Meditating on the Bible

In some Christian circles, the word meditate (as well as variations of the word) is often greeted with both misunderstanding and fear. That is often because the practice of meditation is associated with Eastern and other religions, many of whose practices are in conflict with sound Biblical teaching.

However, the Bible does teach the practice of meditation, even using that specific word in several places. For example, God told Joshua, the man who would take up the mantle of leadership following the death of Moses, “Study this Book of the Law continually. Meditate on it day and night so you may be sure to obey all that is written in it. Only then will you succeed” (Joshua 1:8).

Also, the book of Psalms, a collection of prayers and songs of praise, starts out with these words: “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers” (Psalm 1:1–3).

When you meditate on the Bible, it';s a good idea to do it at a time when you don';t have to attend to any other business, particularly the kind that requires your full attention (for example, driving or working with heavy machinery). Meditation requires that you give all of yourself to pondering and dwelling in what you read.

That is just one of many references to the Biblical practice of meditation in the Psalms alone that tells us very clearly and strongly that this is a practice God wants us to take part in — even daily. In fact, the psalmist makes it very clear that there is great spiritual blessing in meditating on God';s law.

But what exactly does it mean to meditate on the Word of God? If you were to look up the word meditate in your dictionary, you';d find that it means simply to reflect deeply upon something or to ponder it. It means to spend time clearing your mind of everything but what you are thinking about and to think about it from every possible angle. It means asking God to show you personally what He wants you to comprehend.

For example, you can bring to your mind a particular verse or passage, pray over it, and ask yourself the following questions (and others you may think of) about it:

  • What was God saying to His people when this was written?

  • What is He saying to Christians in general through it right now?

  • What is He saying to me personally today?

  • What kind of changes should I make in response to what this is saying to me?

  • How can I personally and practically apply the message in this Scripture right now?

  • When you take this approach to the Bible, you will likely find something wonderful happening in your own mind and spirit. You may find that you see and understand things about God and His Word more clearly and from a new angle. You may hear what is to you a new message coming from verses and passages — even some you may have read or memorized before.

    When is the best time and where is the best place to meditate?

    You don';t have to get under a tree in the middle of a field, cross your legs, and mumble chants to meditate. You can do it just about anywhere you can get alone, clear your mind, and contemplate what God is saying through a certain passage.

    This is why prayer is such an important part of Biblical meditation. When you bring your thoughts and contemplations to God and talk to Him about them, He very often will speak back to you, giving you new thoughts and insights. When that happens, you will have “heard” the voice of God.

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