“Search the Scriptures.” (John 5:39)

Have you ever picked up your Bible, read a passage from it, and then sat back and wondered what in the world God was trying to say to you? It’s possible that you may have walked away and decided that the passage didn’t have any consequence for your life. But somewhere inside your heart, you probably also sensed that there was something in that pas­sage for you, but you just couldn’t place your finger on it.

God wants to reveal himself to us through Scripture. But just like everything else in the Christian life, Scripture won’t just magically make sense to us. It’s up to us to cooperate with the Spirit as we read the Bible. And that takes some time, some attention, and some perseverance.

The following guidelines may help you cooperate with the Spirit. Try implementing them over the next few days, and see if they make a difference.

  • Select a passage from the Bible you want to read. Maybe you will choose to follow the daily Mass readings, along with the medita­tions in this magazine.

  • Don’t read right away, but begin with prayer. If you feel like singing or even humming a hymn you heard at Mass, do it.

  • When you feel ready, read the Scripture passage you have chosen.

  • Read it again slowly, dwelling on the words or phrases that struck you.

  • Use your imagination to place yourself in the scene described in the passage.

  • Imagine that Jesus is sitting across from you and speaking these words directly to you.

  • Be still. During this quiet period, some words or pictures may bub­ble up in your thoughts. This may be God speaking to you—espe­cially if the images and thoughts lead you closer to Christ, fill you with hope, or stir your heart to love and forgive.

  • Try to write out what you think God is saying to you, and close with a prayer of praise and thanksgiving. God wants to reveal himself to us in Scripture. Only by quiet reflection will we learn to hear his voice.

“Holy Spirit, quiet my heart and help me to read Scripture with new ears. Let your revelation penetrate my life and guide me toward Christian action.”

Exodus 32:7-14; Psalm 106:19-23