Monday, January 2, 2017

Devotions

In the Christian world, there is no shortage of "devotionals". The intended purpose of devotionals is to supplement one's time in the scriptures. They are never intended to be a substitute for one's direct contact with God's Word through some kind of daily reading & studying. Some people use devotionals like the old adage that says, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away"----we change it a bit----"a verse a day keeps the devil away". Yeah, it really doesn't work that way.

Now, having said that, some devotionals are better than others. Most devotionals take one or two verses of scripture, and then, tell a story or attempt to give some application of that verse to real-life. Some devotionals do a good job of this; some of them do not. The devotionals that give the meaning of the verse in it's proper biblical context and then give an application point for the verse are best, in my opinion. Having the whole biblical context of the verse or verses is best. The reason: if you miss the meaning of the verse in it's proper biblical context, you will miss the right application of the verse to real-life. You see, many devotional writers do not do the work of interpretation before writing their "devotional thought"-------however, some do (please hear me say that).

So, use devotionals, but use them discerningly. And, if the devotional only uses one or two verses, take a few extra minutes, look up the verse in your Bible and read the surrounding verses to get a better understanding of what the author of the devotion is doing. 

Here are a few authors that not only help apply the Bible to real-life, but also have the solid ground behind their application of the verses: John MacArthur's Truth for Today or Alone with God; John Piper's Solid Joys or A Godward Life; DA Carson's For the Love of God (this one is part of a year-long Bible reading plan); Oswald Chambers' My Utmost For His Highest.

There are others out there. Find a good one, use it; but, remember, they should not be a substitute for direct contact with God's Word...let them supplement your time in God's Word.

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