A Scholar's Devotion

A Scholar’s Devotion with Michael Gorman

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 asked myself, “Is this 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?”  

In this series 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. Michael Gorman if he would share his thoughts with us.

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

My prayer and Scripture reading takes three main forms.

  1. My wife and I read and pray together each morning. We often read, discuss, and meditate on a psalm, sometimes with a little help from Eugene Peterson’s tiny but insightful book called Praying with the Psalms. At other times we read through a particular OT or NT book. At still other times we use a 10-day guide prepared each month by the adult formation team in our church. And in Advent and Lent we do something special, using resources such as Watch for the Light or Bread and Wine or, more recently, Biola University’s wonderful web site that has music, visual art, and a devotional each day in Advent and Lent.
  2. My wife and I have also hosted an in-home Bible study and prayer group in our home for more than 30 years. Reading, discussing, and praying with Scripture, as well as discussing other books (maybe something by Ellen Davis or Tom Wright or…), also enhances our spiritual life together.
  3. I consider my research and writing and teaching to be forms of prayer.

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

As for deepening my love for Christ, I certainly think the devotional life does that. But I also try to remember key scriptural passages throughout the day, such as Galatians 2:19–20 and Philippians 2:1–11 from Paul, and ask God to enable me to live them. I am also an active participant in and leader for our church’s adult formation ministry and its worship. I still believe that corporate worship is the most appropriate—and formative—thing Christians can do. We leave changed by our praise, confession, communion, hearing the word read and proclaimed, giving ourselves and our gifts, etc. Then we need to live that transformation with those we encounter.

Michael J. Gorman holds the Raymond E. Brown Chair in Biblical Studies and Theology at St. Mary’s Seminary & University in Baltimore, Maryland. He specializes in the theological and missional interpretation of Scripture, especially the Pauline and Johannine literature—books such as Reading Revelation Responsibly, Apostle of the Crucified Lord, and Abide and Go.

Thank you, Dr. Gorman!

Other Scholars’ Devotions

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