When I was growing up, the primary source of daily biblical wisdom in our house came from a small paperback devotional called The Daily Bread. This was my dad’s main biblical input, other than a weekly sermon, until later in life. He wouldn’t miss a day reading it, as it was stored in a strategic place. At least it was something. But at best, it was only a snack.
I am not a fan of devotional books. To me, there’s no substitute for the intentional personal study of the word of God every day. I’ve heard more than once from church leaders to get yourself a particular popular book and go through it during your quiet time.
Also unfortunate are regular weekly Bible studies using books written about the Bible as study material. Faithful teachers read the book to teach someone else’s thoughts on what the word says, and even use the writer’s questions.
This may be fine and good programmatically, but is this approach nothing more than consuming only light hors-d’oeuvres? We get nowhere near a deep walk with God until we start chewing on solid food ourselves. (Hebrews 5:14)
Jeremiah said it like this in 15:16:
Your words were found and I ate them, and Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart.
First, the word must be found, and we won’t find it in a book about THE BOOK! It’s exciting to hear your disciple report he’s found something nutritional in a passage. It’s even more gratifying to see him eat it–apply it–and grow by it.
This is my objective every morning, to find something to eat. Invariably it becomes my daily bread and the joy and delight of my heart!
Other key verses on the subject: Job 23:12, Psalm 119:103, Ezekiel 3:3.