intro and purpose

These are my devotions on the Psalms which explore some central mystical concepts through contemplation on God’s Word. Often I have struggled with reading the Bible for my own devotional life. It has felt as if I was studying any other text, and I only could get my time’s worth by gleaning some new insight. Because of that, my only mode for reading Scripture was analytical. This analytical reading is very important when we discuss theology and practice, as well as do formal Bible studies which seek to extract the authorial intent.

However, I believe that reading devotionally involves a different approach to the text. It is to realise that you are not learning about God, but God is teaching you His Word by His Spirit. It is a supernatural event, when the text of Scripture is read and ruminated on. When you recognise this, you are no longer doing analysis, but growing in experiential understanding by contact with God. It is difficult to move more than a couple of sentences before having to stop and retrace, considering that God is teaching you what He is like as your God, not as abstract deity.

This is very difficult to write about, which is down to either of two things. One, my capacity for language is not yet enough to do justice to the topic. Two, this is just an inherently difficult thing to describe. For this reason, I figure that just writing these devotionals on the Psalms will communicate this way of reading the Bible better than I could describe in an article. Similar to how both a fiction book and a non-fiction book can convey a concept, one through narrative and one through description.

Note 1: There’s no real point reading these without first reading the Psalm. The power of the Spirit is in God’s Word for you, not in anything I write.

Note 2: I will sometimes attach a ‘meditation’. These are simply (hopefully) helpful mental pictures or strategies that I have used to help draw out the personal application of the text. They should invariably end with prayer. If they don’t, then I didn’t do a very good job coming up with the meditation.