Chewing Like a Cow... Ruminating Through the NT
Does any one ask me, What is the best safeguard against false doctrine? – I answer in one word, ‘The Bible: the Bible regularly read, regularly prayed over, regularly studied.’ We must go back to the old prescription of our Master: ‘Search the Scriptures.’ (John 5:39) If we want a weapon to wield against the devices of Satan, there is nothing like ‘the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.’ But to wield it successfully, we must read it habitually, diligently, intelligently, and prayerfully. This is a point on which, I fear, many fail. In an age of hurry and bustle, few read their Bibles as much as they should. More books perhaps are read than ever, but less of the one Book which makes man wise unto salvation. Rome and neology could never have made such havoc in the Church in the last fifty years, if there had not been a most superficial knowledge of the Scriptures throughout the land. A Bible-reading laity is the strength of a Church. -J.C. Ryle, Warnings to the Churches
In June of 2014, I spoke for a women's gathering on the subject of being a Berean. Having studied this topic for quite some time, I had realized one of the most basic underlying problems in the church today is a lack of spiritual discernment––the skill of separating truth from error (see 1 Thessalonians 5:21). And since spiritual discernment is gained through the study of God's Word, the obvious solution, then, would be to encourage people to get in a daily habit of not just reading the Bible, but learning it. And not just learning it––taking it one step further by comparing everything to Scripture, just like the Bereans did in Acts 17:11.
Months earlier, I had stumbled across a Bible reading plan of taking a portion of the New Testament and reading it every day for 30 days. At first, I didn't think I could handle that. Reading the same thing every day for a month? But once I started in, I found that I loved it because I remembered so much more than when I would cruise through Scripture on the "read-the-Bible-in-a-year" plan. It meant that I was meditating on God's Word, not just reading it. Mr. Webster defines meditation as:
the act of meditating; close or continued thought; the turning or
revolving of a subject in the mind; serious contemplation; rumination;
So then, it would follow, that true Biblical meditation would be actively engaging our brains while ruminating on God's Word. (This sets it apart from Eastern meditation, which I will deal with in another post). Mr. Webster used the word "rumination," which gives a picture of a cow out in the field chewing and chewing and chewing and chewing. THIS is how we are to read God's Word. We are to CHEW on it. Yup. Just like a cow. 🐄🐄🐄
To take this illustration a step further, .....(and those of you who are squeamish can skip this graph--like my daughter, Jaiden), .....cows chew and chew, but then finally swallow their cud only to burp it up later and start chewing and chewing again. All grossness aside, if we ruminate on Scripture over and over, we will be able to recall passages much easier than if we just read a passage and moved on. You get the point. I know you do. OK, nasty illustration over.
In an attempt to encourage others to ruminate on Scripture and become Bereans, (which could then possibly help to solve the growing problem of the serious lack of discernment within the church), I started a Facebook group called The Ruminators in mid June of 2014––my teeny attempt to do something.
We started by reading 1 John every day for 30 days, then moved on to the gospel of John, chapters 1-7 for 30 days. Lots of people have joined me at various times throughout the 43 or so months, all in the comfort of their own home and on their own schedules. Currently I'm in Month 45, the middle section of Revelation. Excited to finish, but also excited to start again in February. If you're interested in trying this out, join our community by "liking" our page. Grab your Bible, some coffee ☕️, and start chewing like a cow. Moo.
UPDATE: Want to watch our promo video? Click here!