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Starting out with Lectio Divina....

In some ways Lectio Divina draws on the Jewish way of reading the Haggadah (which means telling). This scripture is read during Passover recounting the Exodus story. Haggadah includes reading the physical text, but also the idea of telling and retelling a story.

“You know that you are to get into the scriptures, but it is even more important that you allow the scriptures to get into you. In this sense, lectio is not a spectator sport.”

Tony Campolo

The latin words literally mean: ‘Divine Reading’ and involves a series of reading, contemplating, reflecting and praying that uses your imagination. In fact it uses your heart, mind, spirit and body.

Scripture reading, meditation and prayer have been core Christian practices since the 3rd century. While the process of Lectio Divina was established as a monastic practice in the 6th Century, formalised in the 12th Century and had a revival in the 20th Century.

“To the extent the imaginative story in my mind is one where I am drinking in the love of God, I no longer need to get it from anything else. The Bible calls this freedom.”
– Greg Boyd

So for example, given Jesus' statement in John chapter 14 and verse 27, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you", a mind only approach might analyse it, focusing on the reason for the statement during the Last Supper,  the biblical context, Jesus’ use of the word ‘Peace’, what that might mean and how it relates to the Old Testament, etc.

In Lectio Divina, the hearer enters the scene where this is spoken, shares the peace of Christ, feels it and sits in contemplation of it, rather than "dissecting" it. [1]  

I've heard of Lectio Divina but I'm not sure about it?

Some people ask: "Is it Scriptural?

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Since we’re encouraged to meditate on  God’s Word day and night, and Lectio Divina is one practice of biblical meditation, the answer is Yes! 

(Check out both Psalm 1, verse1, and 119, verse 97; plus Joshua chapter 1, verse 8)

There are a number of different teachers of Lectio Divina and while at the core it is the same, there will be minor differences. For example some teach to ask ‘What is God asking you to do?”

We ask, what is God saying to you, because I our experience, God is not always asking something of me, or something for me to ‘do’. So we don’t want to pre-empt what God wants to say to the participant. Sometimes God says other things like, ‘I love you’ or I trust you’.

Below are some graphics from different Lectio Divina guides, including one to help you journal your experience  Try different ways if you want, or stick with the first one that connects for you. God is bigger than all of us and any process. Just enjoy ‘bathing’ in the presence of the Great I am[2].

[1] Tonya Stanfield, “Praying in your body’s first language,” Centre for Christian Formation,

[2] From Max and Bronwyn Greive at Fosterton Retreat

We hope this helps you start. If you want to experience Lectio Divina, be lead through it or know more, contact us. You can come to the next retreat focused on Lectio Divina OR plan a personal retreat for yourself and/or a group of friends.

Bronwyn & Max

Some other Resources:

There are some great resources others have put together:

"Lectio Divina: A Beginner’s Guide," by Elizabeth Manneh ,

Pray as You Go App: Imaginative Contemplative Exercises

Lectio Divina, video by Becky Eldredge,  

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