Summary: A lesson on how to meditate in God’s Word
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Joshua 1:8 says, “This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth; but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do all that is written in it: for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”
Prosperity and success? Pretty heady claims! But the Bible holds out this promise to those who will meditate in God’s Word. Bible reading is a great exercise. Bible reading can become just a daily ritual. And if you can only read God’s Word, by all means do it! But this verse is talking about Bible meditation! Bible meditation will change your life!
HOW DO I MEDITATE IN GOD’S WORD?
The Greek word for meditate means to attend. Meditation means reading with attention to what the Scripture really says. God Himself invented the discipline of meditation. Unfortunately, Eastern religions have hijacked it, so that many Christians shy away from the concept. Biblical meditation is not emptying the mind of thoughts, or repeating some mantra, as some mystic religions teach.
Meditation involves filling your mind with God’s thoughts through the study of God’s Word. It comes from a word that means to ruminate. Like a cow does when chewing her cud. A cow has 4 stomachs, each has a part in the process of digestion.
I am going to propose 7 steps in meditation, each including a word that begins with the letter P. This list is not comprehensive, but it will help you to meditate in God’s Word. God considers meditation so important that He commands us to do it.
1. Understand the Perimeter of the Verse
Look at the perimeter of the verse as you meditate. We call this the context of a verse. The meaning of a verse is influenced and revealed by the verses that surround it.
Someone compared this step to eating a hamburger. The “meat” is the verse you choose for meditation. Surrounding the meat is the context — the lettuce, pickles, onions and cheese on a sesame seed bun!
You can eat a meat patty and get nourishment, but you miss the full experience of a hamburger! In the same way, you can study a verse without taking into account its context. You may get the “meat” of the verse, but if you miss the contributions of the perimeter, you will not have the verse’s full perspective.
The context includes more than just the verses around it…it includes any background information on the writer or the readers as well. And it includes supporting cross-references.
If you study the context of Joshua 1:8 you realize that Moses, Joshua’s predecessor, had just died. He would not be around to coach Joshua in his new and overwhelming position. The Lord told Joshua: “…day and night you must read, ponder, and apply God’s Word. You must get continual guidance from Me.”
2. Parse the Verse
Look at its individual parts. Technically speaking, when you parse a verse you are studying the grammar and syntax of a verse. But I see parsing as involving the process of dissecting the parts: You might…