I love when words and phrases come together so organically that it makes you smile and acknowledge God’s creativity … and realize that He, indeed, has a sense of humor. In my quest to read the Bible (again), this week’s focus has been Exodus and Psalms. If you’ve never read the Psalms, or if you’ve skimmed them and not paid much attention, I encourage you to open your Bible. Take a few minutes to really read Psalms, a collection of hymns, poetry, laments, praises of thanksgiving, and prayers. No matter the season of life in which you currently reside, there is a Psalm to fit your heart, emotion, or situation.
It is in Psalms that I first encountered the word selah. It’s a bit of a trick word as Hebrew scholars have had difficulty translating it exactly and there are multiple ways of pronouncing it. I pronounce it SEE-lah and believe it means to pause and think deeply. An appropriate word when studying Scripture, right?! When we see the world selah, Scripture tells us to pause and carefully weigh, or discern with the Holy Spirit’s help, the meaning of what we have just read or heard.
If I study the Bible to know God and align my daily living with his purposes, I need to embrace selah more often! To do this, I created the S.E.L.A.H. acronym in hopes it will help me meditate on God’s Word. Reading the Bible takes a little skill and a whole lot of discipline. Are you ready to dig deeper and apply it to your life?
S for SCRIPTURE
Choose a Scripture verse or passage and read it several times. If you prefer, write it down to sharpen your recall and memorization skills.
E for EXPLANATION
Dig deeper and ask lots of questions: Who is mentioned and what is their role in the passage? What are important contextual details or background facts you need to know? What does the Scripture passage mean? What is its significance?
When explaining Scripture, it’s okay to ask more questions! I highly recommend finding a spiritual mentor who can help guide your reading and possibly answer your questions. Learn to read between the lines to discover God’s presence on every page. Cross-reference Scripture by finding passages in the Old and New Testaments that relate to each other. Use commentaries or notes from a pastor or speaker to help you understand Scripture more fully.
The is no doubt, from Genesis to Revelation, the Bible is telling us about the power and prominence of God. Each of the Bible’s 66 books contributes to God’s purpose and tells his story of creation, disobedience (sin), redemption, and restoration. When we keep this overarching message in our viewpoint, we can fully appreciate how the collection of verses and passages, and our daily life experiences, create God’s Story.
L for LESSONS LEARNED
What does this passage teach you? What does this passage tell you about God?
After reading the verse or passage several times, figure out its central message or theme. List one or more Biblical principles (truths) you discovered in the passage.
A for APPLICATION
Carefully consider how you might apply the lesson(s) you’ve learn from Scripture to your daily living. Put verbs in your sentences and create an action plan to strength your faith by applying the Biblical principles you identified earlier.
H for HONOR GOD
Finally, give honor and glory to God. Thank him for revealing himself to you through The Word. Offer praise and thanksgiving for instructions to navigate life’s situations. Ask Him for guidance when you don’t understand or have questions. Lift up prayer requests. Surrender your selfish desires for God’s divine purpose in your life. Thank God for who he is and what he is doing in your life.
Stay tuned for a post where I share Bible study notes using the S.E.L.A.H. method!