Meeting God in Scripture: A Hands-On Guide to Lectio Divina  -     By: Jan Johnson
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Meeting God in Scripture: A Hands-On Guide to Lectio Divina

IVP Books / 2016 / Paperback

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Product Description

In Meeting God in Scripture, Jan Johnson guides readers in the practice of lectio divina. Presenting 40 Scripture meditations, organized topically, she gives you the tools you need to embrace this faith-renewing discipline individually or in a group setting. Move beyond a head knowledge of the Scriptures to a heart-changing experience when you listen for God's voice in His word.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 240
Vendor: IVP Books
Publication Date: 2016
Dimensions: 8.25 X 5.5 (inches)
ISBN: 0830846220
ISBN-13: 9780830846221

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Publisher's Description

Jesus is speaking to us here and now. Lectio divina is a practice of Scripture reading that treats the Bible not only as a text to be examined, but also as the living Word of God spoken anew to us. Experienced Bible teacher Jan Johnson gives us forty Scripture meditations, organized topically, giving us the tools we need to practice lectio divina on our own. Each meditation can be used both individually and in group settings, and includes
  • an introductory space of quiet along with an optional preparatory exercise;
  • the full text of a passage from Scripture with explanations of unusual or important words, and with cultural and historical background as needed;
  • cues to help us enter the text;
  • space to contemplate the passage, respond to God in prayer and rest in his presence; and
  • an exercise to "try on" one of the main ideas of the passage in our daily lives.
Meeting God in Scripture moves us beyond merely understanding what the text meant in its original context to a direct spiritual encounter with Christ.

Author Bio

Jan Johnson is the author of over twenty books and more than a thousand magazine articles and Bible studies. A speaker, teacher and spiritual director, she writes primarily about spiritual formation, social justice and living with purposeful intentionality. Her books include , (editor), , and the Spiritual Disciplines Bible Study Series. She holds a DMin in Ignatian spirituality and spiritual direction from the Graduate Theological Foundation and lives with her husband in Simi Valley, California.

Editorial Reviews

"Jan Johnson has a particular anointed genius for guiding people into interaction with the living God through his Word. Her winsome, accessible lectio divina exercises have been invaluable to the students at the Renovaré Institute for Christian Spiritual Formation, and it's exciting to see her guides become more widely available. Meeting God in Scripture is a real gift for any of us who desire to spend more time with—and deepen our friendship with—the triune God."
"Jan does something few contemporary lectio guides do: she preserves the discipline of study that was part of the ancient tradition of lectio divina by providing historical and cultural background for the chosen texts. Her selection of passages is nothing short of brilliant—theologically central, experientially deep, and comprehensively transformational. This guide can be the spark that causes the Word of God to be a fire in your bones once again."
"In her writing as in person, Jan Johnson finds ordinary ways to guide us into extraordinary experiences—into the very presence of God—with an attentive ear for what God may have to say. What a personal yet practical way to bring the practice of lectio divina into daily life! The coaching Jan provides is spot-on soul guidance and will most certainly help readers greatly increase their capacity for meeting God in Scripture."
"Finally, a book about engaging Scripture for personal and group transformation has arrived! Jan Johnson has done a great service for evangelicals who have lost an imagination for reading the Bible outside of study or quick inspiration. Meeting God in Scripture is a beautiful reclaiming of lectio divina for our time. Read, ponder, pray, and meditate on the beauty of Scripture as described in these pages and prepare to be changed!"
"What a great title—and what a great book! God delights to meet with his children in Scripture, and if you're ready to try out a different approach, let Jan Johnson, an experienced and trusted Bible teacher, lead the way with this sound and practical guide. You'll have the opportunity to meditate on thematically arranged passages from various sections of the whole Bible. I really appreciated the just-enough background comments that helped illuminate key words or concepts so that I could put aside immediate questions and enter more fully into the passage. The structured framework and thoughtful questions prodded my pondering to allow God's work in my heart. This guidebook offers nourishing soul food for those with little or much experience in Bible meditation, individually or in a group setting."
"What a great help! Jan is truly a thoughtful and trusted guide. I love the way this book is laid out and the overarching direction it takes us in. Carefully working through this book will change your life."
"Jesus spoke of the wise disciple who 'brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old,' and this book does just that. It helps the follower of Jesus practice the call of Scripture to be people who meditate frequently on God's truth. The guidance given here is both time-tested by respected ancient writers and practice-tested in everyday life, as this book has grown out of years of fruitful Bible study leadership. There is a thoughtful grounding of the prayer and meditation exercises in the historical meaning of the text."
"I've found encountering God in Scripture to be my favorite and most life-giving spiritual practice. In Meeting God in Scripture, Jan serves us as a seasoned guide to the classic spiritual practice of lectio divina through these forty well-crafted and inviting meditations. More than an idea book, this is an experience book. I hope you'll read it and grow in your enjoyment of God in Scripture."
"Jan Johnson has written a wonderful and clear guide to lectio divina. . . . [It] will be of tremendous help to everyone desiring to know God more deeply and to become more like Jesus."
"When we experience abandonment, we look for guideposts to bring about renewal. These Scripture meditation exercises invite us into the presence of God, who creates a safe place for us and draws us into a culture for formation and growth."

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  1. Warren, Maine
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Sacred Reading -- Hands On
    November 15, 2016
    Michele Morin
    Warren, Maine
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Lectio divina, the practice of sacred reading, brings to mind images of flickering candles and meditative silences broken only by the turn of a page or the scratch of a pen on paper. The flickering candle I can manage, but my dining room table command post is where just about any kind of reading happens at my house, making it no less sacred, of course, but incorporating more interruptions, perhaps, than would be ideal. Maybe this is why I found the framework provided in Jan Johnsons Meeting God in Scripture to be so helpful. She refers to her guidance as training wheels to help readers move toward meaningful meditation upon the truths of Scripture.

    Since at least the 5th century, Christians have referred to four traditional steps in lectio divina:

    Read (lectio)

    Reflect (meditatio)

    Respond (oratio)

    Rest (contemplatio)

    Jan has added Relax and Refocus (silencio) to the beginning and appended Trying it On (incarnatio) to the end, and I found her wording to be extremely helpful in clarifying the intention behind the traditional Latin steps.

    For serious students of the Bible, these six steps are likely already happening in some form, however haphazardly. The point of lectio divina is NOT to add another check list to my life, but, rather, to gently invite me to wonder if my reading of Scripture is grounded in careful thinking about the text.

    In Jan Johnsons forty guided meditations based on brief Scripture passages, she demonstrates not only a method of study, but also a manner of questioning and a leisurely and yet purposeful approach to reading with the intent of changing and deepening the way Christians approach the written Word independently:

    Relax and Refocus (Silencio) Often, Jan poses a question to focus the thoughts on the days passage. Distractions are offered, palms up, to the God who is present and who stands ready to speak to the believer through His inspired Word. This purposeful pause reinforces the conversational aspect of reading a Living Word.

    Read (Lectio) Here is where we so often go wrong (if were not careful). Gods Word is not for skimming, so reading aloud, reading passages repetitively, and reading with a question in mind are all important slow-me-down safeguards. The goal is for the words to fall on our ear in such a way that we perceive what is being said. Text for all forty passages that Jan examines are included in the book along with helpful explanatory notes.

    Reflect (Meditatio) The questions and cues provided invite the use of sanctified imagination in the reading of a narrative passage and also encourage readers to approach discourse passages on a quest for the particular truth that shimmers for them. Gods invitation, whenever we come to His Word, is to enlarge our understanding of Him through careful reflection on the Truth presented. Jan teaches her readers how to be a fly on the wall, observing, for example, likely facial expressions, the probable responses of gathered crowds, and even the physical details of the setting and the clothing that would have been worn.

    Respond (Oratio) This step brings the spiritual disciplines of Bible study and prayer into one truly God-centered interaction in which we respond to God according to what we believe that we have learned from our careful reading of Scripture. This response may be verbal, musical, or it may take written form as a journal entry or a drawing. It may involve questioning God about His ways or thanking Him for some aspect of His character that has been revealed. The underlying question that drives oratio is: What do you most need to say to God at this moment?

    Rest (Comtemplatio) Here in North America, we have already slammed shut the cover of our Bible and bustled off to our next task long before reaching step five, but Jan emphasizes the importance of simply being present to God, absorbing the truth that has been uncovered, and then responding in worship. It is helpful to ask at this point, What was God up to in this passage? or Based on what you have read, what is God like?

    Try It On (Incarnatio) Incarnational faith involves action that arises out of truth. Jans suggestions prime the pump for readers to come up with their own ways to express their living out the truth of a passage.

    Integrated throughout Meeting God in Scripture are essays that tackle important questions in the practice of lectio divina. Having taught the Bible for years, I spent a considerable amount of time reading the essay that compares and contrasts meditation and application. Both ask, How does this passage intersect with my life? However, meditation is an ongoing conversation with God and results in deep and abiding change in character from the inside out. Application can tend to be more analytical, left-brained, and temporary unless it is supported by solid Scriptural underpinnings.

    Among the other important topics that Jan sorts out and ponders are the sanctified imagination, the role of study in lectio divina, and distinguishing the voice of God from my own mental wool-gathering.

    A.W. Tozer said it well:

    [The Bible] is not only a book which was once spoken, but a book which is now speaking . . . If you would follow on to know the Lord, come at once to the open Bible expecting it to speak to you.

    For those who affirm the truth of this, but find that it is just beyond their present experience, Meeting God in Scripture is a jumping off point with a little spring in it to help students of Scripture become airborne, arcing into a passage, slicing past the surface, and then soaking in the depths of its Truth.

    //

    This book was provided by IVP Books, an imprint of Intervarsity Press, in exchange for my review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 : Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
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