Scripture Engagement/ Scripture Engagement Practices Overview

Scripture Engagement Practices Overview

Having described the foundations of Scripture engagement, it is now time to plunge into some actual Scripture engagement practices. The goal with Scripture engagement, and all spiritual discipline practices, is never to try to do them all; that just isn’t possible and wouldn’t be helpful anyway. The practices aren’t the goal. Knowing God and being changed by him is the goal, these practices are tools God uses to meet us and change us through the Scriptures. Don’t make these practices into a law, enjoy them as a means to meet your Creator and Savior.

What is below is a brief overview of a variety of ways to engage the Bible. Use these descriptions to help you know which practices you would like to explore in more depth on this website. Some of these practices are likely to appeal to you more than others, that is just fine. Each of the practices includes:

  • A detailed description of the practice
  • Practical tips for starting the practice
  • A list of resources if you want to learn more about the practice

The resources that you find below are developed as a sort of “clearinghouse” of Scripture engagement resources. The content doesn’t include every resource available on each of the Scripture engagement practices. Instead, a team of people have explored each of the topics below, given them the once over, and have tried to bring you what they have found to be most helpful. Our hope is to inspire you, expose you to a variety of practices, and to provide a convenient place for you to find what you need.

Getting Started
Please read this section before you start any of the practices. This section is about preparing yourself before you engage with the Scriptures, probably the single most important aspect to making your time with God’s Word meaningful. Read more➤

Lectio Divina
Lectio Divina, Latin for “sacred reading,” is an ancient way of engaging scripture. This practice has four stages: lectio (reading), meditatio (meditation), oratio (prayer), and contemplatio (contemplation). Read more➤

The Ignatian Method
The Ignatian method of Scripture engagement allows us to connect with Scripture personally. The idea is to place yourself in the biblical story, becoming a person in the crowd, a disciple or the boy with the loaves and fish. Imagine the sights, sounds, smells, feels, and tastes of this ancient world. You step into the story and let it enter your mind, not just a series of facts, but as a story with actual characters who felt and experienced life. Read more➤

Praying Scripture
Engaging the Bible and praying are the primary methods for developing a deepening relationship with God. While many tend to think of prayer and Bible reading as separate spiritual practices (e.g., first I pray, then I read the Bible), the two can be even more powerful when combined into the one practice of “praying scripture.” Numerous ways to pray Scripture are explored. Read more➤

Memorizing Scripture
Memorizing Scripture is one of the most effective means of Scripture engagement. Because Scripture engagement is about reflecting on the Bible and mulling a passage over in our minds, having a passage memorized makes the process of reflection available to us at all times. Read more➤

Singing Scripture
Singing Scripture is helpful to connect both our thoughts and emotions with a passage. It is also a powerful means to memorize Scripture and to keep God’s Word present in our minds and hearts throughout the day. Read more➤

Journaling Scripture
Journaling Scripture can be a helpful tool to help us to engage with Scripture. Journaling can focus our minds and help us concentrate. Writing often helps us clarify our thinking. Read more➤

Hand Copying Scripture
Writing Scripture out by hand is the discipline of copying down the Bible word-for-word with your own hand. Hand copying Scripture slows us down, helps us discover details in a passage, and is an aid in concentration. Read more➤

Scripture Engagement through Visual Art
Visual art (e.g., stained glass, sculptures, and paintings) can be a very helpful tool to help us see, feel, and understand Scripture in a new and stretching way. Biblical artists can “come alongside of us” to be our guide to ponder a Scripture passage. Read more➤

Storying Scripture
Understanding the story of the Bible and reading it as a story is a powerful way to engage with the Bible. Hearing the Bible as God’s Grand Story of redemption can pull us into participation with that Story, helping us to change and become the people of God we were designed to become. Read more➤

Speaking Scripture
Many times in the Bible we are told to have God’s Word on our “lips.” Developing a daily habit of talking with others about Scripture helps both ourselves to dwell on a passage and is also a great tool for helping others grow closer to God. Read more➤

Manuscript Bible Study
The Manuscript Bible Study method is a small group Scripture engagement practice that has been around for about 60 years. People gather together to observe a passage where they see more details as a community than they would as individuals. Individuals first mark their manuscript, looking for key words, promises, contrasts/comparisons, illustrations, repetition of ideas, structure of the passage, connections, etc. They also develop questions they have about the passage. The group then shares their observations and questions and works together to answer those questions from the Bible. The group then processes and applies the passage together. Read more➤

Dramatizing Scripture
The church has a long history of dramatizing Scripture, probably because drama can help us to engage both our minds and emotions. Sometimes truth becomes clearer and takes on more meaning when it is fleshed out through a dramatic presentation. What if in a church or small group setting we could harness those powers that connect us so intimately with drama and use them to draw both believers and nonbelievers deeper into Scripture? With a bit of creativity, Scripture stories can come alive before people’s eyes. Read more➤

Public Reading of Scripture
The Bible was meant to be read, but it was also meant to be heard. To hear someone read the Word is a different experience than to simply read silently to oneself. A well-prepared and gifted reader can bring out meaning in a text through voice inflection, rhythm, and intonation. A talented reader can present the Word of God to a group or congregation so that the listeners may experience the Bible in a rich and powerful manner. Read more➤

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© Phil Collins, Ph.D., 2014. This material was created in partnership with the Taylor University Center for Scripture Engagement.