Devotionals 101

Devotionals can be a great way to stay connected to God, whether by yourself or with your family. Although there are many helpful devotionals available, today I’d like to focus on personal devotionals.

So, what is the purpose of devotionals?

First of all, devotionals should never take the place of your daily Bible reading, but they can prove to be good supplements. Quality devotionals take on the form of very brief expository sermons. They promote Scripture. Then, they’ll explain it, illustrate it, and apply it--all pointing to the big idea of the text.

I’d like to share three different examples of quality devotionals with you. All three of these devotionals are Bible-centered, dated for annual study, and can be completed within 5-10 minutes each day.

My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers - This devotional has been through several publications, and it has proved to be enriching to thousands of people over the years. In his devotional, Chambers has already done the hard work of studying biblical texts in context for you. He provides you with a brief focus verse or two, and then he offers his commentary, giving attention to both truth and application.  If you’ve never read My Utmost For His Highest, you’ll find his writing thought-provoking, leading you to deeper reflection on God and His Word.

The Songs of Jesus by Timothy Keller - Keller’s daily devotional will take you on a journey through all 150 Psalms in one year. In each day’s reading, Keller provides several verses from a Psalm, a brief commentary on each, a prayer of application. The practice of reading the Word, coupled with Scripture-focused prayers, make this devotional a great model for how to pray Scripture. Additionally, you’ll discover The Songs of Jesus to be full of theological wealth and concise, biblical applications.

New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp - One thing Paul Tripp is known for is his gospel-centered application of the Word. If that’s your primary goal, this devotional will not disappoint you. Tripp begins each day’s reading with central statement or summarizing idea. Then, he explains the idea with a mix of commentary and Scripture. He also provides biblical texts for further study at the bottom of each page. New Morning Mercies provides just that, new mercies--through the truths of the Gospel--for each new day.

Remember, devotionals can be good supplements, but they are not God’s Word; therefore, they cannot take the place of reading, studying, and memorizing God’s Word in your life.