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Why Should We Practice Scripture Meditation?

Most Christians know they should read the Bible. But what if reading the Bible is not enough? Meditating on Scripture is one of the most important things you can do as a Christian.

bible, scripture meditation

It is safe to assume most Christians know they should read the Bible. Let me say right now, as good as it is to read the Bible, it is not good enough. Before you look at me crazy, let me explain. If you are going to mature in your walk, you must practice Scripture meditation. Meditating on Scripture is one of the most important things you can do as a Christian. When you develop this practice, you will see the value of Scripture mediation and how it shapes and transforms your life.

What Is the Difference Between Scripture Meditation and Reading the Bible? 

Let me highlight the difference by focusing on a goal I know many people strive for: reading through the Bible in one year. If you simply want to read the Bible, this is possible. If you want to meditate on Scripture, this is virtually impossible. There are 1,189 chapters in the Bible. To read through them in a year, you need to read more than three chapters per day. That is fine if all you are doing is reading, but God doesn’t want you just to be a reader of the Word. We are called to be doers of the Word.

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (James 1:22 NKJV)

It is good to fill your mind with the word of God, and reading the Bible accomplishes that. However, it is not enough just to read; you must put into practice what you have read. This requires you to understand what you are reading, so you can apply it to your life. Reading more than three chapters per day gives you too much to understand and apply in so short a time. So, while reading is good, Scripture meditation is better because it focuses on understanding and doing what God wants you to do. 

What Is Scripture Meditation?

One of the best verses that define Scripture meditation is Joshua 1:8:

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. (NIV)

Scripture meditation is the process of speaking about, thinking about, pondering, and applying God’s word to your life. A wonderful illustration is to think of how a cow eats food. When a cow eats, it will regurgitate some of the food back into its mouth and chew on it. What they regurgitate is called cud. The cow will chew on this cud repeatedly, and this process continues until some of the indigestible parts can be absorbed as nutrients into the bloodstream, and the other parts can move through the cow’s digestive system. This is what Scripture meditation is. It is not a process that happens quickly or even needs to be rushed. It is a deliberate time of chewing on God’s word, allowing its truth to sink into your heart, mind, and spirit.

Three Values of Scripture Meditation

1 – Scripture Meditation Brings Revelation 

When it comes to understanding scripture, many people miss this truth. Understanding Scripture is a product of revelation, not just education. Some of the most brilliant and scholarly people in the world miss the simple truths found in the Bible. The reason this happens is that the truth must be revealed. Scripture meditation is a process that gives room for the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth to you. One of the first experiences I ever had with this was many years ago when I read a passage in Matthew. I was sitting and meditating on the verse. I was thinking and attempting to understand what I was reading. As I was sitting and thinking about the verse, it was as if the light bulb went off in my mind and the truth of the verse leaped off the page to me. Has this ever happened to you? This is a byproduct of Scripture meditation. When you give yourself time to chew the cud of God’s word, he will begin to reveal the meaning behind what he has written.

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. (John 14:26 NIV)

2 – Scriptural Meditation Leads to Application

We mentioned earlier that the goal of Scripture is not just to read it but to do it. Applying the scriptures to your life can only happen when you are meditating on them. Application does not happen by accident. For application to happen in your life, you must be intentional and purposeful. When you open the pages of the Bible, what is God saying to you? Meditation will reveal what God is saying, and once you understand it, the next step is to apply it. However, if you don’t take the time to think about what you have read, how can you apply it to the various areas of your life? 

The book of James describes two types of people that read God’s word. I will call them the reader and the doer. Look at the difference between the two.

Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. (James 1:23-25 NIV)

James differentiates between the one who reads and walks away and the one who reads, meditates, and applies what they have learned in their life. The blessing goes to the one who reads and does what it says. You can think about which one you are right now and which one you want to be. 

3 – Scripture Meditation Leads to Transformation

The last value of scriptural mediation ties it all together. When truth is revealed, and you apply it to your life, transformation will happen. This is what Paul was talking about in Romans. 

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2 NIV)

The Bible is clear there can be no transformation without renewing your mind. There can be no renewing of your mind without the application of Scripture. There can be no application without revelation. There can be no revelation without meditation. I hope you see how this all works. The transformation of the mind begins with you taking time to open God’s word, read it, meditate on it, and do it. Here is the best part you don’t have to do this alone because the Holy Spirit is here to help you. Your job is to focus on meditation, and when you do, the Holy Spirit will bring the revelation and help you with the application.  

Will You Take on the Challenge of Scripture Meditation?

Now that you see the value of Scripture meditation, will you do it? Honestly, Scripture meditation is not easy in this fast-paced, nonstop world. If you are going to do this correctly, you may need to turn off your phone, shut down the television, or silence your social media. It would help if you found a place where you can read, think, and listen. There is so much God wants to share with you from his word. He is waiting for you to get away from the pace of life and spend some time in Scripture meditation. When you do, it will be time well spent.

Photo Credit: iStock/Getty Images Plus/Sergio Yoneda

Clarence L. Haynes Jr. is a speaker, Bible teacher, and co-founder of The Bible Study Club.  He is the author of The Pursuit of Purpose which will help you understand how God leads you into his will. He has also just released his new book The Pursuit of Victory: How To Conquer Your Greatest Challenges and Win In Your Christian Life. Do you want to go deeper in your walk with the Lord but can’t seem to overcome the stuff that keeps getting in the way? This book will teach you how to put the pieces together so you can live a victorious Christian life and finally become the man or woman of God that you truly desire to be. To learn more about his ministry please visit clarencehaynes.com.

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