I believe as Christians, we are called to read our Bibles daily. If we are seeking an intimate relationship with the Lord, it only makes sense that we would seek Him out each day for wisdom, insight, counsel and strength. I know simply reading the Bible every day is a very real challenge for many Christians, so what I am going to delve into next may seem like a very impossible task, however, I hope you will all feel encouraged by the end of my speel.
We have quiet time in my house, usually every afternoon while the littles nap. This is always a much anticipated time of my day because I get some time to work through Bible studies, read, blog and pray. Today, I was nursing my youngest in her room and in the stillness I meditated on my Beth Moore Bible study Living Free. In the day’s devotion she wrote, “The more we’ve been satisfied by God’s love, His Word and His presence, the more we yearn for it. On the other hand, we can spend so much time away from the Lord that we no longer feel hungry or thirsty” (pg. 79)
I know when I am in the Lord’s Word daily and meditating on it, my relationship with the Lord deepens. My eyes are opened to so much of His truth that I have yet to see on my own understanding. It spurs a fire in my soul to want to know more and experience more of His Word with such clarity and understanding. However, I have also experienced the opposite, where I have neglected my Bible reading, disengaged from Bible studies and went about my days disconnected from the Lord. It is always during this time that I feel the enemy’s attacks and thankfully by God’s grace, He is always waiting for me to turn back to Him. But it is a scary place to be- to not even yearn for the Lord. I know how easy it is to get to this place of self-reliance, especially when we aren’t prioritizing reading our Bibles. Even if all we ever do is simply read our Bibles, I believe our relationship with the Lord will only ever be superficial. It will only ever scratch the surface, because it is not until we meditate on His Word that we move into an intimate relationship with Him.
In the book of Amos, the Lord speaks to His people and says, “The time is surely coming […] when I will send a famine on the land- not a famine of bread or water but of hearing the words of the Lord” (8:11). I believe we are living in this time of famine. When technology has made the word of God readily available at our fingertips and translated in multiple languages, there is no excuse for us to not be in His word daily. There is no excuse why we do not know the history, people and stories of the Bible. The Bible reveals God’s heart for us and it is only seen when read from start to finish at least once. I have had conversations with people who can quote Scripture and can go into big debates about why God would do this or why God would allow that? Yet they do not know the history or context of the passage. They have not seen the wickedness of the people and the patience of God. They have not seen the rebellion and destruction of man and the love and sacrifice of the Father.
If all we ever did was read our friend’s Facebook posts, scroll through their pictures, send the occasional text, how intimate of a relationship can we have with them? We aren’t seeing the struggles going on in their lives, we aren’t asking the hard questions, we aren’t looking to engage in their lives. The same applies to our relationship with the Lord.
The Old Testament uses the word meditate 23 times and 19 times is in the book of Psalms. One of my favorite passages is Joshua 1:8, “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” How can we have discernment or wisdom, if we do not know His word? He has given us His word, so we do not need to misstep and stumble through life. He desires for us to know goodness, not hardship.
In Psalm 119:97-99, it says, “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long. Your commands are always with me and make me wiser than my enemies. I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes.” The enemy is on the prowl. He is looking for an opportunity to catch you off guard and ill-equipped. He is well-versed in Scripture and knows how to twist it ever so slightly to make you stumble in your ways. In the book of Matthew 4:1-11, Jesus is fasting in the wilderness for 40 days, when satan chooses to come and tempt Him. In verse 6, Satan quotes Psalm 91:11-12, “He will order his angels to protect you. And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone,” yet Jesus who is the Word, quotes Deuteronomy 6:16, “You must not test the Lord your God.” The enemy was not wrong in his reference of Scripture, but Jesus had a better verse that better suited His story and current situation. We must know our Bibles and meditate on His word so it is on our hearts whenever we may need it.
It is through meditating on His word that we establish an intimate relationship with the Lord and therefore will be able to hear Him and recognize His voice. In John 10:27, it says, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” How do we hear His voice? By reading His word, meditating on Scripture and praying intimately. When we do all these things, we recognize His voice and distinguish it from the enemy with ease. Then, we don’t get so easily tripped up in the enemies lies and traps. We will have discernment and wisdom to follow and obey Him.
So, here are 5 ways to meditate on the Word:
(I encourage meditating on smaller chunks of Scripture at a time, usually a chapter a day, so you can get an in-depth understanding.)
- S.O.A.P- This stands for Scripture, Observation, Application and Prayer. It is a simple yet practical way to meditate on Scripture. It’s a great method for those just starting out because it’s an easy format to follow. You start by reading a passage of Scripture, highlighting a verse or two that stands out to you and write it down in your journal. Next, read over your verse a few times. Ask the Lord to speak to you and bring to mind any insights or revelations. Look for key words repeated, define certain words, compare and contrast, etc. For application, take some time to write down how this passage applies to your life specifically or to the culture in general. Last, write out a prayer that incorporates part of the verse. Ask the Lord to provide wisdom, counsel or guidance. Take this time to thank Him for His word and to apply it to your life.
- Memorizing Scripture- This is an important one and often pushed aside because people usually feel like memorization is not something they are capable of doing. I felt like this when I first started out. The best and easiest place to start is searching for popular Scripture verses to memorize online. There are wonderful people who have taken the time to compile lists of key verses that come up a lot in conversation or through sermons. This is one way, or you can start your own list by highlighting key verses that speak to you while reading through your Bible. I would encourage starting with 2-3 verses, copy them down and put them somewhere you can read them throughout the day. One thing that really helped me at first was to create actions to go along with the verses. After a while, it will be impressed upon your heart and you won’t need the actions anymore. Continue to add verses to your list as you get comfortable with your initial ones.
- Word Study- I would encourage doing a word study after you’ve read the Bible a couple of times and have tried some of the above methods. A word study is a great way to go deeper into God’s word. Many times our English version of the word just doesn’t hold the same weight to the word in its original language. Often times, it can have multiple meanings or a definition that differs from our cultural understanding of the word today. Word study is best done by reading commentaries on a selected verse. The best time to do a word study is when you feel confused by a passage of Scripture. Maybe it isn’t lining up with what you have read so far in the Bible or the meaning doesn’t make sense in the context of the passage. I encourage you to take some time to search for commentaries online or another valuable resource is a word study Bible.
- Study Bible- I purchased a study Bible for my second read through the Bible. I enjoyed my first read through, but I felt like I had a lot of questions and confusion about certain things historically. This can be especially true when reading through the Old Testament. A study Bible has built in commentary at the bottom of every page to help you get a more thorough understanding of the Scripture. There are also usually maps, timelines, introductions to each book of the Bible, character studies and more. This helped clarify a lot of questions and confusions from my first read and enabled me to get a good grasp of the historical timeline, the interwoven narrative, and salvation message from the very first book of Genesis to the last book of the Bible, Revelations.
- Bible Study- There are multiple reasons why I highly encourage Bible studies. First, they give you a thorough breakdown of a book of the Bible or a key theme in Scripture. They provide you with the opportunity to delve into your Bible and find Scripture, mull over some big ideas and create healthy habits of reading your Bible and praying. Secondly, Bible studies can provide you with the opportunity to fellowship with other believers. Not every Bible study needs to be done in a group setting, but I have found great encouragement and support by doing Bible studies with others. Not only are they a great source of accountability, but they can speak light and truth into your life. In Hebrews 10:25, its reads, “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near.” In the book of Matthew Jesus says, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” We should be greatly encouraged by this verse. When we gather together, even with one other person, to study His word and pray in His name, He is there with us. It is through His Spirit that we receive revelation and wisdom and that is something I most definitely want and need in my life.
My prayer for you is that the LORD “will fill you with the knowledge of His will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of Him” (Colossians 1:9-10).
SHARE: How do you meditate on the word? What’s one new way you can meditate on the word?