103 Your word is so pleasing to my taste buds—
it’s sweeter than honey in my mouth!
104 I’m studying your precepts—
that’s why I hate every false path.
105 Your word is a lamp before my feet
and a light for my journey.
2:14 Remind them of these things and warn them in the sight of God not to engage in battles over words that aren’t helpful and only destroy those who hear them. 15 Make an effort to present yourself to God as a tried-and-true worker, who doesn’t need to be ashamed but is one who interprets the message of truth correctly.
3:14 But you must continue with the things you have learned and found convincing. You know who taught you. 15 Since childhood you have known the holy scriptures that help you to be wise in a way that leads to salvation through faith that is in Christ Jesus. 16 Every scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for showing mistakes, for correcting, and for training character, 17 so that the person who belongs to God can be equipped to do everything that is good.
All that many of us know of Psalm 119 is that it is “the longest chapter in the Bible.” It was so much more than that! Today’s passage offered a poetic image of valuing the light we find in God’s word on the pages of Scripture. And as Timothy’s spiritual mentor, the apostle Paul urged him to “Present yourself to God as… a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” All of us, like the psalmist and Timothy, need to value reading and applying the Bible’s principles accurately.
Lord Jesus, I aim to worship and serve you. Thank you for the long procession of dedicated followers of yours who wrote and transmitted the Bible as the primary source for me to study to learn the way of salvation. Amen.
Reading the Bible is a practice much like eating food. At first, like a child, I would rely on others to spoon-feed me their interpretations of the writings. Sometimes these interpretations settled well, but here and there, my gut told me my spoon-feeder's interpretation was a bit off or altogether toxic. Even as a child, much of what I was taught about the Bible didn't pass the smell test.
As I grew deeper into religion, I engorged myself on whole books and chapters, committing some to memory, which proved useful for study but not always nourishing. This rigorous study and copious intake had its applications, to be sure. But gluttony, it turns out, is not a spiritual practice.
Later on, I would feast on the word with a community engaged in hearty conversation, much as one delights in a diverse pot-luck of foods among friends. Even the less attractive morsels of scripture proved surprisingly nourishing amidst convivial—and sometimes wonderfully disagreeable—company. But as much as I love a good spiritual feast with friends, company is not always available.
Today, I can hardly stomach spoon-feedings and tend to avoid gluttonous binges on large helpings of scripture. Instead, when no company is available to feast, I prefer to nibble on small portions of the writings with mindful attention—a spiritual practice called lectio divina. My own lectio practice looks like this:
And in the God-breathed silence, the still, small voice of this single word or subtle phrase becomes the daily bread that ensnares my spiritual senses and truly nourishes my soul.
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