The joy of meditating on God’s Word
Many people can tell you what’s on the menus at McDonald’s or Starbucks better than they can recite 20 Bible verses. Yet it is those who have made it a practice of meditating on God’s Word that have the joy, hope and peace that this world is so hungry for.
Many things scream for our time and attention; family, work, neighbours, social groups, church activities and the list goes on. It would be a great shame to allow these demands to snatch time away from meditating on God’s Word. The Bible provides us with the wisdom we need to thrive as individuals created in God’s image. God is the source of life, so naturally, He sets the rules for success in life.
- It is eternal and unchanging | Luke 16:1 ESV But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one dot of the Law to become void.
- Leads to true prosperity | Joshua 1:8 ESV 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.
- Gives us clear directions | Psalm 119:105 ESV Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
- Reveals God’s intentions | Isaiah 55:11 ESV … so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
- Equips us for good works | 2 Tim 3:16-17 ESV All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
- Keeps us from sinning | Psalm 119:10-11 ESV With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
- Shows us how to pray | John 15:7 ESV If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
- Gives us deeper understanding | 2 Timothy 2:7 ESV Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.
- Frees us from lies | John 8:32 ESV And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
- Shows us how to worship Him | John 4:24 ESV God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Test everything against God’s Word
Just as we have meals every day, meditating on God’s Word nourishes our souls. Without it, we will be weak, malnourished Christians who are unable to distinguish God’s truths from worldly lies and deceptions.
Ephesians 4:14 NIV Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.
More critically, the Bible warns us that there will be many false teachers and fake prophets in churches who openly teach heresies. If we don’t have God’s Word in our hearts, how do we hope to be able to discern false and blasphemous teachings from God’s Truths?
2 John 9-11 ESV Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.
2 Peter 2:2-3 ESV And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.
How to meditate on God’s Words
Meditating on God’s Word takes conscious mental discipline. It is nothing like the meditation that this world teaches, which is new age based. It is not about mindlessly reciting, chanting or singing words from the Bible. When we meditate on God’s Word, we are engaging with the Holy Spirit to reveal God’s truths to us.
1 Corinthians 2:13 ESV And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.
Here are some ideas on how to spend time on God’s Word.
1. Make a daily or weekly “date with God”
We probably need to conscientiously write in a regular time slot into our schedules to meditate on His Word. Otherwise, we may let time slip away and busy ourselves with less important things.
2. Prepare our minds, hearts and souls for our date with God
Just as we prepare our appearance for a date with someone, it’s good to freshen up our spirits for our date with God. We can remove distractions, put our mobile phones away, clear our minds and calm our spirits down until we are still.
Psalm 46:10 ESV “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
3. Start by saying hello to God
Sit quietly and be ready to receive (with our heart, not our ears) what the Holy Spirit may be communicating to us. Sometimes, He will guide us to the book in the Bible to meditate on.
4. Remember that the Bible refers to spiritual things
Don’t read the Bible too literally. God will reveal His Word to us, as we learn to read with our spirit, not just our eyes. We can try re-reading the same passages at a separate time and discover “new things”.
1 Corinthians 2:10 ESV … these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.
5. Use a hard copy Bible
Many people use mobile phones to read the Bible and that’s good when we are on the go. A hard copy Bible is more effective if we want to really meditate on God’s Word and jot down some notes.
6. Understand the context of the book
To really understand the essence of what is being communicated by the authors of the Bible, we need to understand their mindset and context. This includes:
- Where: Where was it written, where was it read, where did the events happened …
- Who: Who are the target readers, who wrote it, who was mentioned …
- What: What was the purpose, what was the trigger for writing, what is the ultimate intent …
- When: When was it written, when in the writer’s life was it written, when was the historical period, when after or before Jesus’s resurrection was it written …
- Why: Why was it written, why was it included in the Bible …
This is where we should have the right resources on hand to dive into some of these areas. These may include a hard copy Application Bible, as well as references for the historical period and geography. We should take note to be careful with the sources of information we refer to, as there can be some misleading information and false teachers. We should always go back to the Bible as it is the one true source of truth.
7. Read in slow motion
Read one sentence at a time and pause to consider what it’s about. For instance, we can opt to listen to an audio Bible and play the same passage two to four times, in order to let the messages really sink in.
Pay attention to what is being said (specific words / teachings / repetition / emphasis that stand out). Use a pen and highlight them on a hard copy Bible. If there is a theme or topic that is also covered elsewhere in the Bible, we can compare and contrast with those too.
8. Copy and write down the verses
A great way to meditate on God’s Word is to copy them down word for word in a journal and pause between verses to think about what we just wrote down. This is a fantastic way to slow down and focus. We find that we gain new insights just by doing this.
9. Look for personal applications
The ultimate aim of reading the Bible is so we can learn to be more and more like Christ. Applying what we learn is perhaps the most important part of meditating on the Word. It is also why getting a correct understanding of what is being communicated in the Bible is so important. By reading the Bible out of context, Christians have at times, misunderstood what is being taught and used wrong applications.
James 1:22 ESV Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
10. Exercise our spirit, listen and ask God
Remember saying hello to God earlier? Now’s a good time to ask God:
- “Father in heaven, how does this passage relate to me?”
- “What do I need to learn?”
- “How can I apply what I have learnt and stay accountable for keeping to what I have learnt?”
When we humbly seek God, the Holy Spirit will reveal matters of our hearts and convict us of things that we need to deal with.
John 16:8 ESV And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:
The Word of God is living and active. Even if we don’t realise it at that time, whatever we listen to or read in the Bible will sink deep into our spirits and transform us. Praise God we have the greatest source of wisdom so we are able to prosper as children of God Almighty.
Hebrews 4:12 ESV For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
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