A Unique and Fresh Approach to Bible Reading

A few years ago author and discipleship expert Bill Hull introduced me to a fresh approach to Bible reading through one of his books. He explained an ancient yet growing Christian devotional practice called lectio divina, which includes four phases: lectio, meditatio, oratio, and contemplatio. I took those four concepts and created my own acronym to make it more easily remembered: RIPE. RIPE stands for Read, Immerse, Pray, and Execute. Try reading your Bible in this way and see how it can freshen your experience. It’s also helpful to record insights you learn in a journal.

First, pick a section of Scripture of reasonable length, say 10-20 verses. Then read that section four times and apply each part of RIPE each time you read the passage. Here’s how to do it.

R: Read

Slowly read the passage, both silently and out loud. Make yourself aware of cultural, theological, or other biases you may be bringing to the passage. Read it without allowing those biases to cloud your reading. Read it first from the viewpoint of a child who knows nothing about the cultural and theological underpinnings of the passage. After you do this first, then bring into your thinking the background or theological insights you already know about the passage.

Take 2-3 minutes on this exercise.

I: Immerse

As you read it a second time, immerse yourself in the scripture and ponder it by imagining yourself as one of the original hearers of this passage, physically present in the time and place in which the scripture was spoken, written, or read. Use all five senses to re-create the context and setting in your mind. Enter into the hearer’s world. Center your thoughts on how the passage relates to Jesus.

Take 2-3 minutes on this exercise.

P: Pray

Pray over the scripture and actually ‘pray’ the scripture by personalizing it for yourself. Allow the Lord to search your heart as you ponder it. Let Him speak to your heart and reveal His will to you. Choose a learner’s posture as you ask the Lord about what He wants to stop, start, change, develop, or grow in you.

Take 2-3 minutes on this exercise.

E: Execute

Now, as you read it one last time ask yourself what you learned as you immersed yourself in the reading, and what you felt God impress upon you to do. Commit to the Lord that you will carry out today what He has impressed upon you to do, be, or change. Write down what you will do. Be specific in your commitment.

Take 2-3 minutes on this exercise.

What Bible reading methods have helped you keep Scripture reading fresh?

5 thoughts on “A Unique and Fresh Approach to Bible Reading”

  1. Pingback: Does God's Word Have Free Rein Over Your Heart? - OutreachMagazine.com

  2. Lectio divina has been so helpful for me both personally and in group situations! I’m all for acronyms and changing the words to ones easier to remember, but…
    I think your R-I-P work well, but while committing to a specific application is an excellent practice (Execute), it is very different from the final step of Lectio (contemplatio) … taking the key word or thought God has impressed on my heart into a quiet time of just being with God and sensing his heart towards me in relation to the word/passage that stood out to me. It seems to me this is a key difference in Lectio – moving from our evangelical left-brained inclination toward truth and willpower, to include quiet listening, worship and relational time with God. Also, it seems unrealistic and less-than-ideal to do these steps adequately in 2-3 minutes each, especially if using 10-20 verses.
    Just my thoughts, while I really appreciate your bringing Lectio to our attention!

    1. Thanks, Janice. Both the original post and your reply were so helpful for me. My Pentecostal/Charismatic background through most of my adult life has left little space for contemplation. So, with your response to the “execute” word, I will embrace contemplation. And doesn’t that better fit the Scriptural command to meditate? In your expression, I can allow that word or passage to ruminate in my thoughts throughout the day. Just thinking.

  3. Pingback: Try this fresh approach to Bible reading - Christian Messenger

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