We Christians often talk about Scripture reading. In fact, many of you probably are engaged in some type of Bible reading plan. And of course Bible reading is absolutely vital to the Christian life, and so is Scripture memory and Bible study. But perhaps the one Bible discipline that we don’t mention as often, and which is probably just as important as the others, is Bible meditation.
Now, when I say “meditation,” I am not talking about Eastern meditation where the focus is on emptying our minds. Instead, I’m talking about God’s idea of meditation, which is filling our minds with His Word and His truth. Psalm 1:1-3 says, “Blessed is the man…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 that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.”
As Joshua begins to lead the Israelites after Moses’ death, God commands Joshua, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success” (Joshua 1:8).
Both of these Scripture passages declare that we will be prosperous if we meditate on God’s Word. Now, of course, that is describing a spiritual prosperity, not a financial or material prosperity.
But oftentimes, it is Scripture meditation that is missing in our Bible study. Meditation, which is allowing God’s Word to saturate our thoughts and conversation, is really the art and science of “chewing” on God’s Word throughout the day. But, if we neglect this vital part of the transformation process, the intake of God’s Word can leave us cold, and we might not experience the success or spiritual prosperity God intends for us. As Thomas Watson said, “The reason we come away so cold from reading the word is, because we do not warm ourselves at the fire of meditation.” So meditation is the fire that warms us to God’s truth, and is the spark that brings true, dynamic spiritual growth and life change. Let’s be honest…it’s too easy to read a Bible passage, check it off of our “to do” list, and, yet, never be moved by it. The issue is that we’ve read it, but we haven’t allowed it to read us. And that’s what meditation does…it’s allowing the Bible to “marinate” in our minds throughout the day. It’s thinking about the passage you’ve read, and thinking several times throughout the day (both of the Bible passages I mentioned above tell us to meditate on God’s Word day and night) about the meaning, implications and application of the Bible. In 1 Thessalonians 5, the Apostle Paul tell us to “pray without ceasing,” which is keeping the lines of communication with God open throughout the day. Meditation is the Bible version of that concept. It is continually thinking through a passage throughout the day, and allow it to teach you and transform you. So, let me mention a few tips of how we can practice the discipline of Bible meditation:
Read a Bible passage in the morning
Remind yourself that when you’ve read the passage, you’re not finished with it. In fact, you’ve really just begun.
Rethink of the passage several times throughout the day. Ask yourself: what does it say? What does it mean? And what does it mean to me?
Re-read the passage throughout the day if you have an opportunity
Rewrite the passage or scriptural principle in your own words
Think of the key words found in the passage. Or read it from the author’s perspective. Or ask God what He might be wanting to teach you through the particular passage.
Pray through the passage, and how you might understand and apply it to your life
Apply the passage to your practical life
If you will practice the discipline of meditating on God’s Word throughout your day you will be amazed at how the Word of God will come alive to you. You will discover truths you have never discovered. May God bless you as you meditate on His Word.