Let me tell you what my sophomore in high school has not been doing during the shelter in place – honors chemistry. Sorry, Mr. Chemistry Teacher. Somehow that is not getting to the top of Alex’s to-do list. But I will tell you what he has been doing – basketball. Lots and lots of basketball.

Alex works out in the morning. He borrowed some adjustable-weight dumbbells from his grandfather and has rigged up a calf-raiser using leftover bricks from a landscape project. He does push-ups, planks, and is trying to figure out how to install a pull-up bar in his bedroom.

Alex practices in the afternoon. He has access to a vacant church gym and goes every day to run drills and work on his 3-point shot. He spends a couple of hours a day in the gym and has put up over 2,000 shots in the time school has been canceled.

Alex studies in the evening. He keeps an impressive spreadsheet from which he gathers his stats and considers how to make adjustments to improve. He reads books on developing better skills on and off the court.

Alex wants to get better at basketball before summer workouts (hopefully) start up again in a few weeks, and he meditates on basketball day and night. Assuming he continues on this path, he’s not going to be much better at chemistry when life returns to normal. But he will undoubtedly be better at basketball.

The opening Psalm tells us that blessed is the one who meditates on God’s law day and night. The word meditate is translated from the Hebrew word hagah. Hagah has a deeper meaning than merely thinking about or pondering something. It can also be translated as growl. Not an angry growl, but the kind of purr-growl that a lion makes when she is digging into the meal she has captured. As she devours the flesh, she makes a sound of satisfaction and celebration. She hagahs.

How intentional are we about digging into scripture? Do we seek it, hunt it, and devour it? Just as Alex isn’t going to see much improvement in his basketball game by watching NBA players score points, neither are we going to be blessed with a more profound knowledge of God by only absorbing what other people say. Bible teachers can help us grow, but we must fight the temptation to learn passively. A mature Christian knows Jesus personally by interacting with Him through the Word. The more we habitually meditate on who He is, the more of God’s promises we will realize in our lives.

I don’t approach my Bible study like a hungry lion every day, but when I do, it never fails to satisfy. I believe God desires to connect with every single one of us through His word. I need to be hungry. I need to continually recognize my craving for Spiritual truth held in the words of scripture. I need to hunt it down. And when I dig into it, I need to hagah. Because the truth is this – I can’t fully live without its nourishment.


This post is chapter 5/6 on Spiritual Habits (Bible Study)