I had the privilege of meeting with some of the elders of Wolf Creek Community Church on Sunday night. It was good to talk with them about the ministry of Word and prayer that elders are called to do. Part of our conversation focussed on reading Scripture. Elders are expected to be students of God’s Word. So what, then, is the best way to read Scripture? Well, there are many ways to read the Bible. For example, this year I’m reading it from cover-to-cover via a one-year Bible reading plan, as I seek to review the large story of redemption. But as I do this, I’m also seeking to read the Bible for spiritual formation, which is what I encouraged the elders to do. Thus my focus is on hearing God’s Word to me and on entering into the biblical story. In reading this way, I’m not as concerned about the facts, although I naturally pick up many details as I read slowly and attentively. In his book Life with God, Richard J. Foster casts a vision for reading the Bible for spiritual formation. He explains that with every verse and story of Scripture, God says, “I am with you.” He calls this the “Immanuel Principle” (Immanuel mean “God with us.”). I find this a helpful principle to apply, no matter your current pattern of reading Scripture. So whether you’re reading through the Bible in one year, or spending weeks meditating on a particular text of Scripture, every time you read or hear God’s Word, the Lord is communicating that he is with you. And then, Richard Foster explains, he asks this sobering question: Are you with me?