How often do you read your Bible? When you read it, do you spend time thinking through what the Lord is saying or is it something you desire to check off of a list? Reading Scripture is important, but it is even more important we spend time meditating on what we have read.
The Importance of Meditating on Scripture
In Joshua chapter 1 we are told why it is important we meditate on Scripture. Before Joshua crossed over to take the land of Canaan God said to him:
Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success (Joshua 1:7-8).
It is here we learn the importance of meditating on the Word of the Lord, so that we may be careful to do according to all that is written in it.
A Way to Glorify God
If we want to be a people whose lives glorify God, then we must live in a God glorifying way, but we can’t live lives that glorify God if we do not know what it is that glorifies Him. We are not without hope though because God has left us His Word, so that we will know how to live in order to glorify Him. So then, reading and meditating on Scripture is a necessity if we want to live lives that glorify God. Reading Scripture is important so we are familiar with what it says. Meditating on Scripture is important so that it saturates our thinking.
May we all heed the command the Lord gave to Joshua to meditate on the Word of the Lord day and night, so that we may be careful to do according to all that is written in it and glorify God.
3 thoughts on “Meditating on Scripture”
some scripture is simply put by the author and meditation is an avenue to understanding and sometimes offers an awakening resulting in a change of attitude, thought or understanding. Some scripture has underlying meaning that requires more than meditation in order to arrive at an understanding. When a scholar is unavailable for discussion/explanation, what resource do you refer to when seeking a better understanding of a particular scripture outside of a study bible (ie. Matthew Henry, etc.)?
When a passage is hard to understand, I do a few things. First, I seek to figure out what the book I am reading is about as a whole, in order to determine where my passage fits into the authors overall discussion. A OT or NT survey can provide this information, as well as a good study Bible. I also like to look to Jim Hamilton’s latest book God’s Glory In Salvation Through Judgment. It is a biblical theology of the entire Bible and he provides a high level overview of all the books in the Bible.
After I understand the context and where my passage fits in, I then look to the Scripture references to see if my passage is quoted anywhere else in the Bible. If it is, I go there and read it in context to see if the author provides more meaning to the passage.
Thirdly, I often look up hard to understand words in a Lexicon. Some would include: Strongs, Lou Nida, BDAG, HALOT, or Brown Driver Briggs (BDB). Some of these are more technical than others, requiring you to know Greek or Hebrew, but if you have a computer program like Logos or Accordance, you can highlight the word and click on the resource. This allows you to use the more technical Lexicons without really needing to know Hebrew or Greek since the search will take you to the corresponding Hebrew or Greek word.
After I have an understanding of the words in the passage, as well as other passages and an understanding of the context, I look back to my passage to see if I can understand what my author is saying. At this point, I should have an idea, which I then check against a few good commentaries.
Each commentary series has different authors for the different books they publish, so I usually check http://www.bestcommentaries.com/ to see what the most recommended commentaries are for the particular book I am studying.
Resources such as Matthew Henry and Jameson, Faucett, and Brown are helpful since they provide commentary on the entire Bible, but they are a little dated as well as they are not as detailed or as thorough as some more recent commentaries.
Generally, I like the New American Commentary Series, The Pillar New Testament Series, Baker Commentary, and Baker Exegetical. The Tyndale New Testament Commentary Series is good as well as the New International Commentary on the New Testament. Some of these are more technical than others, but even without an understanding of the original languages one could use them. I really like the New American Commentary series because they seem to read and synthesis what the other more technical commentaries are saying and put it in an easy to understand format that allows the preacher to read and understand quickly, leaving the more technical aspects in the footnotes. This does not always hold true, but has been the case in a few NAC commentaries I have read lately. Also, Baker seems to do the same things in a few of their commentaries. One commentary I have been impressed with lately is the New International Commentary on the New Testament for Philippians. Oh, one other commentary series that is great is the Preaching the Word Series by Kent Hughes. These are great commentaries and are highly recommended. They are derived from expository sermons.
I hope that helps. Thanks for reading my blog.
Meditation can lead to many amazingly humbling experiences. It has so many physical, mental and spiritual benefits, it would be stupid to not practice it. Strange how many of us don’t.
Nice post! 🙂