The Art of Christian Meditation
Meditation is a wonderful, personal act resulting in great benefits for the meditator. Meditation requires some elbow grease. Hopefully, you will role up your sleeves, dig in, open your Bible, or google the verses, and learn God’s way of meditation.
I would like to clarify what it means to meditate! We will do this by looking to the word meditate, from the Bible. The virtue of meditating is being pushed in our society. The question is, does this meditation fit the biblical form of meditation? When I was searching for the Lord, I tried transcendental meditation. This type of meditating taught the emptying of the mind through the mental repeating of a mantra. The biblical form of meditating is the exact opposite. It teaches filling of the mind by examining God’s word! Meditation is a very old discipline.
“Isaac went out to meditate in the field in the evening.” (Genesis 24:63 NKJV)
The Virgin Mary, practiced the art of meditation. Concerning all the events in her life, concerning Jesus.
She “Kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19 NKJV)
Meditation was a discipline practiced by the saints of God. Unfortunately for us, it has become a lost art. The Bible instructs us to meditate. The Lord commanded Joshua to meditate.
“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night.” (Joshua 1:8 NKJV)
The Apostle Paul commanded Timothy to meditate.
“Meditate on these things give yourself entirely to them.” (1 Timothy 4:15 NKJV)
The Holy Spirit, through those who penned the Sacred Scripture, teaches us to meditate on:
God’s law, Psalm 1:2,
the Person of God Himself, Psalm 63:6,
all God’s work, Psalm 77:12,
His precepts, Psalm 119:15,
His statutes, Psalm 119:23,
And whatever things are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtue, and anything praiseworthy. Philippians 4:8. The virtues of meditating bring about great wisdom, see Psalm 119:99. Also, it brings strength, stability, maturity, fruit, and prosperity, see Psalm 1:3.
Let us now examine the words meditate, and meditation. In the Old Testament, King James Version, we find the word, meditate, in these verses:
“And Isaac went out to meditate,”
“But you shall meditate in it day and night,”
“And in His law he meditates day and night,”
“I meditate on You in the night watches,”
“I will also meditate on all your work,”
and in Psalm 119:15, 23, 48, 148,
“I will meditate on Your precepts, statutes, and word.”
This word, meditate, is from the Hebrew, haw-gaw. The word is also found in Isaiah 8:19 and 59:3. There it is translated mutter. In Isaiah 16:7, 38:14, and Jeremiah 48:31 it is translated as mourn. In Psalm 35:28, 115:7 and Proverbs 8:7, it is translated as speak. In Proverbs 15:28 and 24:2 it is translated as study. In the New Testament the Greek word meletao, meditation, is found in these verses:
1 Timothy 4:15,
“Meditate on these things,”
“Therefore, settle in your hearts not to meditate beforehand.”
In the Old Testament, we also find the word meditation, in theses verses (you can look them up); Psalm 5:1, 19:14, 49:3, 104:34. 119:97 and 99.
As stated above, the Hebrew word for meditate is haw-gaw. This word means to murmur, to mutter, to ponder, to imagine, to study, and meditate. There are more Hebrew words in the Old Testament for meditation. These words basically mean musing, a murmur, reflection, devotion, and pray. The Greek word used in the New Testament is meletao. This word means to take care of, to revolve in the mind, to imagine, to practice, and to ponder. To understand Christian meditation, we need to put all these meanings together. Therefore, meditation involves, murmuring, muttering, musing, studying, pondering, imagining, reflecting, and prayer. MEDITATION IS THE USING OF ALL THESE DISCIPLINES IN THE REVOLVING OF THE SUBJECT IN THE MIND! What does this mean? To answer this question, we need to define these terms and then put them all together. By doing this we will learn the lost art of Christian meditation.
Let us, examine these words.
To murmur means to make a low continuous sound, to utter in a low voice.
To mutter means, to speak with the mouth nearly closed. the first step in meditating, is to speak about the subject, to be meditated on, lowly to yourself. How many times? As many times as you feel is necessary.
To ponder means to think over.
To imagine means to picture to oneself.
To muse means to be lost in thought.
To reflect means to consider seriously.
To revolve in the mind means to turn the subject matter over in the mind from one end to the other.
What does this mean for meditation? It means, the second step in meditating, is to bring the subject matter into the mind. The subject goes from the lips to the mind. Once in the mind, we are to question the subject. We are to try and find out its meaning. We are to try and find out the subjects meaning to our lives. We are to try and find out how to apply it to our lives. We are to expand the subject by defining the meaning of the words. We are to examine the subject by looking at its opposite. We are to think of other verses or related matter to expand our understanding of the subject.
To study means, the pursuit of knowledge, as by reading, observation, or research. This brings us to step three.
The third step in meditating, is to study the subject through other sources. These sources can be dictionaries, encyclopedias, commentaries, sermons, or any other source that God may lead you to examine.
To pray means to talk to God. What does this mean in meditation? It means this; the fourth step in meditating, is prayer.
Meditation, the Christian way, involves another person in the meditation. This person is God. We need to ask God to enter in and give us the true meaning of what we are meditating on. He will do this through revelation!
Christian meditation is not a mystery. It is a serious discipline. It takes will power and a thirst for knowledge to practice it. It is simple to do. Meditation is very rewarding. You can do this by practicing four simple steps.
 Speak the subject matter to yourself in a quiet voice. Best subject matter is a Bible Verse!
 Revolve the subject in your mind.
A good example of meditating was shown in the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. In the end Indiana Jones had to solve three riddles. He did this by using steps one and two. I recommend that you see this movie just for the ending. It will teach you how to meditate and give you the clues for Meditating the Christian way.
When are we to meditate? Psalm 1:2 says day and night. This means that throughout the day when our minds are free from other tasks or activities we are to meditate. What will be your reward? Psalm 119:99,
“I have more understanding than all my teachers, for Your testimonies are my meditation!” (NKJV)
If you begin to meditate you will become, smart, wise, and knowledgeable. Who could ask for anything more! What are you waiting for? Turn off the television and social media. Turn on to God.
Resources used: Strong’s Concordance, Merrion-Webster Dictionary, King James Bible, New King James Version.
Guy Calandra, Author, The Inside Word