What Should We Meditate On?
by Joshua Travers - April 27, 2021
The Bible has a lot to say about meditation on God’s Word. But where should we start? What does God want us to think about?
Whenever we hold our Bibles, we’re holding a diamond mine.
A diamond mine is filled with gems, each with multiple facets once processed. The Bible has many precious gems as well—truths, lessons and principles that are far more priceless than any diamond could ever be.
But just as mining diamonds is not quick or easy, so getting the gems out of the Bible takes work. The Bible has 66 books that contain enormous wealth—spiritual wealth. To get that wealth, we have to read what the Bible says. In our busy lives, that’s not always easy.
But the work doesn’t stop there. Once we extract a rough diamond, we want to process the jewel so we can examine its many facets that all have their own unique beauty.
“There’s so much to think about!”
With so much content in the Bible, it can be intimidating. The Bible has the answers to the big questions in life, numerous stories and lessons, and multiple prayers and prophecies that can be educational.
With all of this to ponder, it can be a challenge to select what to meditate about. To some, this can be almost overwhelming. You may be thinking: “There’s so much within the Bible that I haven’t explored, and I don’t know where to start!”
When this happens, grab a diamond.
Things to think about
There are various ways that you can select a “diamond” from the Bible. Before we look at a list of some of the different ways of doing this, it’s important to note that Bible study and prayer must be a part of the process. To learn more about these two important topics, read our articles on “Bible Study” and “Prayer.”
Studying the Bible lets us find the diamond and gives us a framework for our meditation. Prayer is communicating with the Author of the Bible. This can include asking Him to help guide us to a topic to meditate on. When we combine Bible study and prayer, we will find many topics to meditate on.
Here are some ways to pick subjects to meditate on:
- Topical. You can just pick a topic from the Bible that interests you and think about it. What do you really know about that topic? What does it look like in your life? How relevant is it? Why is it in the Bible?
- Stories. The Bible is full of stories, and they are for our benefit (1 Corinthians 10:6). There are lessons that we can learn from every story in the Bible. In order to get the lessons from these stories, we have to read them—and then think about them.
- Situations. We all have many things going on in our lives. We can take the situations we find ourselves involved in and think about them from the perspective of what God says and expects from us. Worrying is not meditating. When you worry, you think about what can go wrong. Meditating is focused thinking on a problem—looking at it from the perspective of the Bible—and then, when you’ve analyzed it fully, acting based on what God’s Word says.
- Verses. We can grab a verse (or group of verses) and give focused thought to what it is trying to tell us. When we do this, however, we should make sure that we keep the context of the verse in mind.
- God. God is incredible and far beyond man’s level of perception (Psalm 139). His character has many facets that are excellent for meditation.
Finding the right scriptures related to what we want to meditate on can be a challenge, but there are plenty of resources that can help us. You can find the applicable scriptures by reading through the Bible or by using some of the many free tools you have at your disposal. A few would be Life, Hope & Truth articles and booklets, concordances and Bible dictionaries. Many of these can be found for free online with a simple Google search.
An example of meditation
Here’s a quick example. When you think about God, what comes to mind? There are plenty of words that we could use to describe Him: good, merciful, kind, loving, powerful, omnipotent, omniscient, patient, etc.
Select one of those, and think about what that reveals about Him. The first one that came to my mind was “good.”
Meditating on the goodness of God
The first verse that we will use is Exodus 34:6, which I found in the Life, Hope & Truth article “God Is Good.” The verse reads, “And the LORD passed before him [Moses] and proclaimed, ‘The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth” (emphasis added).
Since we’re focusing on God’s goodness, we’ll just examine that part of the verse. Before looking at the verse itself, it helps to examine the context. God made this declaration shortly after Israel had sinned with the golden calf. Instead of destroying Israel in a fit of rage, God listened to Moses and relented.
Not long after, God declared to Moses that He is abounding in goodness. It’s a part of who He is. Not only is God good. He is abounding in goodness. It’s not just a little goodness, but God has enough goodness to share. He is full of goodness, and that’s one of His defining character traits, even when He’s disappointed and upset with His people.
In fact, the Bible shows that God’s goodness abounds so much that He extends it to us. In Romans 2:4 we see that God’s goodness leads us to repentance. One purpose of repentance is for us to eventually develop God’s character and goodness ourselves (Galatians 5:22-23).
There is much, much more to examine on this topic. The purpose of the above example is just to get our feet wet.
After we meditate on a subject in God’s Word, there’s another step. God’s Word is not meant to be something we only think about.
The point of meditation is to help us better apply God’s law. We can’t just take it in. We also need to act on what we read and hear (James 1:22). What we meditate on has a direct impact on how we live our lives, and our meditation should give us greater insight into how to live. We should think about how God’s way should change our lives (Psalm 119:59).
How we can apply God’s goodness
To continue with the example of the goodness of God, how does that knowledge affect our lives? Here are three ways our meditation on this topic could impact our daily lives:
- Recognize the goodness of God. Looking at what the Bible says, we recognize that we have a God who is full of goodness. Even when we have sinned, His goodness remains. Not only is He good, but He is abounding in goodness (Exodus 34:6). This knowledge can give us greater confidence in approaching God when we pray.
- Don’t take God’s goodness lightly. It is the goodness of God that allows us to repent of our sins. That’s a gift that God has chosen to give to us, and we should not take it lightly, but fully appreciate it. It’s something we can specifically thank Him for in our prayers.
- Grow in goodness. God may abound in goodness, but He doesn’t want to be the only one. After we repent of our sins and are baptized, He gives us His Spirit so we can develop goodness as well. Growth in goodness requires effort on our part.
There are ways that you can take each of these three points and apply them to your unique life situation, or you may have different points of application that you noticed. One of the joys of meditation is that it’s unique for each of us because each of our minds works a little bit differently.
In conclusion, there is no conclusion. There is no end to thinking about the Word of God. There are endless possibilities to think and meditate on.
You can take the study that we’ve done together and go deeper or pick your own topic—study it, meditate on it, and apply it. With the Bible, you’ll never run out of material!
Click here to read part 1!