What do eating food and reading your Bible have in common? I’ll tell you. It’s all about digestion. One of the common pitfalls that we all make in both our Bible reading and eating, is lack of chewing. What? you say, chewing when I read my Bible? Well, here’s what I mean.
Something you may not realize, is that digestion starts in the mouth. When you eat carbohydrates, there is an enzyme in your mouth that starts the process of digestion by breaking down some of the chemical bonds in the food. The same is true with the fats we eat.1 It is so important that we chew our food slowly, avoiding huge gulping bites, so that our stomach will be able to properly digest and absorb as many of the vitamins from our food as it can.
So what does that have to do with reading the Bible? When we read our Bible it is vital that we do some chewing as well! “Scarfing” down our Bible reading, results in improper “digestion.” If you take a chapter of Scripture and read it really fast and then race off with your day, do you think you gained all that you could from that passage? Not at all. Just like food, it’s better to take a smaller portion, and take time to “chew” it thoroughly.
Something I’ve found helpful, is not reading the whole Scripture chapter during my devotions, but taking a smaller passage. That way I can have time to carefully ponder each verse, and grasp the whole meaning of it. This is especially helpful in reading the New Testament or the Proverbs. Other places in the Bible, like stories in the Old Testament, are better read as a whole in chapters. But overall, make sure you understand and thoughtfully pray through whatever you read.
It’s helpful to ask ourself questions as we read, like, “How does this apply to my current life experiences?” or, “What is God trying to tell me in this verse?” or maybe, “How can this help me grow in my walk with God?” Asking these questions can help us “be still and know that