Why simply reading the Bible isn't enough (or The Lost Art of Meditation)
Meditation is a concept that’s kind of been hijacked by the New Age movement over the last few decades. You know, the ’empty-your-mind-and-find-a-higher-stream-of-consciousness-within-yourself’ sort of thing. As a result it’s become something that Christians can be slightly wary of.
But maybe because of this we’re missing something from our daily walk with the Lord. We know we’re meant to read our Bibles, but do we know why we’re reading? The goal of Bible-reading should never be to blitz through pages of Scripture simply for the sake of ‘getting through it’. To meditate upon Scripture as we read is to think deeply about it, to feel deeply what we’re reading, to prayerfully consider it and let it seep into the way we think and feel, so that it changes the way we live. It’s to listen humbly and obediently to the God who is speaking to us through it, and to respond with joyful worship.
I’m reading Tony Reinke’s ‘Lit!’ at the moment (and loving it – review to come soon!) and as part of his encouragement to ‘read well’ he’s underlined to me again the importance of meditating on what we’re reading. He argues that it applies to all that we read, but it must certainly apply to the Bible. If you don’t like the word itself, fine, don’t use it; how about digesting, or bathing, or even marinating? But whatever you call it, we need to do it.
Reinke offers this fantastic quotation from the Puritan Thomas Brooks (1608-1680), who has just nailed it and makes you want to go and carve out some time to abide in God’s word:
‘Remember, it is not hasty reading, but serious meditating upon holy and heavenly truths, that makes them prove sweet and profitable to the soul. It is not the bee’s touching of the flower that gathers honey, but her abiding for a time upon the flower that draws out the sweet. It is not he that reads most, but he that meditates most, that will prove the choicest, sweetest, wisest, and strongest Christian.’
How do you help yourself to meditate upon God’s word?
(Quotation originally from Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices)