Biblical meditation is one of those things that Christians often know about but very few practice. And yet biblical meditation is essential for Christian obedience. I would suggest to you that Christians often struggle with patterns of sin because of their failure to learn and practice biblical meditation. Furthermore, Christians often miss daily divine opportunities because they have not learned to meditate.
The psalmist says the man is blessed who avoids identifying with the wicked man, and who meditates on the word day and night.
How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.
Is it possible that most Christians don’t give much thought to this biblical discipline because it seems to be an impossible task? How can we meditate on the word day and night? After all, life places many demands on our minds. It requires engaging our minds for business, school, relationships, etc.
Let’s begin by defining biblical meditation.
In the biblical world meditation was not a silent practice. Hāg̱â means growl, utter, or moan (cf. BDB, p. 211) as well as meditate or muse. No doubt meditation involved a muttering sound from reading half aloud or conversing with oneself (cf. Ps. 77:6).1
For the believer, the object of our meditation is the word of God.
And I shall lift up my hands to Your commandments, which I love; and I will meditate on Your statutes.
“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 success.”
I will meditate on Your precepts and regard Your ways. I shall delight in Your statutes; I shall not forget Your word.
To meditate on God’s Word is to mull it over in your mind. It is to dwell on the word with the intent of gaining understanding and speaking the truth – to yourself first, and then to others. It is easy to get in the habit of reading the Bible in the morning and then moving on with the day. Biblical mediation takes what you have read and ingrains it in your mind and heart so that it actually accomplishes its objective.
We will consider more about biblical meditation in the weeks ahead.
1Hartley, J. E. (1979–1988). Meditate. In G. W. Bromiley (Ed.), The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised (Vol. 3, p. 305). Wm. B. Eerdmans.