“Oh how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever mine!” Psalm 119:97-98 (NASB)
So far, we are reading the Bible, and we are memorizing passages so that we can recall them when we need them.
Unfortunately, it is possible to read the Bible and memorize it without really considering what it says. Therefore, this week, we’re going to learn about meditating on scripture.
Choose a passage to meditate on. Choosing what scripture to meditate on is the easiest part if you’re already reading the Bible regularly and memorizing scripture. You can choose to meditate on the passage you’re reading on that given day, or you can meditate on the scripture you’re currently trying to memorize. Of course, you don’t have to use either of these options, but certainly taking time to really digest what you’re reading or memorizing will only be beneficial.
What do you do? There are many different things you can do as you meditate on scripture. Depending on how many ideas you find useful and how much time you have available each day, you might want to spend a couple days or even a whole week on each section of scripture. Really allowing yourself the time to dig deep is more beneficial than racing through something new every day. This isn’t a race; it’s a seven-course meal. Take as much time as you need before you move on to another passage.
The first thing you should do is take a few minutes to pray. Ask Him to clear your mind ofdistractions and reveal to you what it is He wants you to find in the passage you’re meditating on.
Read over your passage slowly, as if you’re trying to savor it rather than swallow it whole. Get familiar with it.
Read it a few more times, emphasizing different words. Focusing on one word at a time can draw out new ideas for you.
For example, 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold new things have come.” (NASB)
If you read the verse again, focusing on the first word, “therefore,” you will realize that the verses that follow are dependent on the verses that come before. We are new because Christ died for us and we no longer know Him according to the flesh but according to the spirit (vv. 15-16).
If we focus on the word “anyone,” we realize that no one who is in Christ is excluded from this statement. If you are in Christ, you are a new person.
Next, you should look for any questions you have from the scripture. Again, looking at 2 Corinthians 5:17, you might ask what things have passed away and what things are new. Try to answer those questions yourself. If you aren't able to answer the questions, you can either start looking for those answers yourself, through study resources or by asking another Christian who you respect. If you aren't able to find an answer right away, write it down to come back to later.
Paraphrase the section. Say it in your own words. That is one of the easiest ways to discover if you understand something, if you can say it in your own words.
“Because of this, if anyone is a Christian, he is a new person. The old things are gone, and the new things have come.”
Cross-reference. An interesting way to learn more about a scripture is to use the cross-reference notes that some Bibles contain. They are often down the middle of the two columns or at the bottom of the page. It shows you various verses that cover similar ideas. My Bible shows several cross-references for 2 Corinthians 5:17: Romans 16:7, John 3:3, Romans 6:4, Galatians 6:15, Isaiah 43:18, Ephesians 4:24, and Revelation 21:4.
Application. Once you’ve gotten to this point, consider what ways this verse can be useful in your life. For 2 Corinthians 5:17, you can hold onto the idea that you are not the person you were before, that Christ has made you new. This can encourage you to try to be a better person and to put your past behind you. That person you used to be is not who you are now.
Prayer and journaling. I am listing these two together because often when I am journaling, it is a written prayer. Write out the scripture, or at least the reference, if it is a long passage, and then write out your thoughts about it and what you learned during your meditation. Pray, whether in written form, aloud, or silently in your mind, about what you’ve learned, asking God to help you assimilate it into your life and thanking Him for what He’s taught you.
Have you spent much time meditating on scripture? What activities help you best?
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