How often do we read a Bible verse and just hours, or a day later, find that we can’t recall much about it? It happens to every one of us from time to time. We read God’s Word, but we don’t always think about the next steps to living it out in our lives.
We’ve probably all experienced times when shortly after reading a passage from the Bible, we can’t remember what it said. Knowing that every believer should read Scripture, sometimes we treat it as a duty to be checked off rather than a valuable opportunity to commune with God. Although consistent Bible reading is important, our minds must be engaged and focused in order to benefit from it. In other words, we need to learn to meditate on God’s Word, not just read the words.
The Scriptures were given to us by God so we could know Him. Although no one can fully comprehend all that is written by an infinite God, He has made it possible for Christians to understand His Word. Yet comprehension is not to be an end in itself. In order to be transformed by the Word, we must also apply what it says to our lives.
Therefore, as we read, we must think deeply about God’s Word and practice prayerful application by asking the Lord to clarify it for us and show us any words of encouragement, warning, or command. The goal is not simply to get through a Bible reading plan but to let our meditation be pleasing to God (Ps. 104:34).
The Lord has preserved His Word so that every generation can read, hear, and apply it. Scripture should be as precious to us as it was to David who said, “O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day” (Ps. 119:97). God’s Word gives us wisdom, insight, understanding, and protection from sin and every false way. It is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path to guide us through life (vv. 98-105).
If we truly believe everything this psalm says, we will read the Word rather than fill our minds with ideas from other sources that lead us astray. Whatever we choose to put into our minds influences our behavior, and that is exactly what the Scripture will do if we tune our hearts toward it rather than the world.
What is godly meditation? Meditation is the process by which we learn to listen to the Lord through His Word, apply biblical principles to our lives, and watch God work. When we trusted Jesus Christ as our Savior, the Holy Spirit came to indwell and seal us as children of God, empower us to live righteously, and teach us to believe and understand His Word. As we meditate on Scripture, the Holy Spirit applies its truths to our lives according to the needs of the moment, giving us the right perspective and direction for every circumstance we face.
People without Christ lack God’s guidance and are like someone adrift in the ocean without a compass or map. However, as believers we have access to divine direction for life. In meditation we think about what God has said and pray as David did: “Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name” (Ps. 86:11).