“If the Word does not dwell with power in us, it will not pass with power from us.” John Owen
Continuing the series of posts on Bible meditation, I wanted to list some practical ideas for how to do it. While meditation can be a result of reflecting on something in creation, life experiences, conversations, our future in eternity, or other things, we’ll focus on meditating on Scripture.
Ways to Meditate on Scripture
- Read a Bible passage or verse slowly. Then, make observations about what you see in the text.
- Is there something I’m struggling with right now (a sin, temptation, area of unbelief, discouragement, etc.)? Meditate on scripture and truths that speak to this.
- What did you hear last Sunday at your local church? Meditate on the scriptures and truths you heard on Sunday’s sermon, or from small group.
- Pick an attribute, work, or promise of God to meditate on.
- Meditate on a verse or section you’ve memorized.
- Rewrite a text in your own words or summarize it in your own words in a sentence or tweet.
- Journal your thoughts, observations, applications, questions, and prayers as you read the text.
- Pray through the text or into the text.
- Read a few translations (ESV, CSB, NASB, NIV, NLT, Message) so that various words can help you think more deeply or different about specific words or phrases.
- Read someone else’s song, poem, prayer, mediation, or commentary on a passage or truth to help you think more deeply on it.
- Think through what something in a text means, what are illustrations or metaphors picturing it more clearly, how you would explain it to someone, ways it applies to your life and even this day, how you might lean into throughout the day, what you can cling to in it, what you need to respond to or obey, how you can pray in it (praises, thanksgiving, confession, requests, lament).
- Take specific words or phrases and dwell on them, savor them, roll them around in your mind.
- Let this passage cause you to reflect on God and allow your heart to be stirred in worship towards him. Answer questions like, what does this passage tell me about the attributes, character, or works of God? What promises apply to me here? How has the gospel made this true for me? What does God want me to see about how he is for me through this text? How can I thank, pray, and worship God because of this passage?
- Consider how you would communicate or even teach this text to someone else.
- As you drive, how can you keep thinking about these truths? Consider doing some of the things above or meditating on similar questions as you drive.
- Share with someone during the day or at home what you learned. Let conversation allow you to digest the truth more and go deeper.
- Maybe try to memorize a verse or truth, or remember a one sentence/phrase summary, and keep recalling that throughout the day. Text or email what you read to a friend to encourage them, or to share and ask them to help you walk in it.
- Be on the lookout throughout the day for ways God might be using that truth or lesson or promise in your life. Where do you see it showing up? How was it lived out? Where can it be applied?
- Pray short prayers throughout the day in light of this truth. If you pray at other times (meals, with someone, before doing something, before bed), let this inform your prayers.
- Before bed, meditate on the truth again in some way. Ask God to seal it on your heart.
- Think in terms of Now and Later. How do I meditate right now but also keep doing so later?
For additional ideas, see Justin Taylor’s article that draws out 17 ways to meditate from Don Whitney’s book.