A Scholar's Devotion

A Scholar’s Devotion with Holly Beers

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. Holly Beers if she would share her thoughts with us.

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

I take long walks and pray almost every day. I talk to God, but I do a lot of listening as well. Sometimes I ask questions and wait for answers; sometimes I pray in tongues; sometimes I just enjoy God’s presence and wait for the Father, Son, or Spirit to say something to me. I also pray while I drive (when my husband and/or kids aren’t with me).

I also study Scripture, of course. I tend to spend a lot of time in the same text. Sometimes it’s something I’m working on for a class or academic project, but not always. It’s always a bigger chunk, never just a few verses. I read it again and again, always with an eye to how it fits within its larger context(s). I check the Greek or Hebrew. I read it again. I check a commentary or other helpful resource. I read it again. I meditate on it on my walks. I read it again. God always speaks powerfully to me in and through this process.

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

Honestly, being married and having kids is probably the primary avenue that God uses to disciple the selfishness out of me and make me more like Jesus. When I’m doing something for them (preparing food, doing dishes, cleaning, scheduling, etc.) I often talk to Jesus about this, and I thank him for my life and all the opportunities he’s given me to live for others rather than myself. I practice intentional gratitude in this way, because I often don’t feel grateful for all the extra work.

Also, our family is very committed to our local church; they are our “Jesus-family.” I serve on the prayer team and preach and teach, even/especially when I do not feel like serving in this way. We serve our non-Christian neighbors and broader community, including hosting meals and participating in cleanup events. We also attempt to treat our small group especially like family, doing for them what we would do for our biological family, including childcare, offering skills (including fixing broken toilets and fences—my husband has these skills, not me, but when he helps in this way I am left with other responsibilities to manage on my own, including our home and kids), and being a processing space for theological questions.

When it’s challenging and messy, which it often is, we remind ourselves that participation in God’s restorative project for the world will of course be messy, because following the Spirit’s leading always is.

Holly Beers is the Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Westmont College. She specializes in Luke-Acts, the use of the Old Testament in the New Testament, philosophical hermeneutics, and second temple Judaism. She has written The Followers of Jesus as the ‘Servant’ (LNTS) and A Week In the Life of a Greco-Roman Woman

Thank you, Dr. Beers!

Other Scholars’ Devotions

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