When we use Bible Reading as a spiritual discipline we need to be careful that the exercise doesn’t degenerate into merely reading words on a page, but that it helps us meet with God. Our minds and memories are easily distracted. Meditation is one of the most helpful tools for concentrating on reading our Bible and helping its truths sink deep into our hearts and souls.
This concept of meditation is a frequent practice and call throughout Scripture. Here are a few examples:
Joshua 1:8, “This book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night.”
Psalm 1:1-2, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand 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.”
Psalm 63:5-6, “My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night.”
Psalm 77:12, “I will ponder all your work and meditate on your mighty deeds.”
Psalm 145:5, “On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works I will meditate.”
Essentially meditation is the practice of using the truths of God, especially as we hear them from reading Scripture, to lead our thinking. When we have talked about meditation on previous occasions I have defined it as “Stopping, Pondering, Meeting”.
Stopping involves intentionally stepping away from the craziness and busy-ness of life in order to consciously and intentionally meet with God. It requires an intentional element of focusing on God.
Pondering is about churning a thought over and over in our minds and hearts. Such thinking is repetitive in that it takes a verse, truth, statement, or idea and ponders it over and over.
Meeting is perhaps the most important element of this kind of meditation. This is not about simply stopping and escaping and planning or pondering any old thing; this is about stopping and intentionally meeting with God.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes about the importance and practice of meditation. “In our meditation we ponder the chosen text on the strength of the promise that it has something utterly personal to say to us for this day and for our Christian life, that it is not only God’s Word for the Church, but also God’s word for us individually. We expose ourselves to the specific word until it addresses us personally.” [Bonhoeffer, Life Together]