The Bible says that meditation is the way to life and happiness.
But what is biblical meditation? Does it matter? If so, how can we do it?
The word ‘meditation’ can be confusing because it’s associated with the Buddhist practice of emptying your mind. But biblical mediation is all about filling your mind with God’s truth.
In Psalm 1, it says: ‘Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.’
The Hebrew word for meditate, hagah, means ‘to murmur’ because Hebrew scribes used to murmur as they read the Bible over and over. When we meditate, we don’t have to murmur as they did. But we do want to come back to Bible truths and think over them, again and again, day and night.
Psalm 1 also tells us why we should meditate. It says the man who does so ‘is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season and whose leaf does not wither.’ Verse six tells us that this is because ‘the Lord knows the way of the righteous.’ Meditating on God’s word is the way to life because it leads us to the life giving God.
So if meditation is so important, how can we do it? Here are three tips to help you make a start.
First, make time. We rarely think about the Bible by accident. It only happens when we make time to do it. You don’t have to spend hours or even read more than one verse. But it will help you to find time in your day when you have nothing to do but listen to God.
Secondly, make a note. Many people find that writing Scripture helps them to think about it. Writing slows our brains down. When you meditate, try to write down the verse you’re thinking about. Then try to re-write it using your own words. If it describes something visual, you could even try to draw it. Anything that helps you linger on God’s word a little bit longer.
Thirdly, memorise. Learning a Bible verse means you can meditate, like the psalmist says, day and night. You won’t need your Bible with you, because it will already be in your head. Your brain will be turning it over, even when you’re doing something else. There are a few different techniques you can try to help you memorise Scripture. Some like to write a verse on their hand. Others put it on a piece of paper in their pocket, so they can look at it throughout the day. You could also download a Bible memory app.
Whatever you do, memorising Scripture will help you to focus on God’s truth, and anything which does that is good. As we see in Psalm 1, God’s word is the way to life. Meditating on it should be our delight.