“But there is such a thing as rising early for the love of God”

“For Christians the beginning of the day should not be burdened and oppressed with besetting concerns for the day’s work. At the threshold of the new day stands the Lord who made it. All the darkness and distraction of the dreams of night retreat before the clear light of Jesus Christ and his wakening Word. All unrest, all impurity, all care and anxiety flee before him. Therefore, at the beginning of the day let all distraction and empty talk be silenced and let the first thought and the first word belong to him to whom our whole life belongs. “Awake thou that sleepest and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light” (Eph. 5:14)

With remarkable frequency the Scriptures remind us that the men of God rose early to seek God and carry out His commands, as did Abraham, Jacob, Moses and Joshua (cf. Gen. 19:27, 22:3; Ex. 8:16, 9:13, 24:4; Josh. 3:1, 6:12, etc.). The Gospel, which never speaks a superfluous word, says of Jesus himself: “And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed” (Mark 1:35). Some rise early because of restlessness and worry; the Scriptures call this unprofitable: “It is vain for you to rise up early … to eat the bread of sorrows” (Ps. 127:2). But there is such a thing as rising early for the love of God. This was the practice of the men of the Bible … every common devotion should include the word of Scripture, the hymns of the Church, and the prayer of fellowship.”

-Dietrich Bonhoeffer Life Together – The Classic Exploration of Christian Community

“…brief verses cannot and should not take the place of reading the Scripture as a whole”

“But there can be equally little doubt that brief verses cannot and should not take the place of reading the Scripture as a whole. The verse for the day is still not the Holy Scripture which will remain throughout all time until the Last Day. Holy Scripture is more than a watchword. It is also more than “light for today”. It is God’s revealed Word for all men, for all times. Holy Scripture does not consist of individual passages; it is a unit and is intended to be used as such.

As a whole the Scriptures are God’s revealing Word. Only in the infiniteness of its inner relationships, in the connection of Old and New Testaments, of promise and fulfillment, sacrifice and law, law and gospel, cross and resurrection, faith and obedience, having and hoping, will the full witness to Jesus Christ the Lord be perceived. This is why common devotions will include, besides the prayer of the psalms, a longer reading from the Old and the New Testament.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Christian Community