It is of utmost importance to realize that Scripture argues. It doesn’t just give pearls on a string that we can take away individually and reflect upon. It reasons with us, argues a point, tries to persuade us of particular realities and toward certain ways of living. And it is of great benefit for us to grasp those arguments, see how they work, trace them from beginning to end, and discover the deep power in them for life-change.
Consider the value of and difference between runners’ energy-gel packets and five-course meals. An eating illustration seems particularly appropriate given the command to the prophets to “eat” the book of God’s word in Ezekiel 3:1 and Revelation 10:9 (also Deuteronomy 8:3; Jeremiah 15:16).
One way to “ingest” and benefit from Scripture is like eating the energy-gel packets that give a jolt of carbs when a runner is flagging in energy. Sometimes at a specific and immediate moment, we need a pointed and direct word from God to convict us, or encourage us, or inspire us, or pick us up from the ground. When I find a complaint welling up in my heart and arising to my lips, it does me good to recall Paul’s word, “Do all things without grumbling or disputing” (Philippians 2:14). This is one of the reasons Scripture memory is so important — the commands and promises of God won’t jump out at us in the moment of need and crisis if they’re not there already, committed to our minds and hearts.