Editor's note:

On Thursdays at Renovaré, we like to share ministry news or introduce you to a few of our favorite things and people. Jan Johnson is certainly one of the latter, and her new book, Meeting God in Scripture: A Hands-On Guide to Lectio Divina, is quickly becoming one of the former. Jan has long-time associations with Renovaré and is a beloved member of the faculty at the Renovaré Institute. Her passions for Christian spiritual formation, giving a voice to the voiceless, and living with purposeful intentionality have led her to author almost 20 books, as well as speak, teach, and offer consultation on these subjects.

We asked her if she would graciously supply us with a bit more information, and she offered the content you’ll find below. Enjoy!

—Renovaré Team

Are you eager to interact with God as you read Scripture?

I’ve been leading groups of people in meditating on Scripture for twenty years, helping them enter into the biblical text, notice what resonates with them and then reflect on that. People tell me they get a sense of hearing God speak to them in the group setting, but they struggle to do the same type of study and meditation on their own. The historical and cultural background I provide helps them, and I help them picture details of the scene for narrative passages. People seem to focus better when I ask them questions to guide them through the process of meditation.

This book does all those things, coming alongside to help people interact with the Holy Spirit as they meditate on Scripture passages.

Each session provides

  • an introductory space of silence to help you relax and refocus, and an optional question or exercise if you need more help in settling in;
  • the full text of a Scripture passage with explanations of unusual or important words;
  • meanings of some important words in Hebrew or Greek (including the reference numbers for Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionary),
  • questions to help you enter the text;
  • questions about what resonates with you in the text, discerning what God’s invitation might be (this is the lectio divina approach: read, reflect, respond, rest);
  • cultural or historical background as needed;
  • connections with other Scripture as needed;
  • cues to help you picture how the story unfolds in narrative passages (an Ignatian approach);
  • space to respond to God in prayer;
  • space to prayerfully contemplate the ideas of the passage and the person of God; and
  • an exercise to “try on” one of the main ideas of the passage later.

You may wonder whether all these helps might somehow interfere with or obscure what the Spirit is saying to you. I wondered the same thing myself, even though most people find that the helps clarify what the Spirit is saying. So I conferred with others who are well-practiced in leading Scripture meditation. They agreed that many Christians want to do this type of spiritual exercise but need some direction. One colleague urged me to write this book to provide “training wheels” to help people move into Scripture meditation.

Renovaré’s Director of Education, Carolyn Arends, says:

“Jan Johnson has a particular anointed genius for guiding people into interaction with the living God through his Word. Her winsome, accessible lectio divina exercises have been invaluable to the students at the Renovaré Institute for Christian Spiritual Formation, and it’s exciting to see her guides become more widely available. Meeting God in Scripture is a real gift for any of us who desire to spend more time with―and deepen our friendship with―the triune God.”

Renovaré’s Director of Community Life, Nathan Foster, adds:

“What a great help! Jan is truly a thoughtful and trusted guide. I love the way this book is laid out and the overarching direction it takes us in. Carefully working through this book will change your life.”

Eager to learn more?

Jan will also be offering an 8-week online course based upon her new book. For a taste of what lies in store, she is doing a free webinar TONIGHT (October 6 at 9 PM, Eastern): MeetingGodInScripture.com/workshop. The course begins October 11.

Please also visit Jan Johnson’s website. You may purchase Meeting God in Scripture from Amazon, Christian Book, or your local bookstore.

Starting Soon: The 2018-19 Renovaré Book Club

How do we read for transformation, not just information? Choose books that stir the soul and have an enduring quality. Then read with God and others at an unhurried pace, attentive to what the Holy Spirit wants to teach. The Renovaré Book Club is designed for transformative reading. It runs October 2018—May 2019.

Learn more >

From the Introduction to Meeting God in Scripture by Jan Johnson (Intervarsity Press, 2016).