Hearing God through the Bible: Luther’s Four Stranded Garland

Hearing God Through the Bible Series

This is the second in a series on how to hear God through reading the Bible.  Most people are familiar with Bible study and Bible reading but these techniques are little less commonly taught.  Last month I introduced you to Lectio Divina, an ancient method of Bible reading that focuses on listening to the Holy Spirit.

Luther's Four Stranded Garland

Today we are looking at Martin Luther's Four Stranded Garland.  This is a method of prayer taught by Martin Luther in his book A Simple Way to Pray.  Picture a garland or ribbon with four strands, each of which represents a way of listening to the Scripture.  The four strands are:

  1. Instruction
  2. Thanksgiving
  3. Confession
  4. Guidance

The Steps

As with Lectio Divina, this is best done with a shorter passage.

  • Silence yourself and open yourself to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
  • Read the Scripture multiple times until a word, phrase or image stands out to you.  This is the Spirits message to you.
  • Seek to understand the message using the four strands.
    • Is God instructing you through this?
    • Does this lead you to thanksgiving?
    • Is God drawing you to confess sin through this?
    • Is God guiding you through this?
  • Dialog with God about the message.
  • Rest in God's presence.
  • Thank God for His word to you.

The key to Luther's Four Stranded Garland and Lectio Divina is to use a short passage and wait for the Spirit to highlight something.  It is less about analysis and more about listening.  The four strands are simply to help you understand the word, phrase or image more clearly.

Try it out and see what God wishes to say to you today.

This is part of a series of posts on Five Tools for hearing God through the Bible.

  1. Lectio Divina.
  2. Luther's Four Stranded Garland.
  3. Questions Jesus Asked.
  4. Placing Yourself in the Story.
  5. Dialoging with God.

by Jerry Wyrick, President of Worship Arts Conservatory

Posted in General Worship, Personal Worship and tagged , , .