Meditation: Ten Motives and a Ten Step Method

Meditation on the Bible’s practical exhortations and commands reminds us of our Christian duties. What we think about is what we eventually do

Recently I had the privilege of addressing the Ministry Wives Institute at Puritan reformed Seminary on the Motives and Method of meditation. Here’s the outline:

 

Ten Motives to Meditation  

1. It stops sin: If we hide God’s Word in our heart it will stop sin at its roots (Ps. 119:11).  

2. It starts good: Meditation on the Bible’s practical exhortations and commands reminds us of our Christian duties. What we think about is what we eventually do (Prov. 23:7).  

3. It guides and refreshes prayer: Meditation on verses of Scripture opens up new topics and areas for prayer.  

4. It turns sleeplessness into a blessing: The Psalmist turned the “wasted” hours of insomnia into a soul-enriching feast (Ps. 63:5-6).  

5. It uses time well: It is a far more profitable than, say, watching the TV. It will also make you happier (Ps. 1:1-3)  

6. It makes you ready to witness: By filling our hearts with God and His Word we will be much more ready to give an answer to every man that asks a reason for the hope that we have (1 Pet. 3:15).  

7. It helps you in fellowship: You can edify others in fellowship because you can propose a verse for discussion and give some thoughts upon it.  

8. It increases communion with God: God meets with His people through the Scriptures. A person who never thinks on Scripture will never meet and walk with God.  

9. It revives spiritual life: To be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace (Rom.8:6).  

10. It has many scriptural precedents and examples (Ps. 19:14; 39:3; 77:12): My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD (Ps. 104:34).  

Ten Step Method of Meditation  

1. Limit: Set apart no more than 5-10 minutes to begin with, and start with one short verse or part of a verse.  

2. Vary: Some days chose a theological verse, others a practical or devotional text.  

3. Write: Write the text on a small index card, and put it in a place you will come across regularly (purse or pocket?).  

4. Memorize: Memorize the text in 2-3 word blocks by saying it out loud. Set specific times in the day to recall verse (coffee/meal times).  

5. Focus: Pick out the key words and look them up in a dictionary (English or Bible). Substitute some words with parallel meanings or even opposite meanings.  

6. Question: Interrogate the verse (who, what, where, when, why, how?).  

7. Explain: Think about how would you explain the verse to a child or someone with no Christian background.  

8. Pray: Use the verse in prayer (worship, confession, thanks, petition).  

9. Review: File the cards and every Sunday read them and test your memory of them.  

10. Do: Not just an intellectual exercise but let it lead to practice (believe, repent, hope, love, etc.).  

David Murray is Professor of Old Testament & Practical Theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary.  This article first appeared on his blog and is used with permission.