Speaking of Paul Boekell’s sermon, there are several ways we can apply the concept of getting alone for times of silence and solitude as we seek to grow near to God and wait on Him. One way to apply the message is through daily quiet times. Whether it would be 15 mins., an hour, or more, these times are extremely valuable in keeping God front and center in your thinking, and help you to “take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Cor 10:5). Jesus compares the Scriptures to daily bread (Mt 4:10), and this implies a daily need of God’s Word which is important to our spiritual vitality (just like food is to our physical vitality).
The man who discipled me, Ed Tubbs, taught me early on in my Christian life how to have a daily quiet time. I’m not sure if he developed this method or learned it from someone else, but it’s a very good way to begin daily meditation on the Scriptures. It’s called the VIA method. The acrostic VIA will help you to think through the Scripture on which you’re meditating:
Verification: This simply means you write down what the passage is saying. You can summarize a long passage or paraphrase a shorter one. The idea is to make you understand what the passage is saying.
Interpretation: This is the part where you seek to interpret the passage. What does it mean in context? What does it mean when compared to other Scriptures? Why was this written, and to whom? What point was the writer making?
Application: What does this passage mean for me and my life? Are there any changes I need to make in my life based on what I read here? The Navigators encouraged asking these questions to help you to apply the passage you’re reading:
- Is there a command to obey?
- Is there a promise to claim?
- Is there a sin to forsake?
- Is there a example to follow?
- Is there an error to avoid?
- Is there a new truth about God the Father, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit?
- Is there a prayer to pray?
I think you should also ask:
- Is the Gospel, the grand storyline of the Bible, in this passage? If so, what does this passage teach me about redemption through Christ?
There are lots of variations of the VIA method out there, too; many of them contain the essentially the same ideas. One says you should write down the following about your passage: “What does it say, what does it mean, and what should I do?” One variation I used (borrowed from the medical field) is SOAP (summarization, observation, application, and prayer). I added this because praying over the passage is essential to understanding it. It’s a spiritual book, and requires the Holy Spirit’s enablement if we’re to understand it (1 Cor 2:10-14).
Speaking of praying: John Piper recommends praying these scriptural prayers before you begin meditating on the Word (using the acronym I.O.U.s.)
- Incline my heart to you, not to prideful gain or any false motive. (Psalm 119:36)
- Open my eyes to behold wonderful things in your Word. (Psalm 119:18)
- Unite my heart to fear your name. (Psalm 86:11)
- Satisfy me with you steadfast love. (Psalm 90:14)
Two thoughts in closing: 1) Don’t get so caught up in mechanics or methods. These are only helpful tools, but there are many other ways of having quiet times. These are only if you don’t really know how to regularly read, meditate, and apply the Word. 2) Remember: These methods are helpful to your spiritual vitality, but they are not you spiritual vitality. God is not more or less pleased with you if you use the VIA method. And you can use all these methods and never miss a day and still have a heart full of pride. Come to Scripture humbly, with a heart to find God and hear from Him.