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Going through 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. Matthew Harmon if he would share his thoughts with us.
1. How do you spend your devotional time with the Lord?
It varies from year to year. Most years I read through the entire OT in English, but read it in the order of the Hebrew canon (I was inspired to do this after reading through Dominion and Dynasty by Stephen Dempster). I also read through the NT in Greek using a reading plan that takes a chapter each day with a few days off each month to allow you to catch up if/when you fall behind. Once I’m done reading the Word I spend some time in prayer for myself, my family, my friends, my small group, my students, missionaries, etc.
2. How do you practically seek to deepen your love for Christ?
The main way I seek to deepen my love for Christ is through my time in the Word each day. As I’m reading, I’m constantly asking:
- What do I learn about God;
- What do I learn about people/myself;
- What do I learn about relating to God;
- What do I learn about relating to others (this really is the basis for writing my book Asking the Right Questions).
Every passage I read I’m constantly looking for how it points to who Christ is, what Christ does, my need for Christ, etc. I find that as I ask these kinds of questions God gives me fresh glimpses of the beauty of Christ.
Dr. Matthew Harmon is Professor of New Testament Studies at Grace College & Theological Seminary. He has written a commentary on Philippians, Asking the Right Questions (read about it here), a 12-week study on Jeremiah, and has co-authored Making All Things New: Inaugurated Eschatology for the Life of the Church.
Thank you, Dr. Harmon!