“Reading the holy Scriptures confers two benefits. It trains the mind to understand them; it turns man’s attention from the follies of the world and leads him to the love of God. Two kinds of study are called for here. We must first learn how the Scriptures are to be understood, and then see how to expound them with profit and in a manner worthy of them . . . No one can understand holy Scripture without constant reading . . . The more you devote yourself to the study of the sacred utterances, the richer will be your understanding of them, just as the more the soil is tilled, the richer the harvest.”
— St. Isidore of Seville, p. 201
AN EXCERPT FROM, Witness of the Saints
There are many today who would say they are “spiritual directors” but would not make the Scripture the foundation of their work. Such are not “Christian” spiritual directors. They fail to understand the Word is the revelation of God to us through which we can understand the nature, love, and will of God for our lives.
I recently attended a study group that was discussing, The Screwtapes Letters, by C.S Lewis. In a discussion about where I was attending church, a critique of the denominational affiliation of the church I attend was that we mostly just prayed prayers. I asked the individual if he knew from where the majority of our prayers were taken. He said no. He seemed surprised when I told him they were from the Scripture.
When I have been allowed the pulpit (I am currently waiting and hope God will grant me that privilege again) my sermons are founded and fed by the Scripture. It is the authority through which I speak. When getting my doctorate, my focus in my seminar work and in my doctoral project was how to use the Scripture best in worship, not only in the sermon but in the songs and times of silence I felt were deeply important for true worship to transpire. I fully agree with St. Isidore, the more time a Christian can spend in the Scripture the richer their understanding of God and God’s will comes to us as we live our lives amidst a world errors and deceptions.
Currently, I am reading and living in the book of Lamentations. In the light of our current political leadership, cultural malaise, and individual idolatry, this book helps prepare me for what I am told by the media and what I encounter in everyday life. This is what the Scripture studied offers.
As a certified spiritual director, one of the first discussions I have with a directee is about their study time, devotional time and prayer time in the Scripture. If such things are not part of their spiritual development, I urge them through assignments and questions to move toward these things and discover just how much grow is offer there.
All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.
(2 Tim. 3:16-17 NRS)