How do we read the Bible? Meditate on it!
“May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14
“He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’” Psalm 46:10
If you haven’t noticed by now, I’ll go ahead and remind you again, I love the Bible. I love studying the Bible, reading the Bible, I even love the feeling of sitting down and flipping the Bible open in the morning because it’s become a cue for me to slow down the normally rapid pace of my days and just be.
When I first started to read the Bible, I didn’t find this same fascination in it, and a big part of that was that I had no idea what I was doing. My approach lacked intentionality, but it also wasn’t founded on a deep, abiding relationship with the Lord that brings the Bible to life.
I hope over the last few weeks, these strategies have become tips you can tuck into your back pocket and pull out when you feel like your approach to the Bible needs little extra help. Don’t worry, we aren’t finished yet. This one is extra special to me, because it’s a practice that helped me to approach God’s Word, find Him in it, and realize the life changing truth that God still speaks today, and He speaks to me, and He wants to speak to you too.
Meditating was never really “my thing.” I’m not a peaceful, quiet, or chill person. Honestly, I’m quite the opposite. I eat breakfast while driving, listening to a podcast, and finishing my makeup all at the same time. I’m usually running late, and I love telling stories that make everyone in a room’s heads turn and fill a space with laughter. Silence kind of makes me uncomfortable. There has to be something happening at all times. If it’s not right in front of me, I’m probably on my way searching for it.
But, I’ve found a way to meditate that works for me, and it helps me to quiet my soul and rest in the presence of my good and Holy God. If I can learn to love meditation then you can too.
This practice is called lectio divina which means “divine reading.” There are some variations on how to do it, but as with any of these practices, do what works best for you.
First, simply read the passage. I prefer to read a shorter passage, usually only a few verses, but any length works. I recommend reading it multiple times. The first time, I just read the passage to see what is happening in it. Then, I’ll say a simple prayer, asking God to meet with me and for His Spirit to guide my time in the Word. I’ll invite the Spirit to speak to me through the Word, and ask the Spirit to highlight something specific to me. This seems like a simple step, but it has become a crucial step for me when approaching the Bible.
Then, as I read the passage again, I’ll pay close attention to what God wants to say to me through His Word. Sometimes, it’s easy to start to apply a passage to your life too quickly. I try to specifically look for what God wants to say, instead of what I might think He wants to say. Don’t get too caught up in what you’re thinking about the day ahead or a conversation you regret, or what you think God is leading you in to in the next season.
Just read, and see if there is a word or phrase that stands out to you.
Now, as I read a third time, I’m paying close attention to that word or phrase I feel like the Holy Spirit is guiding me to pay close attention to. After reading, I’ll enter into a time of meditation. It might sound mystical or weird, but trust me, if I can do it anyone can.
Here are some general questions you might want to ask or think through while you meditate on the text:
-What emotion did you feel as you read?
-What emotion do you feel as you repeat the word or phrase back to yourself? Why?
-What is God leading you to recognize about Himself in the passage?
-What might God want to remind you about Himself, or about you as His son or daughter today?
-Do you see a connection between the passage and your life?
-Is God prompting you in any way to change your attitude, thought patterns, or actions?
After your time of meditation, you might want to read the passage another time to allow it to really soak into your spirit and to allow the Spirit to continue to speak to you. Then, begin a time of contemplation and rest.
For me, this is where I feel that “peace that surpasses all understanding” and I’m able to rest in my Father’s arms as if He came down from heaven just to sit on the couch with me and sip coffee in the morning and give me a big hug. That’s when I rest in the truth and reminders I found in His Word, and rest in the truth He has spoken over me that day. It’s when I remember He is my God, and I am His daughter, and that is a truth I can rest in and be fulfilled in. It’s all I need.
Then I’ll let that contemplation turn into prayer and ask God to help me to remember what He’s taught me that day, and to carry it into my life. I want to ask Him to let His truth transform me, and for my actions and attitudes to be impacted by the time we spent together, just like how after living in the south for a bit I’ve started to say “y’all” I want to look and sound more like Jesus after I’ve spent time with Him.
How to Engage:
Below are 7 passages for this week. If you are using another Bible plan, you can stick with it and implement this tool there too. If not, look up these passages and meditate on them. The key steps for this practice are reading, prayer, meditation, and contemplation. Allow the Spirit of God to speak to you and minister to you as you take the time to be still in His presence.
Monday: 1 Samuel 16:6-13
Tuesday: Deuteronomy 8:6-9
Wednesday: 2 Kings 4:1-7
Thursday: Proverbs 12:1-10
Friday: Psalm 84
Saturday: John 11:1-11
Sunday: 1 Thessalonians 4:8-12
-Do you have experience meditating on scripture? What has or hasn’t worked for you?
-How can you make a practice of being still in God’s presence and contemplating who He is? (psalm 46:10)
-What attitudes, emotions, thoughts or behaviors change when you spend time in God’s presence?
Hey Lord, thank you for being faithful to show up and speak to us in your Word. Thank you for ministering to our hearts, minds and spirits. May our meditations be pleasing in your sight Lord, let us meditate on your goodness, graciousness, and kindness every day. Thank you for reminding us of who you are, and who we are in you. Amen.