A Scholar's Devotion

A Scholar’s Devotion with Kyle Dunham

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. Kyle Dunham if he would share his thoughts with us.

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

I am an early riser. I typically get up fairly early to get in some exercise. Then I have my coffee and spend 45 minutes to an hour in the Word and prayer. I begin by reading the Old Testament in Hebrew. I am reading through the OT consecutively in the canonical order of the Masoretic Text. Then I read the New Testament in English (ESV) and consult the Greek text if need be. I usually follow a Bible reading plan to read through the Bible in a year. I then work on Scripture memory. I have been encouraged by Andy Davis’s Scripture memorization model to seek to learn entire books of the Bible. I am working on Proverbs in the ESV currently. I also spend time in prayer, loosely following the pattern of Christ in John 17 to pray outward in concentric circles, beginning with myself and my family, then close colleagues and friends in ministry, then other believers in general and for the salvation of unbelievers.

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

I am not certain that I have a perfect model. Scripture memory has aided in stoking godly affections as well as seasons of concentrated prayer and confession. I seek also to integrate into my daily reading habits devotional books and biographies of exemplary Christian leaders. I have found helpful in the past months several good biographies of Martin Luther, A. W. Pink, T. J. Jackson, and Eric Liddell, for example. I also enjoy good devotional writings from occasionally-obscure Christian writers from the past, such as David Baron as well as contemporary writers such as Sinclair Ferguson and Jerry Bridges. Another help has been regular, intentional discussions with close friends for the purpose of spiritual encouragement and accountability. Faithful attendance and involvement in my local church is, of course, a necessity. I have learned that sanctification is often forged in the crucible of suffering, so I take opportunities for “self-watch” during those seasons. God is good in spite of my sin; I am grateful for his mercy.

Kyle Dunham is the associate professor of Old Testament at Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary. He has written The Pious Sage in Job

Thank you, Dr. Dunham!
Twitter: @KyleDunham

Other Scholars’ Devotions

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