A Scholar's Devotion

A Scholar’s Devotion with Andrew Abernethy

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. Andrew Abernethy if he would share his thoughts with us.

1. How do you spend your devotional time with the Lord? 

When I was 20, I began enjoying lengthy times of prayer and scripture reading every morning. I’d reckon that I never missed a day for 10 years. Then, marriage, children, and many other great things threw this consistent pattern off. I know that some out there will say: “That’s no excuse; a man of God is nothing if he doesn’t carve out an hour every morning to start his day on his knees before the Lord!” I say that to myself sometimes too, and I do still aspire to this. I’ve wrestled with feeling like an inadequate Christian or unworthy of God once I began missing a days of devotions here and there. It’s been a season of re-learning the gospel that my standing before God is not determined by having the sort of devotional life someone would want to emulate. By God’s grace, He can draw upon those 10 years to enrich me today and is still sustaining me spiritually amidst a more sporadic season of devotional life.

Here is what my devotional life looks like now:

Bible reading: I try to read through the Bible every year, sequentially, beginning with Genesis and ending in Revelation. Sometimes I read a chapter or two to start and end my days. Sometimes it happens when I enter my office. Other times, it happens when the kids are in bed and my wife is still at work, and I have a window of time to read the Scriptures.

Prayer: I have this little book of psalms (Hebrew) that I found in a book store in Israel, and I’ll pray through a few of those psalms in bed at night, working sequentially through the psalter. My wife and I also pray together every night, with a different topic for each day of the week. So, Sunday (family), Monday (missionaries), Tuesday (Australia), Wednesday (friends in ministry), Thursday (Middle East/Israel), Friday (Compassion Sponsor Child), and Saturday (Churches) we have different tasks; this was my wife’s idea and it’s been great for us. Finally, I’ve begun praying and praising God on the way to work.  

2. How do you practically seek to deepen your love for Christ?

Along with my devotional life above, here are a few other things I find that deepen my love for Christ. First, during the season of Lent (the weeks leading up to Easter), I give up social media and I try to read through the entire New Testament. Second, I stream worship music or listen to sermons while I do the dishes. Finally, I’ve found that being in community with Christians from different traditions than my own have helped me to delight in aspects of Christ that I tend to overlook or neglect.

Andrew Abernethy is Associate Professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College. He has written The Book of Isaiah and God’s Kingdom (NSBT) and edited Interpreting the Old Testament Theologically

Thank you, Dr. Abernethy!

Other Scholars’ Devotions

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