By Keri Wyatt Kent
We live in a culture of sound bites and Tweets. While sharing your thoughts in 140 characters or less makes one more concise, it rarely is enough space to delve deeper.
What works in social media is less effective as an approach to Scripture, despite the proliferation of Verse-A-Day calendars and short, pithy devotionals. It’s been said that Scripture is like a lake whose depths have never been fully plumbed. And yet, we are content to splash in the shallows of God’s word instead of stretching ourselves to go deeper. Our growth and our effectiveness as influencers is thwarted as a result.
Scripture itself decries depth for the sake of mere intellectual attainment. Rather, I want to seek to study Scripture in a deeper way for the purpose of spiritual transformation: that as a leader, I would be changed, slowly conformed to the image of Christ. And because of that, I’d be able to facilitate transformation in others. This is almost impossible if I don’t read, or don’t accurately understand, God’s word.
Where to start? Take advantage of tools that exist, online or at your local Christian bookstore. Here’s one way to do so:
Read a given text. Pick out what you would call keywords –the words you would tag in a blog post. Look each word up in a concordance (there are some really great ones online, like www.biblestudytools.com). Just as we can understand an English word better if we hear it used in a sentence, we can understand biblical words better if we see them in other contexts.
Using a concordance with a lexicon (like the one available at www.blueletterbible.org, for example) can take you even deeper, by showing you which Greek or Hebrew word that the English word translates, and other verses containing that same word.
This is not study for study’s sake, but rather, a way to more deeply understand God’s word. If we are Christian leaders, yet skim along the surface of his Word, we and those we lead miss out.
When I’m willing to go deeper into God’s word, and thus allow it to inform my leadership and stretch my mind and heart, I will be more deeply connected to the living Word, Jesus. But I will also find in that quest the heart of Scripture, which is transformational wisdom. I will become a better leader by stretching myself to be a biblically literate leader.
Keri Wyatt Kent is the author of Deeper into the Word: Reflections on 100 Words from the New Testament, a book she describes this way: “If a Bible dictionary and a deep, thoughtful devotional had a baby, it would be this book.” Keri writes and speaks to help people slow down, simplify and find God in their story, and loves to help make Scripture relevant to 21st Century life. Learn more at www.keriwyattkent.com or www.facebook.com/keriwyattkent. Find Deeper into the Word on amazon by clicking here.