How to Meditate on Scripture
The “Blessed” Person
The entire book of Psalms begins with this, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.” (Psalm 1:1-2)
Let’s quickly break this down.
We have a person who is blessed because of their strong resistance of going the way of the world. They will not walk with the world, stand with the world, or sit with the world. Why? Because something else has their delight – the law of the Lord. We’re told that on this law they meditate day and night – in other words, constantly. Something about meditating on God’s law (God’s Word) produces in them a delight for it.
And that’s true for all of us.
Something about meditating on Scripture helps us see the deceitfulness of the world and the trustworthiness of God – resulting in a delight for God and His Word. If we continue to read the first Psalm, we see that this blessed person is “like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.” In other words, when we find our ultimate joy and counsel in God rather than the world, we’re solid. We don’t get swept up with worldly things that consume our time, energy, and money, but we’re satisfied completely in God and His Word.
4 General Ways to Meditate on Scripture
So, how do we get there? Well, meditation is definitely a great starting point.
Here’s some of what you need to do to begin biblical meditation:¹
1) You need to read the Bible. Start in Mark or Romans or Genesis – just pick a book. Or find a reading plan (I use the app, Read Scripture). This is the first step in meditation, because without actual Scripture, you’ll have nothing to meditate on. Biblical meditation’s purpose isn’t relaxation or “emptying one’s mind.” Rather, it’s disciplined and intentional focus and reflection on Scripture for the purpose of filling one’s mind with God’s truth.
2) You need to stop reading the Bible. Genuine meditation can’t happen if you’ve spent your entire time reading the Bible (professor Don Whitney brings this up in a conversation we had with him). In order for meditation to take place, you need a verse or two that you’ve chosen to intentionally focus on.
3) You need to look, reflect, and pray. You need to simply look at the Scripture you’ve selected. What does it say? What does it mean? What does it say about God? Then you need to reflect on it. Why is this in God’s Word? How does it better portray the gospel? How does this apply to me today? Lastly, you need to pray the passage. In prayer, thank God for what this Scripture spoke about Him, about Jesus, and about the gospel. Ask the Lord to help you apply its truth to your life today.
4) You could memorize. Beneficial biblical meditation can happen without memorization, but memorization can never hurt (unless you spend your entire time memorizing). Especially if your passage is just a verse or two, it shouldn’t take that long to memorize. The extra benefit of memorization is that you can take that Scripture with you throughout the day – constantly speaking it out (in your head and out loud, when you can).
These are just a few ways to begin biblical meditation. If you want to know more, check out these 17 ways to meditate on Scripture from Don Whitney.
And let us remember, something about meditating on Scripture helps us see the deceitfulness of the world and the trustworthiness of God. I don’t know about you, but I need that kind of vision.
¹ To be clear, this is not an exhaustive list whatsoever. These are just some basic steps to begin the practice of biblical meditation.