Dwelling in the Word

Charles Kiser —  August 13, 2015 — Leave a comment


Dwelling in the Word is a spiritual practice of taking a text of Scripture and meditating on it over an extended period of time. Neil Cole observes that many Christians are “educated beyond obedience”. They know a lot about the Bible, but they actually practice a small percentage of what they know. Dwelling in the Word helps believers to simmer and stew and marinate in one section of Scripture in order to work out its implications in their lives — so that they begin to intentionally practice what they sense God saying in the text.

This fall Storyline is going to dwell in Philippians 2:1-11:

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

This passage envisions the Christian ethic of love in the context of Christian community – the singular defining characteristic of God, Jesus and God’s people. Jesus says, “I give you a new command: love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35). Paul says that love is “the most excellent way” (1 Corinthians 12:31) and that “now faith, hope and love remain; and the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13).

We’re going to engage Philippians 2:1-11 on a variety of levels in the hope that it will sink into our hearts and being.  Perhaps you’d like to join us in some of these practices below as you’re able!

  • Participating in conversations based on this text in our fall worship gatherings
  • Reading the text together in our worship gatherings
  • Meditating on this text every week in our missional communities
  • Sharing with our formation group how this passage is calling us to grow and change
  • Memorizing part/all of this section of Scripture with our family at breakfast or dinnertime
  • Dwelling on it in our daily walk with God
  • Listening to God through the text in other creative ways we discover

What’s a meaningful experience you’ve had with Scripture recently?

Charles Kiser


I’m a pastor, missionary, and contextual theologian in Dallas, Texas. I’m committed to equipping and coaching Christians to start fresh expressions of Christian community in Dallas County — communities of hospitality, inclusion, justice, and healing.

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