How To Meditate On Scripture

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How do you meditate on Scripture? I’ve heard the question many times. I’ve even asked it myself many times. Even when the question is answered it isn’t always clear. The real question is – What is the process for meditation? What exactly do I do? In this post I’m going to (hopefully) give you the how to meditate on Scripture with 1) a summary and 2) a point-by-point breakdown.

I’ve adapted this instruction from Dr. Joel Beeke’s chapter, Learn from the Puritans I, in Dear Timothy: Letters on Pastoral Ministry, edited by Dr. Tom Ascol, pages 226-230. The points I’m presenting here are my understanding of what Dr. Beeke wrote in those pages. I am to blame for any incorrect or misconstrued information.

Summary

Pray. Select a verse/doctrine most applicable. Memorize. Focus on what God says on the subject. Think freely. Keep thoughts focused. Stir up emotions. Think of God’s work in your life. Be excited about what God has done/will do. Live out/practice the meditations. Make resolutions. Commit. Pray.

Point-by-Point Breakdown

  • Ask the Holy Spirit for assistance.
  • Pray for focus that you would use your eyes of faith.
  • Select a doctrine or verse to meditate on (start small with one subject at a time before moving to complex doctrines i.e. the Trinity).
  • Choose topics that are most applicable to current circumstances and needs.
  • Memorize chosen passages(s) or a facet of the subject for guidance.
  • Using what you chose to memorize focus your thoughts on what God says about this subject.
  • Focus your thoughts going through all different angles of your subject even positions contrary/opposite of it.
  • Do not get stuck in a certain method of thought as you meditate.
  • Do not let your mind wander, control your thoughts, pray, refocus, perservere.
  • Strip up a range of emotions considering your sin and shortcomings while trusting God inspite of them.
  • Dive into your soul with these emotions thinking on God’s greatness.
  • Honestly assess your own sanctification in your walk with the Lord.
  • Excite yourself about the grace of God in your life and the growth to come.
  • Live out your meditations and keep practicing them.
  • Draw up resolutions based on your meditations.
  • Focus your resolutions on growing in Christ by fighting sin and relying on Him.
  • Write down your resolutions and be committed to them.
  • Close your meditation with prayer.

It’s not as complicated at it may seem. Just think through your actions as you read this how to. I’m no prophet, but I don’t believe God is going to be unhappy if you seek Him in this way. And don’t be afraid to just do it. Don’t give up. Persevere.

I’d like to add a final suggestion. Get a little Moleskine notebook (or any kind) that fits in your pocket or purse. Use this to write down your meditation(s) and/or resolution(s) and carry them with you. This way you will have them and can refer to them at practically anytime.

I pray this is edifying.

A fellow servant…

Mark

Tags: , ; Categories: Gospel,theology
The above article was posted on August 6, 2009 by Mark Lamprecht.
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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dan Smith August 6, 2009 at 10:35 am

Mark,
This is so good, and I love your idea about having something to write everything down with. I would like to add, if you don’t mind, to maybe have a piece of scratch paper available as well. My mentor once told me that the purpose of that scratch paper would be to write down any distractions as they come up. Better to get them out of the way quickly, like jotting them down, then to have them keep coming up in your thoughts while meditating.
Then you won’t be dwelling on the fact that you need to add milk to the grocery list…just jot it down and go back to your meditating.
.-= Dan Smith´s last blog ..Fatherly Guilt =-.

2 Mark August 6, 2009 at 10:37 am

Dan,
Thanks for that great suggestion. I don’t mind at all!

3 Daniel August 9, 2009 at 3:00 pm

“Live out your meditations and keep practicing them.” There is an immense value to meditation when it is wed with prayer. Meditation is the mark of the one who is a tree planted by water (Ps 1). Surprising, but it did not mention studying, reading, or listening to the Word in that passage (though each of those are of value).

Maybe that is because meditation upon the Word requires a particular delight the God of the Word. Meditation is not an end in itself or a goal, but a means God uses to bring us closer to our Father. If we pursue meditation for meditation’s sake, we will soon grow weary and our mind will wander.

Seek to delight in the Lord, and let that be the purpose and driver for meditation. Pray that the Lord uses the mediation to open your eyes to behold wondrous things in His law.

My favorite thing to do to help facilitate meditation is to print out a series of verses (3-5) on a piece of paper. Read through them often during the day, and using color symbols to distinguish particular words. I have found that if I read, and write down what I read, I am not guaranteed to see change in my life. But if I will write out a specific prayer request to accompany my meditation notes, God’s desire to pour out grace is unleashed upon my life. No prayer is so sure to be answered positively as a prayer seeking a specific heart change in order to follow Scripture. It is then that I ask for what He already wills.

Mark, this was a great post. Thank you for sharing the list from Dr. Beeke. I will save it for future reference.

4 demianfarnworth August 9, 2009 at 10:01 pm

Love what you did here. Good advice for an age where we are encouraged to blaze through everything. I think you could re-name this post, “How to Read the Bible Slowly.”

Good work.

5 Mark Lamprecht August 10, 2009 at 11:28 am

Daniel, thanks for the kinds words. I appreciate your additions and insight on this topic. What you mentioned should also be helpful to folks.

Thanks for dropping by.

6 Mark Lamprecht August 10, 2009 at 11:31 am

demian, Dr. Beeke’s writing on this topic was very helpful. I’m glad my simplification was helpful as well. It helped get my own thoughts straight.

I like your thoughts of slowing down. Thanks for dropping by.

7 NLP September 2, 2010 at 10:48 am

Nice article, thank you.

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