In recent years, meditation has gotten a bad rap in some Christian circles. People picture Eastern meditation with someone sitting cross-legged, chanting a “mantra”. Some have read about mindless, motionless staring into space to let your inner self come forward.
Is meditation even Biblical? Absolutely. We will look at 5 important Bible verses about meditation, particularly from a beginner’s point of view.
God invented meditation for good reasons. We will see that God’s focus is very different from Eastern or New Age practices.
What is meditation anyway?
Oxford Languages gives us several synonyms for the word meditation:
Would we find the same thing in Scripture? What is meditation according to the Bible?
Looking at most of the places where the word “meditate” is used, we find the Hebrew word הָגָה hâgâh, haw-gaw'(1) which implicates pondering. It is deep thinking about something.
In some of the verses, the Hebrew word שִׂיחַ sîyach, see’-akh (1) is used which is more of a speaking out loud to yourself as you ponder something.
So we see that the modern dictionary agrees with the Bible as to what meditation really is.
How does Christian meditation differ from Eastern or New Age?
Is meditation related to religion? This is a question that many people ask search engines. Here is Science Daily’s answer to the question.
“Traditionally, meditation is strongly connected to religion. Today it is also practiced without a religious purpose, but the actual word ‘meditation’ does, in fact, come from Christianity … Meditation has nonetheless been controversial in many Western religions.” (3)
The practice of meditation began with God. But like so many other things in life, mankind wants to water down and do their own version of meditation apart from God, where instead the focus is on us.
“Christian meditation is generally held to be distinct from the styles of meditations performed in Eastern religions or in the context of the New Age. While other types of meditation may suggest approaches to disengage the mind, Christian meditation aims to fill the mind with thoughts related to biblical passages …” (4)
What does the Bible say about meditation?
The Open Bible website is very helpful in giving us one passage of Scripture after another that talks about meditation as a spiritual discipline. What we find are some general principles to keep in mind.
Meditation is for the purpose of pondering or thinking about God for the renewal of your mind.
- Everything good about God so we understand His steadfast love. (Psalm 63:6, 145:5)
- What He has done present and past so we understand God’s faithfulness. (Psalm 143:5, 77:10-12, 145:5, 119:27)
- God’s promises (Psalm 119:148)
Meditation is also for the purpose of pondering the words of God found in the Bible. Scripture uses different words to describe itself:
- Law, Book of the Law (Psalm 119:97, Joshua 1:8)
- Precepts (Psalm 119:15)
- Word (Proverbs 4:20-22, Psalm 119:11)
- Statutes (Psalm 119:23, 48)
- Testimonies (Psalm 119:99)
- Commandments (Psalm 119:48, 127)
5 important Bible verses about meditation
Many of the promises of God are based on meditation. So here are 5 important Bible verses about meditation, especially for beginners. They are a good starting point.
First Bible verse about meditation – Psalm 1:1-2
“Blessed is the man (or woman) who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his (her) delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law, he (she) meditates day and night.” Psalm 1:1-2 ESV (enhancement added)
This well-known verse about meditation includes a promise. Do we want to be blessed by God? Then we need to think often about God’s word which is called the “law” here.
Second Bible verse about meditation – Joshua 1:8
“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it.
For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” Joshua 1:8
This Bible verse includes not just the meditation of my heart, but also the words of my mouth. We receive an added benefit when we hear ourselves quoting out loud what we know to be God’s truth. It is a powerful practice supported by science and education.
First, we think about the works of the Lord, followed by our muscles saying the words. Then our ears hear the Scripture meditation, and it goes back into our minds. Stronger neural pathways are created in our brain during this process, which makes it easier to remember the verses and increases our knowledge of God.
Third Bible verse about meditation – Psalm 63:5-6
“My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night.” Psalm 63:5-6
Satisfaction and joy are further benefits of Biblical meditation, as well as spiritual growth. And this time the writer is focusing on the good things about God as he is going to sleep, or when he wakes up in the night watches.
Fourth Bible Verse about meditation – Psalm 143:5
“I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands.” Psalm 143:5
Do you keep a journal? Here is a good reason to do it. We tend to forget the “days of old” and the things God has done for us. But when we go back and read our journals our memories are refreshed.
Another good practice is to get out in nature from time to time, even if it is on your patio to look at a rose bush or smell fresh-cut grass. Your quiet time and quiet place do not have to be in a prayer closet. In nature, we see so much of the work of God’s hands and often have a greater awareness of God.
Fifth Bible verse about meditation – Philippians 4:8
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8
We have lots of things clamoring for our attention: TV, social media, and music, to name a few. It is unfortunate that so much of it does not fall into what Scripture commands us to think about.
When we feed our minds with things that are NOT true, honorable, pure, or lovely, we end up being the losers. Scripture says we become what we think about. (Proverbs 23:7). Let’s make those thoughts about the will of God, the love of God, His wonderful works, and the glorious splendor of His majesty.
Final thoughts and a gift of meditation for you
Meditation is for our benefit as prescribed by God our creator. It relieves stress and produces perfect peace in our lives.
Mankind has come up with many erroneous forms of meditation. They have no connection to the word of God.
We find our best source of meditation in the Bible, but even our journals and nature can be good sources.
The most important thing to remember is that the concept of Biblical meditation is thinking about God, His promises, His mighty deeds, and what He has created. It is an important part of the Christian life. So don’t be afraid of it just because some groups use it for other purposes.
Bible verses about meditation are our prescription and model for healthy Christian living.
This card deck with Bible verses will help you actually meditate. It is free to download, and no email is required.
Each is about the size of a “playing card” and can be printed on card stock, cut out, and laminated. They are the perfect size to carry in your purse, hang on the rearview mirror of your car, use as a bookmark, or put on your bathroom mirror.
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