A Scholar's Devotion

A Scholar’s Devotion with Mitch Chase

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. Mitch Chase if he would share his thoughts with us.

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

I make it my goal to study Scripture daily, particularly in the morning. In the mornings, my attention is more easily focused and my mind is more alert—after coffee, of course. Because my life consists of pastoral ministry in addition to academic responsibilities, I’m continually preparing sermons for our congregation at Kosmosdale Baptist Church. As I mull over texts and as I research various passages, my devotional times are often connected with some kind of preparation. I might be reading and meditating on the passage I’ll be preaching on the upcoming Lord’s Day, or I might be reading through a particular book of the Bible, and so a devotional time could look like reading several chapters and reflecting on them.

What I also want to do, though, is something I learned from Dr. Don Whitney years ago: I want to be Praying the Bible (that’s his book title). This looks like reading a passage and thinking, “How does this content prompt me to pray? Is there something for which to give thanks? Is there a warning I need strength to heed? Is there gospel comfort I need to be open to receive? Is there a characteristic of God I can rejoice over?” I want my devotional times to be paired with prayer, and specifically prayer that’s prompted by what I’m studying.

Furthermore, I love incorporating a resource alongside my Bible reading. This resource doesn’t have to be an explicit devotional. Maybe it’ll be a book on theology or some area of biblical studies that I’m reading about. I find over and over again that supplemental resources can point my heart to the truth of God and bless my soul. Right now I’m reading through Biblical Reasoning (by Bobby Jamison and Tyler Wittman).

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

Since the previous question asked about devotional time, I’ll consider this second question already partly answered, because love for Christ and devotion in his Word go together. I love to sing, and I love old and new hymns. The deep theology of sound lyrics speaks to me and stirs my affections, and I find that my corporate experiences in the local church are especially edifying and deepen my love for Christ. To be able to gather with God’s people, sing songs of truth, and attend to the Scripture through preaching—these corporate realities remind me how special and vital the local church is for our discipleship.

We need to be together as the church. I see the work of the Spirit in the lives of our congregants, and that deepens my love for the Lord. Church ministry confronts us with burdens and needs, with hurts and fears, with discouragement and despair. When we see the power of God’s Word at work in the lives of others, our hearts will be affected.

On an individual level, one practical way my love for Christ deepens is through memorizing Scripture. Right now I’m memorizing Psalm 1, and those verses bless my heart whenever I think through them. Meditation on and the memorization of Scripture is a trustworthy strategy that deepens affections for the Savior.

Mitch Chase is Pastor at Kosmosdale Baptist Church and the Associate Professor of Biblical Studies at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has written on typology and allegory, resurrection hope and death, a commentary on Daniel, and a book on the gospel for Christians. He tweets at @MitchellChase and has his own Substack

Thank you, Dr. Chase!

Other Scholars’ Devotions

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