Meditating on God’s Word is an ancient practice that hasn’t lost its relevance. Pondering Bible verses is still important because it can significantly increase our understanding of God’s Word, give us godly wisdom, and strengthen our relationship with God and others.
The good news is that reflecting on the Bible isn’t only something for pastors, preachers, those in ministry, or theologians. No. Everyone can meditate on the Bible. We don’t need formal training to meditate on God’s Word. It can simply be part of our everyday life and our daily relationship with God.
But what is meditating on the Bible? And is meditation allowed in the Bible?
What does the Bible mean by meditating on the Word of God?
Meditating on the Word of God is focusing and thinking deeply about it to grow spiritually and gain an understanding of His word by reflecting. Meditating is repetitiously reading one verse or a portion of a verse: subsequently thinking about it, memorizing it, studying it, comparing it, whispering it in our heads, saying it aloud, writing it down, etc.
We could do any of these, but preferably all of them. There is no fixed procedure (though it’s handy to follow a daily pattern).
When we meditate on the Bible, we read some verses and turn them round and round in our spirits and minds. We study them, compare them, drink them in, let our feelings be affected by them, and digest them with our whole being.’
Are Christians allowed to meditate?
The simple answer to this question is, “yes”. Meditation is mentioned in the Bible, and Christians are allowed to meditate on God and His Word. What makes it acceptable is the focus of our meditation: God and His Word. Not meditating on things of the world, on idols, or to empty our minds.
Meditating on God’s Word is filling our minds with God’s Word and God’s thoughts, to replace our own thoughts. Reflecting on the Scriptures enables a deeper communion with God. And these are certainly allowed.
Why should we meditate on the Bible?
By meditating on God’s Word, we grow in understanding of the Word and increase our ability to apply it in our lives. Meditation drives away our fears and doubts and the word of God enables us to prosper.
We can find one of the greatest encouragements to meditate in Joshua 1, verses 8 to 9: “Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (NLT). These verses confirm what meditating is and what the positive results are. It shows that meditating is not just reading, but obeying and practicing what we read as well.
When the Bible mentions meditation, it often mentions obedience in the next breath. This refers to one of the main purposes of reflecting on God’s word: to let our actions be changed by it.
Bible verses about meditation
The Bible is full of references to meditating on God’s Word. There are direct mentions of meditating (23 times in total) and descriptive statements. The references include meditating on God Himself, on His Word, and on His works (His doings).
Bible verses about meditating on God Himself
How do I meditate on God, you may ask? When we meditate on God Himself, we think about who He is, His awesome presence, and the splendor of His being. We focus on His character.
The more we think about God, the closer we will get to Him. It works the same as in a normal relationship. If we never think about someone, chances are we hardly connect to that person or even forget about them at all. However, when our focus is on that person and how that person really is, we will get to know him or her better and this enhances our relationship with that person.
“O God, we meditate on your unfailing love as we worship in your Temple.”Psalm 48:9 (NLT)
“I lie awake thinking of you, meditating on you through the night.”Psalm 63:6 (NLT)
Bible verses about meditating on God’s Word
God wants us to meditate on His Word, so we will learn how to obey Him. As we obey Him, He will bless us with success because we follow His will for our lives.
“Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.”Joshua 1:8 (NLT)
Most of the Bible verses that contain the word meditate are in the Psalms. Much of Psalm 119 shows us to meditate on God’s Word: His decrees and regulations. Pondering on these gives us peace and comfort.
“I will meditate on Your precepts, and contemplate Your ways. I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word.”Psalm 119:15-16 (NKJV)
“Help me understand the meaning of your commandments, and I will meditate on your wonderful deeds.”Psalm 119:27 (NLT)
“I meditate on your age-old regulations; O Lord, they comfort me.”Psalm 119:52 NLT
Bible verses about meditating on God’s doings
Meditating on His wonderful works will instill awe in us, awe for God’s awesome power, for His marvelous works, and for His dealings with us humans. Again, many Bible verses referring to meditating on His works can be found in the Psalms.
“I will also meditate on all Your work, and talk of Your deeds.”Psalm 77:12 (NKJV)
“How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. “Psalm 111:2 (NLT)
“I remember the days of old. I ponder all your great works and think about what you have done.”Psalm 143:5 (NLT)
“I will meditate on your majestic, glorious splendor and your wonderful miracles.”Psalm 145:5 (NLT)
What did Jesus say about meditation?
Jesus Himself is the Word of God (John 1:1,14). He lived the example for us to copy His life. He did not use a Bible as we do. However, He used the scriptures and pointed often to things written in them.
Jesus did most likely not literally mention the word meditate (we can’t say for sure, because we weren’t present with Him in the flesh). However, we know that He focused fully on God, day and night. So, we can say that He meditated on God.
Jesus placed much value on the Word of God and even said we can live by it. In order to live by God’s Word, we should know it first. A good way to thoroughly get to know the Word, is by meditating on it.
“But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”Matthew 4:4 (NLT)
And Jesus said we should get to know God more than anything else. One of the ways to do that is by meditating on God’s character, His Word, and His deeds. So, again, we can say Jesus encourages meditation.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”Matthew 6:33 (NKJV)
We meditate with our minds and hearts. Jesus understood the important role our minds play in knowing and loving God. He stressed this in what He called ‘the first and greatest commandment’. When we meditate on God, we love Him with our minds.
‘Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.”’Matthew 22:37 (NLT)
How to meditate on the word of God for beginners
Meditating on God, His Word, and His works can be done at any time of the day and at any location. We don’t have to lock ourselves up, because we can ponder while doing our chores, while driving, in a waiting room, in the shower, during lunch break, while exercising, etc.
We can put time aside just for the purpose of meditation, or we can do it while we are busy with other things (not with talking or when we need to pay attention to other things). However, we will get the best results when we can do it with no distractions.
It is possible to do it throughout the day, or we can set a specific time frame apart for it daily. For example, in the morning, before we start anything else, lays a good basis for our day.
We can meditate for only a few minutes per day and receive extraordinary benefits for our mental, emotional, and spiritual health.
Step One: Pick a scripture
We can use any verse and any version of Scripture we like. We may also write the verse and our thoughts about it in a notebook for further reflection or journalize it. Another option is to use a devotional. By using a devotional, you don’t have to select the verse by yourself.
Step Two: Ponder the Bible verse
Repeat the selected verse (or verses) several times in your mind; whisper it or speak it aloud. Think deeply about it and ask yourself questions. “How does it relate to me?” “What does this verse tell me about God?” “What does this verse tell me about living the Christian life?” “How can I apply this scripture?” Etc.
“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says.”James 1:22 (NLT)
Step Three: Ask the Holy Spirit for clarification
Ask the Holy Spirit to explain the verse to you and to make it clear how it applies to your specific situation. The Holy Spirit will give a fresh understanding of God’s Word. God has promised that The Holy Spirit would assist us and teach us. He will also help us to apply it in our lives.
“But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.”John 14:26 (NLT)
Step Four: Pray about the scripture
We can pray about the scripture, and we can ‘pray-the-scripture’. When we pray God’s Word, we are speaking His language. It means talking to Him using His words. There is no right or wrong way to pray God’s Word back to Him. We can pray what is in our hearts and on our minds. God is interested in us personally, not in whether we follow a certain prayer pattern.
Benefits of meditating on the Word of God
Meditating is a perfect way to get to know God more, to build an intimate relationship with Him. Our understanding of His Word increases and so does our love for Him. This empowers our ability to apply the Word to our daily lives. In return, God will drive away our fears and doubts and will prosper us.
When we love the Word of God and meditate on the scriptures in the Bible, God will honor His Word and bless us.
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.”Psalm 1:1-3 (NKJV)
Lord, we stand in awe of who You are and everything You created. We praise Your Holy Name. Teach us, Lord, to recognize You in everything we see and do. Let us feel Your presence on a daily basis.
Father, we thank You for the gift of Your Word. Thank you for revealing Yourself through scriptures and speaking to our hearts through the written Word.
Holy Spirit, help us to understand the scriptures. Show us how to read and apply them. Speak to us through every Bible verse we read and ponder in our minds. Bless us while we go.
Thank You, Lord. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
© 2022; Christel Owoo
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