O Taste & See!

The Sweetness of Scripture Is Not Just for Beekeeping Monks

Lectio divina, or divine reading, is nothing out of the ordinary. We tend to think of its four steps—reading, meditation, prayer, and contemplation—as an esoteric practice, something monks engaged in long ago. The Latin term divina may intimidate us into thinking that lectio divina is something different from what we typically do in reading the Bible. But divina does not mean “esoteric”; it is more akin to our term holy. The Scriptures are holy—set aside for a unique purpose. For many centuries, believers referred deferentially to the Bible as the “divine Scriptures,” meaning that it has a special place or function. It’s a phrase we should retrieve. Scripture is divine in the sense that it has a special place within the church. And because Scripture is divine, our reading, too, should be divine.

True, for many centuries, monks engaged in lectio divina (and they do so, still). But that observation doesn’t render the practice esoteric or elitist. Monks embark upon meditative reading of Scripture (lectio divina) for the simple reason that they love the Scriptures—much as every true believer does. Love of Scripture naturally leads to fervent, repetitive reading and prayerful meditation upon its words, always in the hope of seeing the face of God (contemplation).

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Hans Boersma is the Saint Benedict Servants of Christ Professor in Ascetical Theology at Nashotah House Theological Seminary. He is a senior editor of Touchstone.

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