Lectio Divina is a method to reading Scripture that supports and assists the reader to listen for God to speak and guide in the current moment. It is much more than simply reading words off the page, but rather, Lectio Divina is “divine reading” or “sacred reading.” This process and method of reading and meditation produces deep and intimate times spent with God, listening, learning, and delighting in Him. The Psalmist said, “But their delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law they meditate day and night” (Psalm 1:2 NRSV).
Lectio Divina includes four phases within its practice, which include: lectio – read, mediatio – reflect, oratio – respond, and contemplatio – rest. These four stages take time and attention; something not to be rushed. This is quality time spent learning and gathering from God; deepening and strengthening one’s relationship with Him through communication. On this topic, Jan Johnson stated: “a relational view of God views Scripture reading as a place of meeting God for real interactive conversation. Therefore, we read Scripture unhurriedly and attentively. We are attentive to what God is saying to us in the passage” (Johnson 2017, 47).
For many Christians, reading the Bible is something common and understood. Yet, Lectio Divina is different and unique. Rather than gobbling down large sections of the Bible at a time, the reader spends time with less than ten verses, spending quality time with them and following the reading with heart-felt meditation and even imaginative contemplation. Richard Foster says that “…reflection defines the significance of what we are studying. To reflect, to ruminate, on the events of our time leads us to the inner reality of those events. Reflection brings us to see things from God’s perspective” (Foster 1998, 66).
The newly released CEB Lectio Divina Prayer Bible is a wonderful supplement and means to practicing Lectio Divina (sacred reading, devotional reading) in one’s life. The Bible includes areas of reading, praying, and acting upon small sections, usually chapter by chapter, of Scripture. This allows the reader to avoid speed-reading, or attempting to read large sections at a time, but instead taking their time and using Scripture to savor one’s time with God.
After this time of reading and reflecting on how God is connecting with the reader through this particular Scripture, there is a time to pause, and respond if necessary. During this process, God is active, God is offering an invitation to allow emotion and pray to flow from one’s heart.
The author of Hebrews said: “Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb 4:12 NRSV). Engaging God through Scripture allows for an intimate, heartfelt, transformative, relational experience with Him, followed by devoted rest. Jan Johnson stated: “God speaks to people, speaks to them well, and speaks to them exactly what they need to hear today. We can rejoice that we exist; we can rest in the assurance that we are loved and known by the God of the universe” (Johnson 2017, 53).
The current speed and quantity of reading by many people is far too fast and large to truly hear with the ear of the heart. The CEB Lectio Divina Prayer Bible reminds us and guides us into a slower, more intimate approach to spending time with God in Scripture. The benefits of laying down one’s agenda, submitting one’s time and energy to Scripture, and listening to the voice of God, are abundant through Lectio Divina.
I highly recommend this Bible.
*Foster, Richard. 1998. Celebration of Discipline. San Francisco, CA: HarperCollins Publishers.
*Johnson, Jan. 2017. When the Soul Listens. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress.