The Word of God forms the foundation of a believer’s life. God expects believers to give regular attendance to the preaching and teaching of the Word. In addition, believers are to read the Bible, study it, believe it, and obey it. The Word also instructs the believer to meditate upon its truths. Although I have no data to support the supposition, I suspect that of all the foregoing responsibilities, the one most neglected might well be meditation. The writer of Psalm One describes the righteous person as one whose “delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night” (v. 2). To meditate means simply to “ponder.”
We live in a culture that has little time or inclination for pondering or meditating—on anything. Many people, even Christians, shy away from the quietness of their thoughts, seemingly almost afraid to live without some electronic device occupying their attention. But the reality is that meditating on Scripture is crucial for the spiritual life of a believer. For one who fails to meditate on Scripture not only disobeys the Word of God but also robs himself of vital spiritual nourishment that would increase his spiritual growth, and he denies himself the blessings of fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
The meditation enjoined by Scripture shares nothing in common with the meditation practiced by adherents to Buddhism and other eastern mystical sects. Such meditation involves an attempt to “empty” the mind or the self, a dangerous practice that invites demonic influence if not actual possession. The meditation encouraged by Scripture is just the opposite of that exercise; instead, it requires a very conscious engagement of the mind to actively consider the meaning and ramifications of some portion of the Word of God.
Meditation may be provoked by study; it certainly may provoke study. But the terms are not strictly synonymous. Study is the broader of the two, suggesting the whole array of efforts, especially mental, directed toward understanding the Word, the use of biblical tools such as commentaries, technical considerations of language and grammar, comparing Scripture with Scripture, etc. Meditation certainly must involve those things to be of any value, but the term emphasizes the aspect of study that entails the mental and spiritual faculties, the rolling of truths around in the heart and mind, so to speak, weighing and considering their significance, waiting on the Spirit of God to illuminate and emphasize the truth, making them “come alive” so that they are more than technical doctrinal facts and cold principles.
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