Meditation is a key component of a Christian’s growth. While meditation isn’t described in Scripture as many think of meditation today, which is greatly influenced by Eastern meditation methods, meditation in the Bible is associated with growth and prosperity.
Meditation in the Bible: Table of Contents
- Meditation Verses
- Biblical Definition
- Examples in the Bible
- Practicing Biblical Meditation
- Verses to Meditate On
- Bible Meditation for Today
Meditation Verses in the Bible
Psalm 1:2 (NIV): "But whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night."
Joshua 1:8 (NIV): "Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful."
Psalm 104:34 (NIV): "May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the Lord."
Psalm 19:14 (NIV): "May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer."
Colossians 3:2 (NIV): "Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things."
Definition of Meditate in the Bible
The following words are translated in Hebrew and Greek (respectively) into our English word for meditate:
- Hagah: muse, growl, moan, utter (Strong’s 1897). Found in: Joshua 1:8, Job, 27:4, Jeremiah 48:31, as well as various times in Psalms, Proverbs, and Isaiah.
- Suach: muse (Strong’s 7742). The Complete Word Study Bible further expands on the usage of this word to mean, “a verb meaning to be bowed down; to be downcast. It refers often to the despair of one’s soul." Found in: Genesis 24:63.
- Meletaō: to care for, practice, study (Strong’s 3191). Found in: Acts 4:25, 1 Timothy 4:15.
Other words are also translated meditate, but they are derivatives of the above words.
Examples of Meditation in the Bible
The first person we see “meditating” in the Bible is Isaac. He was meditating (suach) in a field when the Lord brought his wife, Rebekah, to him (Genesis 24:63).
Isaac was the son God promised to Abraham and Sarah. While we know a lot about Abraham’s amazing faith, Isaac had his own personal journey with God.
Isaac was what we would consider a little old to be a bachelor, but there he was, waiting on the Lord’s provision for a wife. He was in the midst of grieving the death of his mother, meditating and waiting when God brought Rebekah to him. Most Bible scholars consider him to be prayerfully processing life with God during this time.
Scripture records that he took Rebekah as his wife, loved her all his days, and was comforted after his mother’s death. In a culture of polygamy, Isaac loved only Rebekah. When the two of them shared anniversary after anniversary with no children, Isaac prayed, and the Lord heard his prayer and blessed them with twins.
Meditation and prayer were intricately woven into Isaac’s life, even shaping the direction of his family.
The next instance of meditating we see in Scripture occurs in the book of Joshua:
After Moses died, the Lord gave instructions to Joshua, Moses’ aid. One instruction was to meditate on the “Book of the Law.”
“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate [hagah] 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 success.” (Joshua 1:8)
The Psalms echo this admonition from the Book of Joshua:
“But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates [hagah] day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers.” (Psalm 1:2-3)
In these two examples, meditating on God’s word results in doing “all that is written in it,” “yield[ing] fruit” and prospering.
Whether our business is blessed because we carry it out with godly principles or our souls are wrapped in the rich peace of Christ, without meditating on Scripture, we can be sure we will miss opportunities to prosper in our walks with God. Because as Christians, there is no greater prosperity for us than to know the Lord. Meditating on Scripture is a way to experience Him!
In Psalm 143, David meditated on his past experiences with God when his current experience was overwhelming.
“Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me; my heart is appalled within me. I remember the days of old; I meditate [hagah] on all Your doings; I muse on the work of Your hands.” (Psalm 143:4-5)
While the passage doesn’t directly mention prosperity or success, we can see in David’s life that intentionally setting his heart and mind on God anchored and steadied him in his responses to life.
Throughout the Psalms, we see David’s example of directing his thoughts to Scripture and to his past experiences with God when life became difficult.
Practicing Biblical Meditation
Deliberately direct your thoughts to God’s word and remember what He’s done in the past.
All of us meditate on something throughout the day; we just may or may not do it with intention. When we are tempted to let our thoughts rule us, we can practice biblical meditation by being deliberate with our thoughts and direct them on the things of the Lord. Instead of getting lost in pain, we can set our minds on the promises of God.
The New Testament gives numerous instructions on how to direct our thoughts, but the word meditate is not often used.
“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” (Colossians 3:2-4)Recommended
“The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.” (Romans 6:6-8)
This example from 1 Timothy is translated “meditate” in the King James Version (and the NKJV) but is translated “take pains” in the New American Standard.
“Meditate [meletaō] on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all.” (1 Timothy 4:15 NKJV)
Again, progress (or growth) is indicated as a result of meditating on the ways of God. Old and New Testaments remind us that where we set our thoughts greatly impact the fruitfulness of our lives.
Here are other tips to help you meditate on God’s word.
1. Start and end your day with the Word.
If we read the Word in the morning, it’s easy for it to slip out of our thoughts over the course of the day. Schedules and demands squeeze those Bible verses from us. If this is an issue you face, as you crawl into bed at the end of the day, ask yourself what you read in the Bible that morning.
2. Do something with the Word.
But if we do something with what we read, it helps keep God’s word at the forefront of our thoughts. Essentially, whether you do correlative study with a Bible passage, make a craft with verses, or make a song from a verse, doing something with the words helps you hold on to them. And if you can remember them, then you can meditate on them.
3. Talk about God’s word.
If we are regularly talking about God’s word, we will meditate on God’s word. And if we are talking and thinking about God’s word, we will be more able to obey God’s word. And if we are obeying God’s word, our lives are more positioned for His blessings!
Whether you start diligently studying Scripture using word tools, stick post-it notes with Bible verses all over your house, or memorize whole chapters, get your mind soaked with Scripture! You will be blessed when you do!
Bible Verses to Meditate On
Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV): "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Psalm 23:1-4 (NIV): "The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me."
Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV): "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
Psalm 46:10 (NIV): "He says, 'Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.'"
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV): "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight."
Isaiah 41:10 (NIV): "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
Romans 8:28 (NIV): "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
Psalm 139:14 (NIV): "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."
Colossians 3:15 (NIV): "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful."
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV): "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"
Bible Meditation for Today
In a moment of quiet and stillness, let us take a moment to meditate on Psalm 1:2,
"But whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night."
As we reflect on this verse, imagine the delight that comes from immersing ourselves in God's Word—the source of wisdom, guidance, and comfort. Picture the steady flow of a river, representing the continuous meditation on the Scriptures, shaping and nourishing the roots of a tree firmly planted by the waters. In our meditation, let us find joy in the promise that this deliberate focus on God's teachings brings forth fruitfulness in due season.
"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." Philippians 4:8 (NIV)
Take a deep breath and let go of any distractions. In the silence, consider each of these qualities—truth, nobility, righteousness—and allow them to form a mental landscape that honors God. Ponder each of these virtues and how they may be woven into your daily interactions. In the beauty of this moment, acknowledge the peace that comes from aligning our thoughts with the virtues of God's kingdom. As you go about your day, carry with you the renewed focus to dwell on the uplifting and righteous aspects of life, finding strength and tranquility in the truths of God's Word.
April Motl is a pastor’s wife, homeschool mom, and women’s ministry director. When she’s not waist deep in the joys and jobs of motherhood, being a wife, and serving at church, she writes and teaches for women. You can find more encouraging resources from April hereand here.
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