Will you explain Christian meditation?

by Augustus
(the American South, USA)

"I will meditate in thy precepts, and
have respect unto thy ways. I will
delight myself in thy statutes: I will
not forget thy word."
Psalm 119:15-16

In the Bible, meditation is a form of prayer to God. Because we are Christians praying to the true God and not pagans praying to false gods, we must be careful not to bring pagan meditation practices into our Christian prayer life.

Our Jewish spiritual ancestors often used songs in their prayers to God. The Book of Psalms in the Bible reflects that ancient practice. Other famous prayers in the Bible which lend themselves to music include the Song of Moses, Exodus 15:1-18, the Song of Hannah, 1 Samuel 2:1-10, the Song of Mary, Luke 1:46-55 and the Disciple's Prayer, Matthew 6:9-13, Luke 11:2-4.

Based on the verse quoted above, Biblical meditation: (i) respects God's ways and does not embrace pagan ways; (ii) delights in God's written words; (iii) does not forget God's written words. If your style of meditation does not honor those three goals, then stop doing it and learn to meditate the right way, God's way.

Some forms of meditation
are spiritually harmful

It is important to understand that some kinds of meditation are not good. Most of the forms of meditation promoted by churches today are pagan in origin and radically different than Biblical meditation. If it is of heathen or pagan origin, we should stay away from it. Pagan forms of meditation and prayer are not pleasing to God. "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer." Psalm 19:14. Some kinds of meditation are just not acceptable.

Biblical meditation always involves our heart and God's truth. The Bible warns us: "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life... My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways." - Proverbs 4:23 & 23:26.

If the kind of meditation you practice is on this list, you need to examine your heart and figure out why you insist on doing something contrary to what God shows us in the Bible. When you insist on doing things your way instead of God's way, that is foolish pride. Pride robs you of joy in the Lord and stunts your spiritual growth. Biblical meditation is not:
  1. Lectio Divina
  2. Self-glorifying
  3. Mind emptying
  4. Silence seeking
  5. Mantra chanting
  6. Positive thinking
  7. Feelings oriented
  8. Infinity pondering
  9. Prosperity thinking
  10. Soaking in the Spirit
  11. Contemplative prayer
  12. A trance-like zombie state
  13. Merging with the cosmic mind
  14. A shortcut to super-spirituality
  15. Transcendental meditation aka relaxation

Biblical meditation involves:

I. Reading the Bible

a. Read the Bible carefully
b. Read the Bible reverently
c. Read the Bible contextually
d. Read with a believing heart
e. Read to understand its meaning

1. We meditate on the written words of scripture.

Please look up the following verses in your Bible because they explain Biblical meditation.

a. Joshua 1:8
b. Psalm 1:2
c. Psalm 5:1
d. Psalm 119:15-16, 23, 27, 48, 78, 97, 99, 148

2. We meditate on the goodness of God.

a. Psalm 63:6
b. Psalm 71:24

3. We meditate on the works of God.

a. Psalm 77:11-12
b. Psalm 78:42
c. Psalm 143:5

4. We meditate on God's instruction to us in His written word.
"Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may
appear to all."
- 1 Timothy 4:15
The Greek word for meditation is μελετάω or meletaō. Ancient Greeks outside the Bible used that Greek word to describe study, the meditative pondering of Greek orators who studied to became thoroughly familiar with a topic before they spoke about it.

In Biblical usage, it also means to study, 2 Tim 2:15, to consider deeply, to be intimately familiar with written scripture, to know what scripture means in context so that we understand God's instruction to us. Meditation means that such knowledge requires thoughtful consideration, study as commanded in 2 Tim 2:15, comparing scripture with scripture so that we understand and teach scripture in context.

Do not pray or
meditate like pagans

In the Bible, God never tells Christians to practice any kind of pagan meditation. Instead, Jesus warned us against praying like heathens and pagans.
"But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking." Matt 6:7.
Remember, Biblical meditation is never the vain repetition of chanting a mantra or emptying your mind or seeking the silence or entering a trance like state. Brennan Manning suggests on p. 212 of his goofy book, The Signature of Jesus, that we should empty our mind of thoughts of God when we do contemplative meditative prayer.

That is Brennan Manning's ignorant opinion. Do not follow his awful advice. Instead, obey the verses on this page. Biblical meditation never means to seek unknowing, never means reciting a secret mantra, never means imitating the pagan practices of those who seek enlightenment apart from the written scriptures of the Bible.

If you disagree, please reread the verses about meditation, listed on this page. You have a choice. You can believe the Bible or you can ignore the Bible and do it your way. I'm going to obey the Bible and I hope you will too.

Meditation in the Bible never means to embrace pagan practices of false religions in an effort to know God apart from the truth He reveals in the Bible. Please exercise spiritual discernment based on what the Bible says, not based on your preferences and opinions. The Bible is our rule of faith and practice, not personal opinion.

Christians who seek closer fellowship with God through meditation need to reread 2 Tim 3:16-17.
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works."

"That the man of God may be perfect

The object is not merely to convince and to convert him; it is to furnish all the instruction needful for his entire perfection. The idea here is, not that any one is absolutely perfect, but that the Scriptures have laid down the way which leads to perfection, and that, if any one were perfect, he would find in the Scriptures all the instruction which he needed in those circumstances.

Thoroughly furnished unto all good works

Margin, "perfected." The Greek means, to bring to an end; to make complete. The idea is, that whatever good work the man of God desires to perform, or however perfect he aims to be, he will find no deficiency in the Scriptures, but will find there the most ample instructions that he needs. He can never advance so far, as to become forsaken of his guide (the Bible)." - Barnes' Notes on the New Testament
Everything you need to please God and walk in the Spirit, Galatians 5:16, is in the Bible. When you attempt to grow closer to God through pagan meditation practices, those pagan practices take you away from God. God will not reveal Himself to you or help you grow spiritually through pagan meditation practices.

1. Did you read 2 Tim 3:16-17?

2. Did you understand 2 Tim 3:16-17?

3. Do you believe 2 Tim 3:16-17?

4. Will you adjust your meditation practices by recognizing the truth of 2 Tim 3:16-17 in your own life?

II. Reflecting on the Bible

a. Patiently
b. Prayerfully
c. Obediently
d. Analytically
e Thoughtfully
f. Contextually

III. Responding to what the Bible says

a. What did it mean originally?
b. What does it mean today?
c. What does it mean to me?
d. How may I obey what I read?
e. How may I live the truth of what I read in the Bible?

How precious is God's Book divine,
By inspiration given!
Bright as a lamp its doctrine shines;
To guide us safe to heaven.

It sweetly cheers our drooping hearts;
In this dark vale of tears:
Life and light and joy imparts,
And quells our greatest fears.

The Bible, through each tedious night
Of life shall guide our way;
Till we behold with clearer sight,
God's grand eternal day.

Would you like
to know Jesus?

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