Here’s a quick tip if you’re interested in really digging into God’s Word and drawing as much out as you can: read through a commentary on a book of the Bible!
I know, commentaries are really huge and look like they would take forever to get through. It’s something of a long-term project, I agree. But commentaries aren’t just for scholars! A high-quality, accessible commentary will help you explore the depths of God’s Word and gain insights that would never be possible otherwise. Think of it as though you got to sit down in a room with scholar who has been studying the book for years, and he offered to let you pick his brains about the book. I find that my love for the Lord grows far more from this kind of reading than it does from the bite-sized “daily devotional” fare that’s usually recommended to Christians.
Let me give you a sample from James Edwards’ commentary on Mark, which I have been reading as I work my way through this gospel account. It doesn’t take too long to read Edwards’ commentary on one or two of Mark’s stories. Here is an excerpt from his comments on Mark 8:29–30, which I’ll be arriving at next week.
At some point the colleagues of Jesus—and everyone who has heard his name—must look deep within Jesus and deep within themselves and risk a decision that will entail either a commitment to or a severance from the identity and mission of this Jesus.…
If they are to continue “on the way” with him, they cannot remain spectators and bystanders but must themselves become participators. The way to Jerusalem involves the way of suffering, and for the disciples to participate in that way requires a fellowship based on faith. “‘Who do you say I am?'” This is the central question of Mark’s Gospel—and of every presentation of the gospel. The essential meaning of faith is contained in the answer given. (pp. 248–249)