What Is Scripture Meditation?
Meditation is first and foremost a living, growing relationship with our heavenly Father through the transforming power of His Word, not an intellectual study. This spiritual exercise involves the following components.
Read a Section of Scripture.
- When we read the living water of the Word, it has a cleansing effect upon the mind, will, and emotions. As Jesus pointed out, “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you” (John 15:3).
- Reading a larger section of Scripture can build personal faith, which is essential in order to please God. “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).
- Reading portions of Scripture also fulfills God’s instruction to believers: “Till I come, give attendance to reading…” (I Timothy 4:13).
Read With Your Spirit, Not Just Your Mind.
- Meditation is not an intellectual exercise. It is a Spirit-to-spirit interaction. “…For the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23–24).
- Meditation requires that we place the mind under the control of the spirit and God’s Spirit, because the Scriptures are spiritually discerned, as Paul explained. “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (I Corinthians 2:14).
- This also requires that we have the Holy Spirit in us by being born again and that we have not grieved Him or quenched His power. Sins must be confessed and forsaken, because “if I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psalm 66:18).
Mark the Verses That Stand Out to You.
- As you read, the Holy Spirit will cause certain verses to stand out to you with special meaning. Put a mark by these verses so that you can come back to them. As you reread familiar passages, different verses will probably stand out because you have had new experiences and are facing new needs in your life.
- After finishing your reading, select the most significant verse or passage so that you can use it for your meditation. If God directs, you can also select an entire chapter or book to use for your memorization and meditation.
Place the Passage In Your Heart.
- Meditation is an activity that takes place in the heart. Therefore, David prayed, “With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments” (Psalm 119:10). God states, “Let thine heart retain my words…” (Proverbs 4:4).
- We put God’s Word in our hearts by memorizing it word for word. God urged us to do this when He said, “Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge. For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them within thee” (Proverbs 22:17–18).
Use Scripture to Talk With God.
- In the process of memorizing the passage, quote it back to the Lord as an expression of your mind, will, and emotions. This is what David did in his meditation. “Unto thee, O LORD, do I lift up my soul. O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed” (Psalm 25:1–2).
- As we use Scripture to express ourselves to God we are engrafting it into our souls which fulfills the instruction of James 1:21: “…Receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.”
Focus On One Word at a Time.
- There is a vast world of truth and meaning in each word of Scripture, because “all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (II Timothy 3:16).
- By focusing on each word in the sequence of the verse, we expand our understanding of its meaning and increase our ability to think God’s thoughts after Him. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9).
- Where possible and appropriate, personalize the passage. This is done by using the words I, my, and me rather than he or they.
Share Your Results With Others.
- We are told to “exhort one another daily, while it is called To-day, lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13). There is no better way to exhort others than by sharing the overflow of our meditation.
- By telling what God is doing in our lives through meditation, we also deepen our own grasp of the verses and often see new applications of them.
- As we meditate on Scripture, God will bless us in significant ways. As we share these blessings with others, they should be motivated to follow our example and meditate on Scripture day and night.