Scripture: Breaking It Down

MorningDevotionsFrom time to time, a person will say to me: “I know that I am to meditate on Scripture, but I’m not sure how to do that.”

When I meditate on God’s Word, I try to break it down by asking myself some questions that will help me see what it suggests, implies, or commands.

Since Psalm 16:11 has been on my mind for several days, I’ll use it as an example of how I approach a verse of Scripture:

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence, there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11

  • What does This Psalm mean when it says: You make known to me the path of life
  1. There is more than one path in life that a person can follow.
  2. If there is a path of life, then there must be a path of death.
  3. While God will reveal the path of light to you, He will not force you to walk it.
  4. Companion Scripture: Proverbs 3:5-6
  • What does This Psalm mean when it says: In your presence, there is fullness of joy
  1. A person is either in or out of the presence of God.
  2. If fullness is a characteristic of being in His presence, is there a sense of unfulfillment or a lack of satisfaction when a person is absent His presence?
  3. If there is a correlation between joy in His presence, is there a lack of joyfulness in His absence?
  4. Companion Scripture: Psalm 1
  • What does this Psalm mean when it says: At your right hand are pleasures forevermore
  1. If there is a place where there are pleasures evermore, is there a place where there are pleasures nevermore?
  2. If these pleasures are associated with God’s right hand, what’s left when a person steps away from the hand of God’s provision?
  3. If these pleasures can be recognized, they are to be utilized.
  4. Companion Verse: Philippians 4:19

I hope this example of how I examine a verse of scripture will help you as you study God’s Word.

Monikers and Meanings

baby-name-surprisedMost people who know me call me by the shortened form of my name.  Although my birth certificate reads, Stanley Lee Seymour,  most people call me Stan.   An etymological search of Stan reveals that it is Old English in origin and means rocky meadow or from the stony field.

Etymology, however, had nothing to do with the selection of my name.  Because my last name starts with an S, Mom and Dad thought it would be trendy for the first name of each of their children to start with an S.  My older brother’s name is Steve and my younger brother’s name is Brad.

Before he was born Brad’s name was going to be Stuart, but Mom was already having trouble calling Steve, Stan, and Stan, Steve, so Stuart became Brad.

Had Mom continued her practice of using an S in the naming of her sons, Brad would have been Stuart; and, his name would carry the idea of one who is a guardian or steward.

Here, in America, we seem to be more ambiguous than rigorous when we consider the meaning of the name written on the birth certificate that labels our children for life.

This has not always been the case. In the biblical eras, names were pregnant with meaning and often prophetic in nature. The best example is the name that is above all names and the Old Testament descriptor assigned to Him: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Little did Mary know the angelic proclamation and the meaning of her son’s name would be as full of pain as it was promise:  You shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21).

When that babe lying in Bethlehem’s manger was named Jesus, it was not just a slip of the tongue or a casual moniker, it was a bold declaration: The Savior has been born.

May we all remember the reason for this season.

Rituals and Wrinkles

mirrorIt is 4:19, and I’ve finished the first part of my morning routine: I just swallowed the last drop of my first cup of coffee.

The next item on my morning ritual will be the couple of minutes I spend facing a mirror to examine my wrinkled mug, to apply some shaving cream, and to wield the razor as I shave my whiskers.

When I check the stubble on my face, I often think of Paul’s statement to the church at Corinth: “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5).”

When you think about it, isn’t life one examination station after another?

  • In your bedroom, do you examine your shirt for wrinkles before you button it up?
  • In the grocery store, do you check the apples to see if they are bruised or too green before you place them in your cart?
  • After you buy something, do you check to make sure you have been given the correct amount of change?

Do you take any time during the day for a spiritual examination?  The Psalmist said: “I thought about my ways, and turned my feet to Your testimonies (Psalm 119:59).”  Are there times when you use God’s Word to iron out the wrinkles of your life?

The methodology of the Psalms was the same message espoused by James (1:21-25):

Lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.  For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.  But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the

When you use the “perfect law of liberty” as a mirror to examine your life, what do you see?

  • Do you see a reflection of righteousness?
  • Is there an image of personal purity?
  • Do you recognize the features of faithfulness in the face you see?

Let me share a favorite verse that I use as a mirror: Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:23-24).

When you look into God’s Word, what do you see?