11 Suggestions on How to Chew on the Bible with Mindfulness

It’s not the volume of Bible reading that matters. It is the quality of the chewing. Reading and ruminating with mindfulness builds resilience and strength in the core of your being.

I know of an old aunt that used to advise chewing your food 32 times.

Not sure if this is the exact number but the idea of slowing down your eating is good for digestion, and you might learn to enjoy the tastes and textures of your food more.

As a young man, I was advised to read the Bible every day.  And extra points if you read the whole Bible in one year.

Big guilt trip if you didn’t or if you just missed a day or two.

Performance and guilt

You see if your performance doesn’t match expectations then it can easily lead to feelings of frustration. If we turn this frustration in on ourselves, it can lead to depression, anxiety, stress, guilt, and shame.

Read more about this in my FREE ebook Out of the Darkness.

Have you ever wondered about your performance of reading the Bible, prayer, giving, or any other spiritual activities that seem prescriptive for a Godly life?

There are many people who find reading difficult.

It might be due to some reasons.

  • Inability to read
  • Concentration issues due to a disability, illness, medication.
  • Comprehension difficulties
  • Eyesight problems

The problem I have encountered many times is that the task of Bible reading is loaded with expectations of performance that very very few can achieve.

Mindfulness eating

When I first began to explore mindfulness I came across this exercise of mindfully eating a raisin from Jon Kabat Zinn.

I suggest that you do the exercise and then we will discuss how we can do this with Gods word the Bible.

Biblically Mindful

When your words showed up, I ate them—
    swallowed them whole. What a feast!
What delight I took in being yours,
    God, God-of-the-Angel-Armies!
Jeremiah 15:16

In the Raisin exercise, you would have learned to bring your full awareness to the textures, tastes, and substance of a simple raisin.

What would it be like to bring your full awareness to a small verse of scripture?

Rolling the verse, or even just one word, around in your mind. Over and over, looking at it from this way and that. Letting it seep deep into your being.

11 Suggestion on how to mindfully eat the Bible

  1. Pray that the Logos will turn into Rhema.
    In the New Testament, we have two Greek words, Logos and Rhema, which are used to describe the word of God.
    Logos refers to the written text, the words that we read while Rhema refers to the personal speaking of God to us.A simple prayer might be‘God, as I read your words please bring them alive to me. May a word or a phrase become like a sparkling fresh river of life breaking open just for me’[spacer height=”20px”]
  2. Read a small verse of scripture slowly, meditatively.
    Read a passage and let it roll around in your mind.
    Here are some suggestions from some of our readers.And we know that all that happens to us is working for our good if we love God and are fitting into his plans.  For from the very beginning God decided that those who came to him—and all along he knew who would—should become like his Son, so that his Son would be the First, with many brothers. Romans 8:28-29.[spacer height=”20px”]
    If you want favor with both God and man, and a reputation for good judgment and common sense, then trust the Lord completely; don’t ever trust yourself.  In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success. Proverbs 3:5-6
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    See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; 
    your walls are ever before me. Isaiah 49:16
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    I look up to the mountains;

        does my strength come from mountains?
    No, my strength comes from God,
        who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.
    Psalm 121:1
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    With man, this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible Matthew 19:26
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    For I am the Lord your God who grasp your right hand; it is I will say do not fear. I will help you.- Isaiah 41:13
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    Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for you are with me – Psalm 23:4
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  3. Read the verse in different versions.
    Different translations may have slightly different ways of putting certain ideas together.
    Bible Gateway is a useful tool to help with this.
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  4. Ask yourself some reflective questions about the verse.
    What feelings, emotions, memories, and thoughts arise when you read this passage?
    What does this passage have for me today, right here, right now?
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  5. Journal about this verse
    Journal your thoughts and ideas about this passage.
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  6. Insert your name
    Personalise the passage by inserting your name into it.I Tony look up to the mountains;
        does my strength come from mountains?
    No, Tony’s strength comes from God,
        who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.
    Psalm 121:1
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  7. Write the verse out by hand
    Take out your journal or notepad and write the passage out. Maybe use different colored pens for different words.
    I learned about this one from Susette Magana
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  8. Find images on Unsplash that speak to emotions and thoughts that arise.
    Unsplash has thousands of free to use images.
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  9. Create memes and artwork on Canva.
    Let’s go creative!
    Head over to Canva and create a beautiful piece of art with your verse. Then share it with all of us.
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  10. Put the verse somewhere you can read it regularly.
    Place that verse somewhere you will always see it.
    On the fridge door, the dashboard of your car, the mirror in your bathroom.
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  11. Set a reminder on your phone. 
    Years ago it was the church bell that called the villagers to cease work and to pray. Now you can create a bell sound on your phone to sing out and invite you to pray and meditate on the verse.

    Summary

Remember that this is not about the quantity of the Bible being read. This is about the quality of the experience.

It’s not the number of kisses a lover gives that speaks love. It’s the quality and depth of experience that touches the heart.

Further reading

Quotes to Consider

  • Oh, to be bathed in a text of Scripture, and to let it be sucked up in your very soul, till it saturates your heart! Charles Spurgeon
  • Oh, to have “the word of Christ” always dwelling inside of us;—in the memory, never forgotten; in the heart, always loved; in the understanding, really grasped; with all the powers and passions of the mind fully submitted to its control!  Charles Spurgeon
  • When you read God’s Word, you must constantly be saying to yourself, “It is talking to me, and about me. Soren Kierkegaard

Questions to answer and leave a comment below or anonymously

  1. What scriptures have regularly fed your soul? Why those?
  2. Which of the 11 suggestions will you try out in the next week?
  3. Why do you think meditating and mindfully chewing over a passage of scripture has such a profound impact on your mental health.

Barry Pearman

Image cc: Ben White

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