There are so many different ways to approach the Word of God. One way, that I spent over 30 years of my life doing, is to read it intellectually. This approach is important and necessary. We need to understand what we are reading, the facts, the culture of the people about whom we are reading, the geography of the land, what was happening in the world concurrent to biblical events, the meaning of the original biblical languages.

I can get really caught up in all of these things. I have literally spent hours researching original languages, Strongs Numbers, comparing various translations in parallel. This site is one of my favorite ones for this level of study.

Reading the Bible as a Mystic is a different experience, entirely. There are two prayer practices that are closely akin to what I am referring to when I refer to a mystical approach to the Word. These are Lectio Divina and Ignatian Contemplation. You can read more about those here as well as numerous other locations on the web. With a mystical approach to the Bible we often ask questions, such as "What more is here that I'm missing?" or "What am I supposed to notice in this scripture?" or "Why has God drawn me to this scripture at this time in my life?"

The following is an example.

Prior to my time in the Word, I will light a candle and set an intention, a ritual that, for me, sets aside my ordinary day from, what I hope will be, a holy encounter. I open the Bible and read. The passage is about Moses in Exodus chapter 3 where he encounters God, who speaks to him from a burning bush. I am stopped after reading chapter 3, verse 4, drawn to read this verse again, carefully:

When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”

For all of the times in my life that I had read that verse, I had missed that God "noticed" that Moses had "noticed" the bush. There are two "noticings" so to speak. I sense there is something in this realization that is important, so I stop reading, and sit in silent contemplation, asking God why I am drawn to this verse and what message God might be for me.

After a time, a question comes to mind. How have I missed noticing God in my life because I am too busy? Tears come, and I am convicted. I may then spend some time speaking with God about what I'm feeling, about my sorrow for not noticing. I might try to think back through my day, and "notice" (in hindsight) when God was present and I missed it. I might journal about how I plan to become more attuned to God tomorrow.

This, is just one example of how a Mystic reads the Bible.

If this resonates with you, join with me as I share these experiences through the blog.