A Top 100 Most-Asked Question About the Bible for the New Year
How does a person meditate on God’s Word?
Meditation is a combination of reviewing, repeating, reflecting, thinking, analyzing, feeling, and even enjoying. It is a physical, intellectual, and emotional activity; it involves our whole being.
In some ways, meditation doesn’t easily fit into Western culture. We value action and busyness more than stopping and considering. The author of Psalm 119:15 was from another time and culture, one with a tradition that valued meditation. As a result, meditation came more naturally for him and others with his Near Eastern background. We will have to overcome some cultural obstacles if we want to learn to meditate.
There are many ways to meditate on God’s Word. Some possibilities include: (1) Take time to read a verse or passage over and over. (2) Begin to memorize all or part of it. (3) Listen — quiet your heart to allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you through God’s Word. (4) Consider how it fits with the rest of the Bible and life in general. (5) Become emotionally involved. Allow yourself to feel what God feels, his desires expressed through his words. (6) Move from meditation to application. Connect your thoughts to action. Consider how the truth and power of the Word of God should affect your behavior.
Isn’t meditation used by other religions?
Many religions practice meditation. Some Christians may wonder if it is risky to do what they do. Not necessarily. Meditation is merely a tool — neither good nor bad in itself. A tool is a means to an end that becomes bad only when it’s used in the wrong way.
Simply put, meditation is focused, repetitive thinking. When people meditate, they concentrate on a single subject, blocking out distractions. So how can focused thinking be bad or good? In the same way worship can be good (if it’s directed to God) or bad (if it’s directed to idols), meditation can center on the things of God or on evil things.
It’s good to meditate if we do it as the psalmist did. He determined that he would meditate on the works of God; he would focus on God’s miracles and displays of power.
Meditation accomplished something wonderful for him. Though at first he was absorbed by his problems and anxieties, he was able to turn his attitude around. He went from complaining to praising simply by focusing on God’s past mighty works. He gained faith and insight to deal with his troubles because of a proper use of meditation.
Content adapted from the NIV Quest Study Bible, which features over 7,000 notes written in an engaging question and answer format that give insight into the common, uncommon, and sometimes perplexing passages from the Bible. Also available in personal size.