We may have often heard this phrase, “Please meditate on God’s Word.” Do we know what meditation means according to the scriptures? These are some insights on what meditation means and although, this study may not be enough to cover every aspect of it; this should be enough to start.
Everything we do in the Christian life that is of any spiritual value, will have to be done through our spirit. Paul said that he served God by his spirit man.
For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you.
In regular usage, the word “meditation” addresses, “silent thinking upon an object.” It can also be referred to, “think deeply or focus for a time for spiritual purposes” or to “relax.” However, in scripture, there is a facet of meditation that is not silent. The English word “meditate” is listed fourteen times in Strong’s Concordance, and only two times in the New Testament.
One of those—should be “premeditate.”
Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what you shall answer.
Meditation – med-i-ta’-shun
Meditation” is the translation of the hebrew word “haghuth,” from “haghah.” “Meditation” is listed six times, all of them in the Old Testament. “Hagah” is “to murmur,” or “to have a deep tone.” This word is also rendered as:
1. `Mutter’ – Twice
And when they say to you, “Inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter,” should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living?
For your hands are defiled with blood and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies; your tongue mutters wickedness.
2. `Meditate’ – Six times
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.
but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.
when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds.
I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands.
Your heart shall meditate terror. Where is the scribe? where is the receiver? where is he that counted the towers?
3. `Speak’ – Four times
Then my tongue shall speak of your righteousness and of your praise all the day long.
The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice.
They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat.
For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips.
4. `Study’ – Twice
The heart of the righteous studies to answer: but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.
For their heart studies destruction, and their lips talk of mischief.
5. ‘Talk’ – Once
And my tongue will talk of your righteous help all the day long, for they have been put to shame and disappointed who sought to do me hurt.
6. ‘Utter’ – Once
… my lips will not speak falsehood, and my tongue will not utter deceit.
It can be observed from these scriptures that meditation does aim to the use of mouth, as an instrument to mumble or express in speech God’s Word. Furthermore, when we study God’s Word without speaking, we are only utilizing our eyes to take in God’s Word. However, when we read God’s word aloud, we are using our eyes to see, our mouths to speak and our ears to hear. Three, instead of one of our senses, are actively taking in God’s Word.
Silent Meditation – Not So Silent?
There is also a place for silent meditation in the Christian life, and I would rather define that as “contemplation” or “reflection,” which is silent meditation.
Psalm 119 uses a different Hebrew word than the other passages use. It is SIYACH, which is, “to ponder,” that is, “to converse” (with oneself, and hence aloud) or “to utter” (commune, complain, declare, meditate, muse, pray, speak). Other than Psalm 119, only Psalm 104:34 uses the noun form of this word. It still shows thinking and speaking to oneself at the same time.
May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the LORD.
I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation.
Reflect – Muse – Suwach
“Suwach” is another word used to indicate, “reflection,” or “deep thinking”
And Isaac went out to meditate in the field toward evening. And he lifted up his eyes and saw, and behold, there were camels coming.
Hagah – Growl – Roar
Hagah is also defined in the Strong’s Concordance as a verb meaning “to growl” and is found in the passage below, where hagah is translated as growling. Hagah meaning “growl” would be the sound a lion would make as he was ready to devour his prey. The picture of the Lion depicts it.
For thus the LORD said to me, “As a lion or a young lion growls over his prey, and when a band of shepherds is called out against him he is not terrified by their shouting or daunted at their noise, so the LORD of hosts will come down to fight on Mount Zion and on its hill.
Think On These Things
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.
Confess aloud the promises of God’s Word to yourself every day. They have been personalized for you. Paul exhorted Timothy to be diligent in “these things.”
1 Timothy 4:15
Be diligent in these things. Give yourself wholly to them, that your progress may be revealed to all.
When we study what “these things” mean, we can see that Paul is referring to “the words of faith and of good doctrine.”
1 Timothy 4:16
Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.
1 Timothy 4:6
By pointing out such things to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, having nourished yourself on the words of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed.
Keep thinking about things above, not things on the earth.
I pray this study will give you a jump-start to meditate in the Scriptures. As your inner man is strengthened, you will learn and gain more insights into His Holy Word. Let the Holy Spirit be your guide and teacher to help you set your mind on things above.