A Scholar's Devotion

A Scholar’s Devotion with Craig Blomberg

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. Craig Blomberg if he would share his thoughts with us.

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

One of the best things I ever heard a Christian speaker say when I was a teenager was “All methods fail [and then after a long dramatic pause] eventually!”  His point was that we shouldn’t think we use one method for life but rather vary it as often as we need to, in order to keep things fresh.  So there are times when I have studied a New Testament book very carefully in the Greek but tried to stop and reflect on what God would be saying to me through it in whatever circumstances I found myself in at the time.  At the other end of the spectrum, I have often benefitted from some of the classic devotional literature penned over the centuries after reading a comparatively short text in the English Bible.  I have often read the Psalms when I needed something different from what I have been doing.  I have read through the entire Bible over a year or two in a new translation that I’ve never read before.  I can usually tell when something I’ve been doing is becoming more rote than vibrant and I usually push myself to keep at it a little longer and concentrate harder but then I start planning on switching to a different format.

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

Part of the answer would be everything I wrote above in response to your first question.  Part of it would be to be as regular as possible in church worship services and seminary chapel services.  But again, I value variation and creativity.  Some of my most powerful experiences in worship have been when I have been visiting other churches, especially overseas in other cultures.  Seeing the devotion that people in other countries have, often in much deeper ways than the average American, is very inspiring and motivating.  I realize that I have been very blessed with the frequency of opportunities to travel and even live abroad throughout my life, but I would strongly encourage anyone who can possibly swing it to do so, and ask Jesus what he wants you to learn from those settings.  I am also one of those people who tries to follow J. P. Moreland’s calls to love God with all our minds and when I see how the Bible answers so many of the classic questions of humanity but also when he works miracles, brings people new life, and enables unity within diversity—people love each other in Christ who have no human reason for doing so across all the boundaries of race, gender, ethnicity, and age—my love for him grown not just intellectually but affectively.  But I would be less than honest if I didn’t also say that I don’t think I’m a great role model in this area; others who may have studied a lot less may have much more emotion.  And I certainly don’t think I’m anywhere close to having arrived spiritually—his regular forgiveness for my sins keeps me loving him too!


Craig Blomberg is the Distinguished Professor of New Testament at Denver Seminary. He has written commentaries on Matthew, 1 Corinthians, and James, as well as books on the historical reliability of the Gospels, John, and the NT, Interpreting the Parables, money, stewardship, and more recently, A New Testament Theology.

Thank you, Dr. Blomberg!

Other Scholars’ Devotions

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3 comments

  1. Thanks for this! My devotional life is much like he describes in # 1. But sometimes Christian devotional life can be presented as needing a consistent routine year and year – and you are a failure if you can’t abide by the same method.

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    1. Thanks, Laura! It’s nice to hear when people change things up and that it is OK to do it. It is not as if God keeps you to the one thing you began with. Also refreshing was Dru Johnson’s post and a few things he said, because life gets busy. Last month I graduated, had in-laws in, traveled, traveled more, and am in Norway now. Now I feel like I can actually have my devotions again!

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