A Conversation with Davis Burton
Can you share some of your first experiences of reading scripture and connecting with God in this way?
I have been reading Scripture my whole life, but it began to have significance in connecting with God when I started sharing it with others. Preparing for devos and sermons opened my eyes to the way God is present throughout Scripture as a whole, and helped me to see connections in the messages found in each book. Showing others how God’s Word is directly relevant to their lives has helped me to realize how applicable it is to my own.
What drew you to connect with God in this way, and what continues to do so?
Initially, I was drawn to Scripture because I wanted to become familiar with the content and have a source of wisdom to draw from when needed. Recently, I have been drawn to Scripture because God has used it to speak directly to what is happening in my life. I can’t count the number of times I’ve opened up my Bible and the words I read were exactly what I needed in that moment. I see that God is actively guiding me to the words he wants me to hear each day.
Who has been influential in your journey of encountering God through scripture?
My mother has been the largest influence on the way I read Scripture, both through her lifestyle and her encouragement for me. She reads her Bible every morning and has Scriptures written on index cards, in home decor, and even in the laundry room. She will ask me about what I’m reading in Scripture, and early in my life she would suggest reading plans for me, like reading a Psalm each day.
Share some different/creative ways you have learned about and/or experienced while encountering God through scripture.
I have a prayer book that I have often used which walks through the different types of prayers (adoration, thanksgiving, etc.) each day, and it uses Scriptures as the prayers. This way of reading the Word is very unique because it gives a personal, directly applicable feel and an opportunity for dialogue: letting God speak into my life through the Scriptures and then using those words to talk back to Him.
How has preaching impacted the ways in which you encounter God through scripture?
Learning how to preach has given me a whole new perspective on Scripture. The more I study the text and realize how intricately connected it is and the messages that can be drawn from even a single word, the more I am utterly convinced that God is directly behind it all. There is such a level of complexity behind even the most seemingly mundane passages that God manages to speak to me in a different way each time I study the Word.
How are you becoming a person who, “practices what you preach?”
Everyone has areas they’re good at and areas they struggle with, and it’s no different for me; I feel that being in the Word has helped me to find my weaknesses and understand how to better put my faith into practice. I know that I still have a long way to go.
Can you provide a word of hope/encouragement to those thinking about encountering God through scripture or those who might be considering giving up on scripture?
Encounters with God can come in many ways, but Scripture is perhaps the most powerful because it is such a direct source. There is no doubt that the words of guidance are from God Himself, and it can be a huge source of confidence that God is speaking to whatever situation is at hand. I’ve definitely had times where I felt I wasn’t getting much out of what I was reading. Sometimes it helps to move to a different section of Scripture for a fresh start, but usually, prayer and an attitude of receptiveness will allow me to discover some relevant message in the text I’m reading, even if it’s the smallest bit of insight. The most important part, though, about encountering God through Scripture is that it needs to be more than reading: it must inspire action.