t want you to be his formidable foe, so he wants to keep our only offensive weapon out of our sight. He doesn’t want this great power in our hands.”

Studies show, if we’re easily distracted, too busy, or we’re overconfident in how much scripture we have read – we are less likely to study for ourselves. Too often we substitute studying scripture with a quick web-search to find answer to our deepest spiritual questions.

Dr. Bourgond encourages us to study God’s word personally, instead of relying on someone else’s opinion about scripture. The deeper process of memorizing and meditating on Scripture can improve our retention of what God says. These disciplines also heightens the impact of the Bible on our daily lives.

“We need to hide the word deep in our hearts. God can’t draw out of you what you don’t put in. The Holy Spirit won’t leverage what you haven’t invested in your own mind and heart. When we memorize God’s word, our retention goes from about 5%-10% to about 75%.

What does it mean to meditate on the Word of God?

“The world teaches meditation as an emptying of the mind. But for the Christian, meditation is filling your mind with God’s word. You fill up your very soul with His powerful words, so God can draw it out of you when you need to comfort a friend, or share the Gospel with a neighbor at a cafe. It comes out of you with passion and clarity, because it’s been built into you. And when the Bible is coming from deep in your heart, people will listen.”

“This transformation comes incrementally. It takes time and there are no shortcuts. The spirit of God brings that about in your life, in His time. But we can actively take part in this transformation by focusing our minds, our time, and our hearts to the instrument that can remove the disease of sin, give us clarity on God’s view of the world, and teach us how to reach out as God reaches out in love.”

Reading God’s Word isn’t just about reading to complete an arduous task or absorb the words on a page. We go to scripture to commune with God.  Reading the Bible is not the objective, but a means to the objective: to know the heart of God.

Dr. Bourgond recommends beginning your time in the word with a prayer:

“Heavenly Father, tell me something about your character that I need to know. Show me the truth about myself, or where I can correct things. Help me with my worldview. Align my thoughts with your thoughts. Reveal your truth to me.”

He will reveal truth in fresh and new ways. The word will come alive!

Dr. Greg Bourgond is the President and Founder Heart of a Warrior Ministries. He is also the author of multiple award winning books including Setting Your Course:  How to Navigate Life’s Journey and Leadership Beef Jerky: Principles and Practices You Can Chew On.

How to get a grip on the Bible