Writing to his close friend Timothy, St. Paul once said that Scripture is “useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). That’s a lot of uses for a two thousand-year-old book! I myself have found many of the same uses for the Bible. I enjoy reading Jesus’ parables and learning from them how God wants us to live. I also appreciate all that I can learn about the Bible by reading commentaries on some of my favorite passages. And I enjoy comparing the different ways that the four Gospel writers tell the same story. There’s so much to learn in the Bible—so much help I can get from it!
But Paul also told Timothy that all Scripture is “inspired by God” (2 Timothy 3:16). Another way to translate the Greek word here is “God-breathed.” The Bible is not just a useful instruction manual. It’s a living word, capable of speaking to each of us personally. So as much as I enjoy all the information Scripture gives me, my first preference is to meditate on it so that I can “hear” what Jesus has to say to me every day. That’s why I like to read Scripture using the ancient practice called lectio divina.
An Ancient Art. Lectio divina is a way of reading Scripture that asks, “What does God want to say to me?” It’s not just an intellectual exercise. It’s a way that my human spirit can interact with the Holy Spirit so that my heart can be changed, and I can be filled with grace.
I am glad to say that we have a special guest writer for this issue: Steve Binz, who will teach us how to practice the art of lectio divina. Steve’s insights will help us learn how to read, contemplate, and even hear God speak through the words we read. He will show us how to use the Scriptures as a “bridge to God.”
Forty-three years ago, I attended a prayer meeting in my parish for the first time. That night a priest gave me a pocket New Testament, and for some reason, I couldn’t put it down. Reading about Jesus made me happy. It opened my eyes to God’s love. It filled me with excitement and peace at the same time. Without knowing it, I was using a modified version of lectio divina—and it changed my life!
I hope you enjoy reading Steve’s articles. And I hope you take some time to experiment with lectio divina. It will help you see God’s love for you, and it will inspire you to deepen your own love for God. May the Lord bless us all as we immerse ourselves in his word!
Joe Difato, Publisher | Email the Publisher at [email protected]