Nothing else I’ve done has helped me as much as Scripture memory and Biblical meditation. When I’m in the grip of worry, I turn to my internalized passages and begin repeating them to myself. When I don’t know what to say to another, I recall a passage to quote. When unsure of a decision, I let the Word of God circulate through my brain, and insight always comes. When traveling by air, tired, eyes blurry, I can lean against the window of the plane, close my eyes, and start reciting God’s Word verse by verse. Each passage is timely and timeless, affordable and invaluable, faultless and fathomless, purer than gold and sweeter than honey.
Many Christians in America and around the world are forfeiting the habits of Biblical memorization and meditation. Three reasons are to blame:
- People have never been so busy. The digital revolution has propelled us into a constant state of urgency, and we’ve lost the stillness that accommodates memorization and meditation.
- We have total and constant access to Scripture. We have Bibles on our smartphones and multiple printed copies at home, so we no longer feel a need to memorize it.
- The eastern mystics have popularized a transcendental form of meditation, and many Christians are afraid to even use the word “meditation,” though it occurs repeatedly in the Bible. Recently a woman told me she wasn’t going to read my book, Reclaiming the Lost Art of Biblical Meditation, because meditation was “new age” and evil. Even when I pointed out what the Bible said about meditation, she remained unconvinced.
Biblical meditation is very different from the New Age techniques of the world. Biblical meditation is letting the Word of Christ dwell in us richly. It’s the powerful habit of pondering, personalizing, and practicing Scripture. Meditation is the process by which God’s thoughts become our thoughts, letting us see things in His terms, from His perspective, with His wisdom.
The Bible Expects Us to Meditate on Its Words
Meditation isn’t simply a helpful technique. It’s a Biblical requirement. We’re commanded to fill our minds with Scripture and ponder it constantly. When Joshua was commissioned to lead Israel to conquer the Promised Land, God gave him a simple battle plan: “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).
Joshua only had a portion of God’s Word, the books of Moses. But the Lord told him to spend his days and nights thinking about everything written in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, and, having read and meditated on it, to obey it. That was his key to victory.
How Do We Meditate?
Meditation begins with hearing, reading, and studying Scripture. Memorization isn’t absolutely necessary because we can meditate on a passage with an open Bible before us. But Scripture memory makes meditation portable. Wherever we are, we can recall Scriptures we’ve learned by heart.
My own practice is simple. I spend a few minutes during my morning devotions learning or reviewing Scripture memory verses, which I’ve written down in a small loose-leaf notebook. Today, for example, I worked on re-memorizing 1 Corinthians 13, and I think soon I’ll have that passage nailed down for good.
As I wrote in my book, 100 Bible Verses Everyone Should Know By Heart, when we memorize Scripture it sinks into our conscious minds, into our subconscious thoughts, and even into our unconscious minds. It’s like burying a radiation chip in the middle of our brains. Even so, simply memorizing Bible verses is not enough. We meditate on Scripture with a view of putting it into practice in our attitudes, deeds, and words. As we internalize God’s inspired Word, it conveys wisdom, strength, guidance, and peace.
Recently a woman told me, “When I was eleven, a pastor visited our home with a Bible ministry on tape. I was interested in that; and from age eleven, I started listening to Bible tapes on an old reel-to-reel tape recorder. I heard many of Bible verses over and over again, and to this day I can recite many of those verses by heart. I was also encouraged to memorize Scripture and to keep a Promise Notebook.
“In my early twenties,” she said, “I faced a particular crisis and struggled to know what to do. I took many walks along a nearby river, and all those Scriptures flowed through my mind like water—that flood of Bible verses I’d learned in my childhood and teenage years. It was as if the Holy Spirit was shouting the truth of Scripture at me and I could do nothing to stop the flow of information, nor did I want to. There in my heart and mind and with each step along the riverbank, those verses brought guidance and truth.”
The Bible teacher likely never knew the impact his tapes had made on an eleven-year-old girl; and the Gideons can never fully calculate the impact their 2 billion copies of Scripture are making on our world. Remember, the work of a Gideon Bible or New Testament doesn’t end when a person is saved. That’s the beginning. The same Book that makes us wise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ also provides teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness so that we may be complete, equipped for every good work.
The Holy Spirit has a marvelous way blessing us as we hide God’s Word in our hearts. That’s why we can say with the Psalmist: Oh, how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day (Psalm 119:97). Let me encourage you to reclaim the lost art of Biblical meditation today.
Edited by International Headquarters
Pastor Morgan’s new release,
Reclaiming the Lost Art of Biblical Meditation,
is available through most major booksellers.