Going through Bible college and seminary, students are taught to study the Bible and uphold its doctrines about God while also being encouraged not to neglect their devotional times with God. Yet during my own devotional time I, and probably many others, often ask, “Is this approach the best way to grow spiritually, or is there a better way? What could I do differently? Should I incorporate my studies with my devotions?”
Each week, I ask a different scholar two questions about how he or she spends time with the Lord and continues to love him with all their mind, strength, and heart. While no one method or style is “the only way,” we can draw on one another’s experiences.
This week, I have asked Dr. Nicholas Perrin if he would share his thoughts with us.
1. How do you spend your devotional time with the Lord?
I have a standard morning routine, which culminates in an hour dedicated to the word and prayer, with roughly 30 minutes dedicated to both. (Yes, I use the timer on my iPhone.) For the Word, I take my cues from a lectionary, meditating slowly and reflectively on the psalm for the day. I usually work in a translation other than English (German, Italian, or MT Hebrew) to keep it fresh and new for me. After that I pray for my family, close associates, upcoming events, and issues. I see this as a springboard for prayer throughout the day.
2. How do you practically seek to deepen your love for Christ?
I’m not sure how to answer this apart from the spiritual devotions, including the discipline of fellowship. For me, love for Christ equals obedience. I am most likely to obedient when I am in close contact with one or two men with whom I can be myself – hopes, dreams, warts, etc. I know – if the studies are correct – that most men at my stage of life don’t have this; I don’t know how they make it.
Dr. Nicholas Perrin is the Franklin S. Dyrness Professor of Biblical Studies at Wheaton College. Perrin has written Jesus the Temple, Lost in Translation, has contributed to Jesus, Paul and the People of God, and is soon releasing Jesus the Priest and The Kingdom of God.