In the lives of many Christians, meditation is more estranged than you might imagine. Whenever the topic of meditation comes up, the notion that many Christians tend to have is that it is “that weird spiritual practice from the Buddha, the Buddhists and Hindus”.
Most think that the practice is only for the people who believe in the Eastern religions, which is not the case.
Meditation has been mentioned numerous times in the Bible and it has been recommended to the believers for mental and spiritual growth.
Let’s take a deep look at Biblical meditation and what you need to know about it.
What is Biblical Meditation?
Biblical meditation may be defined in different ways based on different perspectives, but in essence, it is the practice of sitting in silence to contemplate on different areas of the Bible and its teachings to gain a deeper understanding of what they mean as a way of bringing us close to God.
Many Christians have done this form of meditation without their knowledge.
If you have ever been moved by a Bible verse, chapter or passage of someone, that got you thinking at length about it to try and comprehend it properly, then you have done meditation.
While many people may think that meditation involves a series of steps in order to achieve something, as perceived by many, Biblical meditation takes a completely different route.
This type of meditation is all about connecting with the teachings of the Bible to better understand them. And through the help of the Holy Spirit and reason, the meditating Christian is able to arrive at the truth.
And this truth helps them find freedom and peace in the Lord.
The Bible is known to be the light and guidance for Christians and it comes with tightly-knit message. So by meditating on the Scripture and praying, they are able to untie the knots and have a good grasp of it which helps them lead a life that pleases God.
History of Biblical Meditation
There are no specific records that show how exactly Biblical meditation came to be and who was inspired by the Lord about it, but there are certain scenarios in the Bible that prove that it existed many centuries ago.
The first mention of a practice that resembles meditation in the Bible is Genesis 23:64, where we see Isaac alone in the fields walking around before God brought him a wife.
Isaac’s mother, Sarah, had just died and he was still in sadness. He had come to the Wilderness of “The wall of the Living One who sees me” and had settled in the southern part of Canaan.
He decided to go out in the early evening to take a walk in the fields. This walk is considered to be a form of meditation. He took the walk alone and it is believed that he was in a contemplative state before he was interrupted by the sight of camels that came with Rebecca, who was to become his wife.
There is also another mention of the practice in the Book of Joshua 1:8.
This is around the period where Moses, the servant of God, had died and Joshua had been chosen by God to lead the people of Israel to the promised land. In this chapter, we see God talking to Joshua and giving him commands on how to go about his new role.
In this verse, he is told that he should be sure that the Book of Law is always read during worship. He is also told to make sure it is studied day and night and everything in it is obeyed so that they may be prosperous and successful.
Some Bible translations of this verse say that he was told to meditate on the Book of law day and night.
Another mention is from the person who was considered to be after the Lord’s heart and who pleased God in all the ways he could. This person is King David.
David wrote the book of Psalms and throughout the book, there are numerous mentions of him meditating. In Psalms 143:4-5, he says that he meditates in all the doings of the Lord and the work of His hands for him.
Also, in Psalms 1:1-3, he also says that those who keep away from evil and find delight in the Law of the Lord and meditate on it day and night are happy.
Today, many priests and Christian leaders stress on the power and importance of meditating on the Word of God, the Bible, as a means to come into close companionship with God.
How Biblical Meditation is Different From Other Forms
When you compare Biblical meditation to other types of meditation which are believed to have originated from the East such as Mindfulness meditation, Vipassanna meditation and Transcendental meditation, to name a few, you will find significant differences between them.
Biblical meditation has its main aim at helping the Christian believer to interact with the Word of God at a deeper level and therefore puzzle it out which strengthens their relationship with God. It also enriches the soul of the believer and is able to provide insight into the Lord’s teaching which helps the believer know the truth.
It is pretty much about turning your heart and soul to God and accessing His wisdom to interpret the teachings He has given the believers.
By acknowledging that only God has the ultimate power and can give you knowledge and understanding and that He invites the believers to ask Him for all that, the Christian believer makes use of meditation to help them work with God’s provision to interpret the teachings and be all the more able to live by them.
When it comes to other types of meditation, the aim is to access and make use of the power that is already within you to help you reduce the suffering you, as a human being, go through.
A key thing to note is that, while most of the meditation styles don’t incline to religion, they uphold the importance of virtue and integrity.
These meditations help the meditator take away the negative thoughts and feelings that only cause them harm and help them cultivate better mortal values for the benefit of themselves and for others.
There are some styles of meditation that encourage the meditator to remain in the present moment, others help to understand the nature of reality and the self while others encourage the meditators to build love, kindness and compassion to others.
If you would like to understand what meditation is all about, we recommend reading this beginner’s guide on meditation.
With these other forms of meditation, it all boils down to what goal you want to achieve but all of them lead to inner peace and harmony, if used correctly.
How Biblical Meditation Works
Bible meditation is mainly about having a deeper understanding of a certain part of the Bible with the aim of comprehending its meaning and application in life.
When people meditate on the Scripture, they do it with the intention of gaining proper understanding of what it means and how it can be used in the real world to maintain a deep relationship with God by doing the right thing.
This meditation is more like enjoying your favorite snack. By eating mindfully, you are able to feel its texture, its pleasant smell and flavor, and this makes your eating experience more satisfying. The same way it is with meditating on various aspects and contexts of the Bible.
Through this practice and with the help of God’s revelation, you are able to see how God responds to various situations and what He finds good in people and this reveals to you what He really desires and expects from people who love and fear Him.
And with this discovery, you get to have the idea and the intentions of living in accordance with what you have learned, which improves your relationship with Him.
As you meditate, you not only get the revelation of the will of God in your life, but also get spiritual satisfaction. As you come out of the meditation session, you feel within yourself that your soul has been fed and is satisfied. You also get special grace that really goes a long way in making you feel loved and whole in God.
Studying the Bible helps you learn and become mentally convinced about what you learn from it, but meditation goes a step further to convince and win your heart.
There are 3 main pillars of Bible meditation that make it successful:
1. Reading the Bible – This is where you choose the book or chapter or verse of the Bible you want to meditate and direct your focus on. After getting that, you go ahead and read it to get the surface level idea of what it is saying. You can choose to read it a couple of times to have a good grasp of it which will improve the experience of your meditation.
2. Reflecting – Here, you now go deeper into the portion you are working with to uncover what has not been said openly. As earlier said, there are many answers and ideas in the Bible that are not expressed directly. You have to take your time and think about a certain aspect and delve into it so that you are able to discover the unsaid words and ideas. Through prayer and proper guidance of thought, you will be amazed at the insights you will uncover.
3. Application – Meditation is complete only until you find a way to apply what you have learned. Without making the effort to incorporate the insights you have gained in your daily life to improve the way you live and get closer to God, your efforts might as well run down the drain. They won’t be beneficial to you. The reason we meditate is to gain better understanding of various aspects of life and better interact with them. So if you leave out the last step of application, your efforts will not be fruitful and deserve the name, wishful thinking.
Benefits of Biblical Meditation
Here are the benefits associated with Biblical meditation:
1. Enhances clarity of life – As Christians, we often get confused when it comes to knowing the will of God in various areas of our lives. By being in communion with the Lord through meditation, we are able to discern His will, which takes away the confusion and make our paths clearer. Through meditation, it is also possible to understand concepts expressed in the Bible at a deeper level and how to make use of them to make our lives more peaceful and happy.
2. Enhances your relationship with God – Apart from prayer, another way to communicate with God is through meditation. By sitting through a Bible meditation session, you are opening yourself to God for guidance and revelation. And as you do this often, you are able to have a special relationship with God as He sees you are trying to draw near to Him. Remember, James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”
3. Makes our Christian journey easier – King Solomon in the book of proverbs 23:7 says that what you think is what you are. We will all agree that it becomes very hard to remain in the spiritual world with the Lord when we are living on earth surrounded by earthly things. By getting involved in earthly things every other minute, it is hard to remember to be a Christian always and live in accordance with that. But by meditating, you get your mind deeply involved with the Scripture and it transforms your mind and ultimately your life. You are able to do things as God expects you to since your mind is being fed with the Scripture often. With this practice, you find that doing things the proper way being easier than if you are not meditating.
4. Provides insight into the Lord’s’s secrets – When you meditate with the help of the Lord and you have pure intentions, you will come to realize that the Lord helps you understand the portion of the Scripture you are reading in great depth. He opens up new perspectives and angles of thought for you, reveals the hidden meaning of the passages you are on and influences the way you think so that you get more knowledge from it than before. This is why you find many religious leaders explaining the Bible in a way most people have never thought of before. This is the power of meditation.
5. Improves the quality of your life – Spiritually, meditation uplifts you and helps you become more spiritually conscious. It helps you see and understand the divine things in a worldly way and the worldly things in a divine way. This in turn helps you do everything for the glory of God. The practice of meditation also improves the way you think and look at things, generally. And by proper meditation, you come to discover that you are no longer inclined to doing things the way you have been doing them but rather in a much better way. All these small changes give your overall life a whole new spin towards the right direction.
How to do Biblical Meditation
Everyone is created differently and we all have our own unique ways of interacting with God. Therefore, Bible meditation is also practiced in many different ways. There are those who decide to meditate silently in the chapel, some meditate quietly while walking around a quiet place with fewer distractions and there are those who find talking verbally in a low voice while reasoning and communicating with God as a form of meditation.
It all boils down to what you feel works for you. The essence of this ancient tradition is to have alone time with God and learn from Him. Whichever way you find suitable to do that is the one we recommend you work with. You can also feel free to experiment with the available options to identify your right fit.
In the grand scheme of things, the gist of this type of meditation is as follows:
1. Praying about the practice – The first step is to allow God into the period of silence, to talk to you and guide you through your thoughts. You place yourself in the hands and the presence of the Lord and ask that He may direct your mind and heart through the power of the Holy Spirit. As Romans 8:26 says, “In the same way the Spirit comes to help us, weak as we are. For we do not know how we ought to pray; the Spirit Himself pleads with God for us in groans that words cannot express.”
2. Reading – After that, you now get to go to the specific topic or passage of the Bible you were planning to meditate on. You read it carefully and understand the main message of it. You may want to read it twice or thrice for proper comprehension.
3. Reflections from the heart – You now have to think deeply about the passage you just read. You can first try to take a look at the passage that comes before and after the passage you are meditating on to help put things into perspective. You can also try to gather all the information in your mind about the topic and try to put in the pieces together so that you can have a clearer picture of the topic and help you understand things well. It is also encouraged you put yourself in the shoes of the person mentioned in the topic or try to get into the situation you’ve read about and try to think and see it like a typical human being.
4. Affections and resolutions – Try to relate your feelings with the passage and learn as much as you can from it. After you are done, you will need to make a decision and resolution to live based on the teachings you’ve gotten from the passage. You have to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally to live by the teachings so that what you have read may count for something in your life. Pray that you may get the strength to begin making use of the teachings and make them part of your life.
5. Applying in real life – It is not enough that you only make a mental and emotional resolution to change your ways and stick to the teachings. Applying them in the physical world goes a long way to establish them in your life. You can try doing something related to what you have just learned and make a plan of how you can be doing it consciously a number of times a week or a month. This makes you more consistent and helps you grow into that attribute. For instance, if you were meditating on generosity, you could try being kind to someone you know really needs it.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) on Biblical Meditation
Question: What verses in the Bible support Biblical meditation?
Answer: There are plenty of verses in the Bible that encourage Christians to meditate on the Scripture. Here are some of them.
* In Genesis 24:63 – It says, “He went out to the field in the evening to meditate, and as he looked up, he saw camels approaching.”
* In Joshua 1:8 – It says, “This book will 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 you ways prosperous and then you will be successful.”
* In Psalms 77:12 – It says, “I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds”
* In Psalms 1:1 – It says, “How blessed is the man who doesn’t walk in the counsel of the evil people, nor stand in the path of the wicked, not 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.”
* In Psalms 4:4 – It says, “Tremble and do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent.”
* In Psalms 119:15 – It says, “I will meditate on your precepts and regard your ways. I shall delight in your statutes: I shall not forget your word.”
* In Psalms 119:23 – It says, “Though rulers sit down to slander, your servant will meditate on your decrees.”
* In Psalms 119:148 – It says, “My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises.”
* In Psalms 104:1 – It says, “Let my meditation be pleasing to Him; As for me I shall be glad in the Lord. Bless the Lord, O my soul! O my Lord, you are very great; You are clothed in splendor and majesty, covering yourself with light as with a cloak, stretching out heaven like a tent curtain.”
* In Philippians 4:8 – It says, “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever has good reputation, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”
Question: What other useful tips enhance Bible meditation?
Answer: Here are some tips you can work with:
– Try to start and end your day by reading the Bible
– Memorize the verses of the Bible and try to reflect on them in a human way, every so often
– Ask the Lord for help in everything you do
– Do your best to avoid sin in all its forms
– Do your best to avoid judging yourself or others too harshly
– Make an effort of meditating on a regular basis
– Don’t beat yourself down when your meditation sessions fail to go well. This happens at times.
– Learn to take baby steps and grow with time in meditation and in working with the Lord to better your life. It also takes a process.
– Remember to trust the Lord but do your part in everything if you want everything to go well for you
Ideally, Biblical meditation helps you have a deeper relationship and understanding of the Bible. It gives you the chance to extract the deep hidden meanings of various teachings which in turn help you lead a better life.
The Bible comes with very profound words about salvation and life. The teachings of Jesus, for instance, cannot be understood with only a single reading. You need more than that and meditation comes in handy in situations like these.
Through Bible study, prayer and meditation, you are able to have a balanced spiritual development that will pull you closer and closer to God, and elevate your thoughts and actions for the benefit of your own soul.