I always like to hear about the ways people spend time in God’s Word. There are so many different methods – read the bible in a year, read the NT in a year, inductive study, S.O.A.P. journals, even the often used L.Y.B.F.O. method - 'letting your bible fall open' to a random page and hoping God gives you direction about some important decision. I’ve used that one more than I want to admit.
I don’t seem to be able to get too much out of it if I’m trying to read a big chunk in one sitting. I know that reading through the bible like that gives you context that you don’t get in one section only. But I am much too task-oriented and anal about lists. Instead of enriching my historical perspective and gaining valuable insight into the prophetic thread that runs through scripture, I’m completely focused on the boxes next to the readings for the day and ‘conquering’ the assignment – which tends to make you miss a lot of personal application. Ya think?
Many years ago, I heard a pastor speak on the importance of meditating on God’s word and he described it this way:
“…pondering the words of a verse or verses of Scripture, with a receptive heart, allowing the Holy Spirit to take the written Word and apply it as the living word to the inner being.”
Campbell McAlpine - "Alone With God"
That really appealed to me. Then he went on to show how many times in Scripture we’re told to meditate on God’s word – it’s a command!
Webster defines meditation this way:
meditate: to reflect on, contemplate, focus one’s thoughts on, ponder over, think in a calm and deliberate manner
So more than 30 years ago, I began to take time in the morning to meditate, usually on just one or two verses. I’ve asked God to show me a book of the bible to go through, verse by verse, in this way. Here are some of the ways I meditate:
- read the verse slowly several times, sometimes out loud
- try to quiet my heart and thoughts so that the Holy Spirit can speak to me through the passage
- think about what God might intend to say to me
- ask questions about anything I don’t understand
- look up related passages/words using a concordance or chain reference
- write the verse out in my journal
- write it again in my own words
- write out a prayer about the verse
I wish I could tell you how wonderful this practice has been for me.
Have I done this every day for 30 years? NO. Self-discipline has never been something I could brag about. I remember so many times when the girls were little and got up before me or when life has just seemed to squeeze me or when I've been flat-out lazy that I didn’t make it a priority.
But when I have, it has been the single most fruitful and life-giving thing in my life.
God has met me every single time I’ve meditated on His word. Sometimes I’ve told Him – “Now I understand that verse in Hebrews 4 that says Your word is alive and active!”
He’s directed, prodded and convicted me.
Encouraged, enlightened and energized me when I needed it so.
Reminded, rewarded and renewed my sinking spirit.
This command to meditate on God’s word is so that we are filled with TRUTH, God’s perspective instead of our own and faith in who He is. What better way to know God’s character, His faithfulness and His promises?
Maybe you are needing a fresh way to spend time in God’s word. I hope you find some of God’s best gifts as He speaks to you through meditating on His word!