White Horse Inn Modern Reformation

Meditating on Scripture

Published Monday, March 15, 2021 By Dave Jenkins

One of the best reasons for memorizing the Scriptures is so that it fuels biblical meditation. When we memorize a verse of Scripture, we can meditate on it anytime, day or night. Psalm 119:97 says, “Oh, how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day.”

In Joshua 1:8, we see the connection between success and the practice of meditation. Genuine success is not granted to those who stare off into space, but instead to those who stare deep into the Word of God. Biblical meditation invites Christians into the world of God in his Word, where real refreshment and joy begins. Every Christian who wants to grow in grace meditates on the Word and thinks deeply on the Word of God. The fruit of biblical meditation is action.[1] As we hear, read, study, and memorize the Word, the power of Scripture, fueled by biblical meditation, inflames and enlarges our soul. The more we engage in biblical meditation, the more we see the Word giving off its heat onto us, illuminating its truth to us through the Holy Spirit, whose Word provides insight and understanding, resulting in a passion for obedience to God by his grace. Thomas Watson pointedly notes, “The reason we come away so cold from reading the Word is because we do not warm ourselves at the fire of meditation.”[2]

Biblical meditation is where we fill our minds with God’s truth and where our hearts and minds are enflamed with a passion for God. As George Mueller said, “The vigor of our spiritual life will be in exact proportion to the place held by the Bible in our life and thoughts.”[3] Mueller is right: how we view the Bible affects what we do with the Bible. It’s what we do with the Word of God and how we view it and believe it that will lead to having the right actions in light of biblical truth. And that’s why hearing, reading, and studying the Bible is so essential and also why biblical meditation is so critical. These are lifelong pursuits; eternal things. So, we press on and grow because, as Mueller says, if we have the right view of the Bible itself, then we’ll hold it in the right place in our hearts, thoughts, and lives.

Biblical Meditation and The Promises of God

What we think about reveals what we delight in. As a Christian, your life in Christ thrives best when your head and heart are in the soil of God’s Word. It is in biblical meditation that we can soak up the water of the Word of God.[4]

Growing up in Seattle, I saw what happens when it rains hard—and by hard I’m talking a torrent of rain for several hours. Like the rains in Seattle, the Lord, through his Word, promises to take the Scriptures and bring them home into the soil-bed of our hearts. Without absorbing the Word of God, it will run off as rain runs into the drain after it downpours in Seattle. Biblical meditation is one means of grace the Lord uses to help Christians be productive and fruitful servants of God. Biblical meditation is critical in our times when we face a torrent of information each day, because it helps Christians to be shaped by the Word and to grow in the grace of God. The Lord desires to take his Word and plant it deep into our hearts and lives, and one way he does this is through biblical meditation. The fruit of biblical meditation is a growing maturity in Christ.

Praying the Word

Integral to meditating on the Word is praying through the Word. As Psalm 119:18 tells us, “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your life.” John 14:26 tells us that the Holy Spirit guides the Christian into all truth of the Scriptures. Meditation is more than merely concentration or mental energy being exerted for exertion’s sake. Rather, we ought to pray and ask for illumination (to open our understanding to the Scripture), because doing so intensifies spiritual perception.

The Bible was written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. So, pray for the Holy Spirit to expand your understanding of the text, so that you can rightly understand it as you meditate on the Word. Praying over Scripture is an invitation for the Holy Spirit to hold his divine light over the text to show you what you cannot see without him. Consider, for example, why you would turn the light on in a room. Without the light switch turned on, you cannot see in the room. The Holy Spirit illuminates the Scripture so the lights “turn on” to help you see what you were unable to perceive without his gracious guidance in Scripture.

Conclusion

Memorizing the Scriptures allows us to store up God’s truths in our hearts and minds and meditation is deep thinking on biblical truth, which defines biblical reality. Christian meditation is linked with prayer to God and responsible Holy Spirit-filled human action to bring about genuine transformation by the grace of God. Biblical Christian meditation is possible because of the grace of the Lord, who we can trust because he is wholly good, trustworthy, righteous, loving, and just in all his ways. The purpose of memorizing and meditating on the Word of God is for the sake of proper application. Perhaps you can’t possibly add another moment of your time to Scripture reading and memorization; I get it and I understand. Take what time you do have to spend in the Word and focus it. Read less, but use a more focused method to read, study, memorize, and meditate on the Word.

The truth is, you can meditate any time on the Word (there is no specific minute or hour). Unlike how we need sleep as finite creatures, the Lord is infinite and doesn’t need time to sleep.[5] The best time to encounter the Word of God occurs as we are reading and delighting in him.

This article is an excerpt of Dave Jenkins, The Word Explored: The Problem of Biblical Illiteracy & What to Do about It , pp. 35-39, and is used with permission.

Dave Jenkins (MDiv, Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary) is the executive director of Servants of Grace Ministries, the executive editor of Theology for Life Magazine, and the host of the Equipping You in Grace Podcast and Warriors of Grace Podcast. He is also the author of The Word Explored: The Problem of Biblical Illiteracy and What to Do About It (House to House Press, 2021). You can follow him on Twitter at @davejjenkins, find him on Facebook at Dave Jenkins SOGInstagram, or read more of his writing at Servants of Grace.


[1] Psalm 39:3.

[2] Thomas Watson, “How We May Read the Scriptures with Most Spiritual Profit,” in Puritan Sermons (1674; reprint, Wheaton, IL: Richard Owen Roberts, 1981), 2:62.

[3] As attributed to George Mueller.  

[4] Ephesians 5:26.

[5] Isaiah 40:28.

  • Dave Jenkins