My friend and mentor, Stephen Manley, shares a few warning signs when you are involved in Bible study. Either extreme can become “dangerous,” but there is a solution: involvement with the Living Word. Find out more about Stephen on his website or follow him on Twitter.
“Saturation” is a fundamental, foundation, and vital part of my spiritual life. It has been from my formative teen years. The simplicity of the idea has often startled and sometimes embarrassed me. One would like to propose some deep, profound secret to spiritual victory. Saturation in the Written Word is the simple process of soaking, absorbing, and being permeated by a passage. There is no skillful technique, knowledge of Greek and Hebrew, or academic status. The Word, sharper than a two-edged sword, will do its work.
In contrast to this simplicity of “saturation” are the profound, deep, and unexplainable affects. It leaves one with his mouth open in astonishment; how do I know this truth? How did I discover this revelation? Every Christian wants this kind of involvement in the Word of God; but saturation seems too easy to be true.
If one does venture into “saturation,” there is immediate danger. It seems there is a pull to the extreme left or right. One extreme view sees “saturation” as reading the passage repeatedly. If one simply quotes the passage, memorizes its content, the deep revelation of its truth will become known. Thoughts come to mind and are quickly written down. Did God speak these thoughts? Did I simply conjure them from my own experience?
On the other side is the danger of limiting my understanding to academic studies. For some “saturation” may mean being a student. One may saturate in the passage by studying commentaries, the Greek words, and the context. There are massive amounts of material available for the serious Bible student. But again the same questions need to be answered. Did God speak these thoughts? Did I simply conjure them from my own experience?
“Saturation” is properly understood between these two extremes. Simply reading the passage again and again is not enough. There is great value in this process; but this does not contain the whole. Concentrated study must take place during the saturation process. The context of the passage must be understood. It is not wrong to apply all the academic skills available to the individual. But there is a plus factor, which must not be discounted: it is the Living Word! The Author must be at the heart of the saturation. He knows the intent of the passage; He understands the depth of the truth. When I read the passage are the lips of the Author parting to speak His truth directly to my life? Isn’t this the secret to saturation?
I am convinced the Author will not let me miss the truth of the passage. He is more desirous for me to know truth than I am to know it. If I give Him time by saturating in the passage, both by reading and by study, He will reveal Himself; He is the Truth!
Question: Have you encountered any other dangers in your own saturation? Leave a comment in the section below.