We have seen that Jesus clearly believed Scripture to be true and just how important Scripture is to our lives. But the question now comes, what do we do with it? When it comes to the Bible normally we read it in two ways, first we meditate upon it and secondly we study it.
Meditate – The kind of meditation encouraged in the Bible differs from other kinds of meditation in several ways. While some advocate a kind of meditation in which you do your best to empty your mind, Christian meditation involves filling your mind with God and truth. For some, meditation is an attempt to achieve complete mental passivity, but biblical meditation requires constructive mental activity. Worldly meditation employs visualization techniques intended to “create your own reality.” And while Christian history has always had a place for the sanctified use of our God-given imagination in meditation, imagination is our servant to help us meditate on things that are true (Philippians 4:8). Furthermore, instead of “creating our own reality” through visualization, we link meditation with prayer to God and responsible, Spirit-filled human action to effect changes.
Meditation is deep thinking on the truths and spiritual realities revealed in Scripture for the purposes of understanding, application, and prayer. Meditation goes beyond hearing, reading, studying, and even memorizing as a means of taking in God’s Word.
Meditation is the missing link between Bible intake and prayer. The two are often disjointed when they should be united as we seen while looking at prayer. We read the Bible, close it, and then try to shift gears into prayer. But many times it seems as if the gears between the two won’t mesh. In fact, after some forward progress in our time in the Word, shifting to prayer sometimes is like suddenly moving back into neutral or even reverse. Instead there should be a smooth, almost unnoticeable transition between Scripture input and prayer output so that we move even closer to God in those moments. This happens when there is the link of meditation in between.
Study – Jonathan Edwards said ‘Resolved, to study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.’
This is a lesson learned by George Mueller. In the first years of George Mueller’s Christian life, he spent more time reading the works of men than the Scriptures. Up until the day of his conversion he could not even recall reading one chapter of the Book of books. However, in the ninety-second year of his life he told his biographer that for every page he had read in any other book he was sure that he had proportionately read ten pages of the Bible. During the last twenty years of his life he read through the Scripture four or five times annually. He wrote ‘Now what is food for the inner man? Not prayer, but the Word of God; and here again, not the simple reading of the Word of God, so that it only passes through our minds, just as water passes through a pipe, but considering what we read, pondering it over and applying it to our hearts.’
Studying Scripture and meditating upon it is so important for our spiritual growth, the next days we will look at how we can do this.