Why Should We Meditate on God’s Word?
As you know, the Bible is God’s Word and provides for us His wisdom, insight, and guidance for our lives. While reading the Bible is an essential part of our spiritual growth (along with prayer and worship), meditating on God’s Word takes our understanding to a much deeper level. Today, we will explore the advantages of meditating on God’s Word as compared to just reading it, and highlight the benefits of this spiritual discipline.
Advantages of Meditating on God’s Word
Meditating on God’s Word involves taking time to reflect, ponder, and internalize what we read in the Bible. It’s like Bible study on steroids, with no time limit. You can take as long as you want to squeeze everything out of a particular passage or truth, without feeling guilty or pressure to continue. It is not like reading, which is intellectual in nature. No, meditation is contemplative and affects the deeper part of you, the spiritual part.
In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for meditate, as found in Joshua 1:8, is hāg̱āh which means “to groan, growl, muse, ponder, or to reflect deeply on something.” And in the New Testament, the Greek word for meditate, taken from Philippians 4:8, is logízomai and means “to ponder, to reflect, to reason, to impute, calculate, or reckon,” which is far more involved than simply reading.
Remember, God commands us to internalize His Word by meditating on it and not by just casually reading it (Jos. 1:8). So there must be something to it. Meditating on Scripture offers us several benefits that go beyond reading alone. Let’s look at just a few.
We Gain a Deeper Understanding of God’s Word and Ourselves
First and obviously, meditation helps us to gain a deeper understanding of God’s Word. It enables us to contemplate the meaning of the text and how it applies to our lives. This, in turn, helps us to grow in wisdom, knowledge, and spiritual maturity. When we read the Bible, we are primarily focused on gathering information and knowledge. We may learn about the history of God’s people, the teachings of Jesus, and the promises of God. However, when we meditate on these same truths, we move beyond gathering information and seek to understand the meaning of the text and how it applies to our lives. We are seeking something more than history or doctrine. We are seeking transformation.
Meditation involves reflecting on the words of Scripture, even the small ones, and considering their context and significance as we seek to understand their deeper meaning. As we meditate on God’s Word, we gain insight into the character and personality of God, His plan for our lives, and His will for the future. We come to understand the significance of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection and how it impacts our lives more than we ever could by just reading. It’s like we no longer “see in a mirror dimly,” but finally “face to face” (1 Cor. 13:12). And nothing can help you experience His Word quicker than meditation.
Meditation also allows us to explore the amazing nuances of Scripture. It helps us understand how different passages relate to each other and how they all fit into the broader narrative of the Bible. For example, we may read a passage about forgiveness and understand the concept on an intellectual level. Maybe we have experienced forgiveness in our own lives. However, through meditation, we can come to understand the depth of God’s forgiveness, what it truly costs Him, and how it applies to our lives in a practical way previously unknown to us. We can almost feel the pain and joy forgiveness brings. Biblical meditation opens up the floodgates of intimacy with God in ways difficult to describe. You’ll simply have to experience it yourself.
Through meditation, we also gain a deeper insight into ourselves, our hidden sins, our unforgiveness, and our deception. As we reflect on God’s Word, we see ourselves in light of His truth and come to understand our strengths, weaknesses, and areas of growth. We may be challenged to confront our sin and seek forgiveness or to cultivate a particular virtue or character trait. Our lives are open before Him, exposed to His truth in ways that demand a change in us. And change is good, especially if it brings us closer to being like our Lord.
We Have a Deeper Desire and Ability to Memorize Scripture
The second advantage of meditating on God’s Word is that it helps us to memorize scripture. As we meditate on the text, we repeat it to ourselves and ponder its meaning, allowing it to take root in our hearts and minds. This, in turn, makes it easier to recall in times of need.
Memorizing scripture is essential for spiritual growth and is particularly helpful when facing challenges or temptations (Ps. 119:11). In times of stress or uncertainty, we may feel overwhelmed and unsure of what to do. However, if we have stored God’s Word in our hearts and minds, we can draw on it for guidance and comfort.
For example, if we are facing a difficult financial decision, especially during these troubling times, we can recall from memory the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” This verse reminds us to seek God’s will above all else and trust that He will provide for our needs, no matter how big or insurmountable they may seem. Remember, in context, when Jesus said that “all these things shall be added to you,” He is talking about everything we worry about, food, clothing, housing, how we are going to live, etc., and He gives us clear instructions on how to trust Him for everything. If you meditate on this truth, it will change the way you view the future. But don’t take my word for it, try it for yourself.
Similarly, if we are struggling with fear or anxiety about an uncertain future, we can recall from memory, 24/7, the familiar words of Psalm 23:4, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; (why) for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” This verse reminds us that God is with us even in the darkest times and always offers comfort and strength to His children. And this truth alone should put a smile on our face.
Furthermore, memorizing Scripture helps us to internalize God’s Word and apply it to our lives. As we store it in our hearts and minds, it becomes a part of who we are, shaping our thoughts, attitudes, and behavior. We become more like Christ, we have our mind renewed by His Word (Rom. 12:2), and we find ourselves thinking like Jesus (1 Cor. 2:16). This, in turn, leads to spiritual growth and transformation. And even if we are unaware of it, transformation is what we are looking for the most.
Meditation Leads to Transformation
Finally, meditation on God’s Word leads to transformation. As we meditate on God’s Word, we allow it to shape our thoughts, attitudes, and behavior. This leads to spiritual growth and a closer relationship with God. Through meditation, we become more like Christ, reflecting His character in our lives.
How is that done, specifically?
When we meditate on God’s Word, we are intentionally focusing on its meaning, significance, and implication for our lives. This practice of meditation leads to transformation in several ways.
First, biblical meditation allows us to understand God’s will for our lives. As we reflect on the words of Scripture, we gain insight into God’s character, His plan for salvation, and how we should live as His followers. We are challenged to confront our sin and seek forgiveness, to cultivate virtues such as love, kindness, and compassion, and to prioritize our relationship with God above all else. This understanding of God’s will leads to transformation as we align our lives with His truth and seek to follow His guidance.
Second, Biblical meditation allows us to internalize God’s Word. As we meditate on Scripture, we store it in our hearts and minds, making it a part of who we are. This internalization of God’s Word shapes our thoughts, attitudes, and behavior, leading to spiritual growth and transformation. We begin to see the world through the lens of God’s truth, and we are better equipped to make decisions and respond to challenges in a way that pleases Him.
Third, Biblical meditation leads to a closer relationship with God. Always. It’s a given. As we meditate on God’s Word, we draw closer to Him and experience His presence and guidance in a deeper way than we may have ever done before. Our hearts become aligned with His will, and we begin to reflect His character in our lives. We become more like Christ, growing in humility, love, and compassion, and reflecting His grace and truth to those around us.
This is why it is called a transformation, for that is exactly what it is. We become less. He becomes more. And the whole world will see the change we have allowed Christ, through His Word, to make in us.
Meditating on God’s Word is a powerful, time-honored spiritual practice that offers amazing benefits for our growth and spiritual transformation as followers of Christ. But it takes time. This is not a sprint, but a marathon. By taking time to reflect on the words of scripture, we deepen our understanding of God’s Word, naturally memorize key verses, and allow God’s Word to transform us from the inside out. Through meditation, we draw closer to God, experience greater peace and joy, and are better equipped to resist temptation. While reading the Bible is an essential part of our spiritual growth, meditating on it takes us deeper, transforming our hearts and minds and bringing us into a closer relationship with God.
And isn’t that what we are all striving for? To be more like Christ? So again, don’t take my word for it. Try it yourself. And to help you do just that, next time I will give you some practical steps to help you meditate on His Word and reap the amazing benefits that come with it.