What is Bible Meditation?
The Bible tells us to meditate upon the word of God day and night (Psalm 1:2) 1On his law, he meditates day and night.. Given it is something we are supposed to do, we must know what meditation is. How on earth can it be done day and night without it exhausting us and becoming very difficult?
Eight things it is not
Bible meditation is not the same thing as the ‘meditation’ talked about by different groups of people in our present-day culture.
• It is not sitting on a mat doing exercises.
• It is not relaxation techniques.
• It is not making our minds blank.
• It is not mindfulness.
• It is not some mystical experience.
• It is not listening to a worship recording.
• It is not some kind of religious activity that was practised in a monastery by the Celts.
• It is not a Bible study.
What is Meditation?
Bible meditation is applying the word of God to our lives. It involves chewing over what we have read in the Bible and making it part of how we live our lives.
Cows eat a lot of grass, but this is a food source that is very hard to digest. Because of this, cows have multiple stomachs. When they first swallow the grass, it goes into their first stomach. After a little while, the cow regurgitates the grass and chews it over. This is what cows are doing when they sit chewing the cud. It is swallowed again and goes into a different stomach. Gradually the grass becomes part of the cow.
Bible meditation involves initially reading the Bible and becoming familiar with its contents. As we live our lives, we face situations and issues in which parts of what we have read come to mind. We think and reflect on how the Bible teachings apply to us in the real world and apply our conclusions to life decisions.
This chewing over can be done day and night and is not a burden; instead, it sets us free to make good choices and wise decisions. It brings great benefit to our lives. This was highlighted by animals which chew the cud being classified as clean animals (Leviticus 11:1-3) 2 1 Yahweh spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying to them, 2 “Speak to the children of Israel, saying, ‘These are the living things which you may eat among all the animals that are on the earth. 3 Whatever parts the hoof, and is cloven-footed, and chews the cud among the animals, that you may eat..
An example of Bible meditation
The Bible tells us that we should be willing to tell others about the good news of Jesus, but what does this mean in practice? As a secondary school child, I decided after thinking this over what I could do about this was to wear two small badges on my blazer. They said, “Jesus is Lord,” and “Jesus Saves.” This approach opened the door for countless conversations and interactions in my school.
When I moved to college, I only wore these badges on the first day and have never worn them since. On meditating again upon what it meant to witness for Jesus, I realised that a different approach was needed. Much of my ‘evangelism’ was through discussion and essay within the college. Again, when I began my career, I approached witnessing differently and as my job changed, so my approaches changed.
Some of the ways we apply Bible principles are lifelong but others change with time. The principles remain unchanged, but the circumstances and who we are changing.
Others can’t meditate for us
The way Bible principles are applied is not the same for every person in every situation. It can be harmful, trying to live like someone else when their temperament and circumstances differ from ours.
For example, some of Jesus potential disciples had to sell everything; others did not do this (Matthew 19:21) 3 21 Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”, (Luke 19:8) 48 Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, half of my goods I give to the poor. If I have wrongfully exacted anything of anyone, I restore four times as much.”.
There is a tendency in our culture for a one size fits all approach to life. When we hear certain words, we immediately have a stereotype of what this means. What quickly comes to mind when you hear the word evangelism, worship, giving, or church? Have you ever considered that your approach to these may need to be different from these stereotypes?
If you give serious thought to how you can do these differently you are meditating on the Biblical principles that underpin these activities.
Unity not unison
An orchestra has many different instruments. They play different melodies in different ways and at different times. The overall effect creates a beautiful unity which is harmonious. If an orchestra only plays the same instrument in precisely the same way it is playing in unison and it very quickly becomes tedious and repetitive.
The church is the body of Christ. As a body has many different functioning parts, so does the church (1 Corinthians 12:12) 512 For as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ..
We are more vibrant and more influential in our differences because we apply the same principles according to who we are and our circumstances. The key to doing this is meditation.