“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:11 NIV)
Ever have a conversation with a friend that was so deep you needed to repeat back to them what they said just so they knew you were listening? That’s not just a great method for a deep conversation with a human friend; it’s also a great way to talk with God.
I call it the paraphrase-it method of Bible meditation. It’s pretty simple, really. You take a verse out of the Bible that you’re reading or studying, think about it for a bit, and then rephrase it and say it in your own words.
Ultimately, you want to be able to explain a verse or paragraph in the Bible in your own words. It’s not enough to know the Bible. We need to understand the Bible. (And then we must do what the Bible says!)
Once you’ve read the verse and explained it in your own words, write your paraphrase down. Then, search your heart and see how that verse applies to you. Remember, you haven’t studied God’s Word until you’ve written it down and applied it to your life.
Then pray God’s Word back to him. Commit to applying what he has taught you through the Bible.
The Bible says in Psalm 119:11: “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (NIV). When you learn God’s Word — or even take it a step further and memorize his Word — you protect yourself from temptation.
Jesus did this in Matthew 4 when the devil was tempting him. Jesus confronted every temptation with Old Testament Scripture from the book of Deuteronomy. It provided an ideal defense against Satan’s temptations.
God’s Word will protect us, too. That’s a great incentive to learn his Word.
Talk About It
- Does the Bible ever seem hard for you to understand? How might paraphrasing what you’re reading change your attitude toward learning God’s Word?
- Why do you think it’s important to write down what you’ve learned and paraphrased?
- What verses are you “hiding” in your heart today?
Learn how to be a DOER of God’s Word.
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
This devotional © 2012 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.