Discover How to Get More from Your Time Spent with Scripture
Reading and studying the Bible is a great start to better understanding Scripture and the truth in holds. I highly recommend daily Bible reading and encourage everyone to do so—both those who follow Jesus and those who are curious about him. But to get even more from a passage, the key is to meditate on God’s Word.
Though I read the Bible every day and study Scripture most every day, I don’t meditate on it as often as I should or as often as I’d like to. But when I do, the insights I get are profound.
That’s why I wish I’d spend more time to meditate on God’s Word. Emphasize the word time. It takes time to meditate on Scripture.
Though I schedule time to read the Bible—and relish my investment in learning more about God and myself, meditating on the passage requires more time and—though the reward is sweeter—the results aren’t as vast, just deeper.
Here are my tips to achieve the best outcomes when we meditate on God’s word:
The first key is to slow down. I learned this when studying the gospel of John while researching and writing my book Living Water. To grasp meaning from John’s poetic writing required that I slowed down from my regular reading pace to allow the words to sink in.
Decreasing our speed is even more important when we meditate on God’s Word. We must slow down and be deliberate. Focus on each phrase of each sentence, even each word.
Consider its significance and what its presence may teach. This is how we get insight we’d normally miss reading at our normal pace.
Read Over and Over
The second key is repetition. This is not a rote reading to log a certain number of reps but an intentional rereading to get more from the text.
Though when reading slowly, I sometimes reread a sentence to make sure I haven’t missed something, this rereading is different. It’s examining the same passage on multiple days, with each pass revealing more insight into the text.
Some people recommend rereading the same text seven times, one day each week. Yet seven isn’t a magic number when we meditate on God’s Word. It’s more of a guideline.
Sometimes new truths emerge on my fourth or fifth read, while other times I gain a deeper understanding on my tenth pass.
This requires patience, which may be the reason few people invest the time to meditate on God’s Word.
Pause to Reflect
Next, don’t rush from one phrase or sentence to the next. Instead, pause to consider the words. Yes, we may have already determined our primary understanding of the text, but consider a fresh perspective, a secondary meaning, or a deeper truth.
The Bible is multilayered with significance buried within, but it takes digging to find it. This is why we must be willing to pause from our reading and consider carefully what we’ve just read.
Record the insights we uncover as we meditate on God’s Word. This may be in a journal or computer file. Having spent several decades immersing myself into Scripture, I have a computer document for each book of the Bible and have notes for each chapter of each book.
Don’t let my lifetime of results, however, intimidate you from beginning. Remember, I once started with nothing.
Instead, let my outcome encourage you to envision what you can achieve if you commit yourself to meditating on a regular basis.
Seek Holy Spirit Guidance
My parting tip is not the final one but instead an overarching principle. Each step for meditating on God’s Word requires seeking Holy Spirit guidance if we are to achieve the best results.
Yes, these first four tips do produce results if we rely on our own intellect, but when we seek direction from the Holy Spirit, our insights become much greater.
Whether we’re reading, studying, or meditating on God’s Word, the Holy Spirit can amplify what we’re doing. Jesus told his disciples that the Father would send them an Advocate, the Holy Spirit, to teach them all things (John 14:26).
Just as the Holy Spirit taught Jesus’s followers 2,000 years ago, he can teach us today. All we need to do is ask him to speak to us and guide us when we meditate on God’s Word.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.
Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.
2 replies on “How to Meditate on God’s Word”
Peter DeHaan, Thank you for your reading the Bible Tips. I agree. Many passages of Scripture require slow reading. We often miss “little” words that bring a profound meaning to our faith in the incarnate God alive and dwelling with the faith community known to John and of course Luke. In the first centuries when the Pauline letters were sent out and Luke was recording the Acts of the Apostles, “Breath” was not forced onto the page. There were few if any commas or periods, let alone verse and chapter endings and beginnings. You mentioned the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, would be sent out and would teach the disciples all things. In the Gospel of John, John 4:10 is a significant verse. It is significant for me because it took me 39 years to grasp. Had the Woman known the “gift of God” AND who it was WHO was asking her for a drink, she would have asked Him and he would have given her living water. For 39 years I assumed that Him was the “gift of God” and that the “gift of God” was the Teacher asking the Woman for a drink. It never occurred to me that the Teacher was Apollos of the Pauline letter of 1 Corinthians 3:5-6 and that Chloe, Paul, Cephas and Apollos were key names that the Advocate used to plant the seeds of the Gospel in the hearts and souls of the disciples. The Gospel of John was written well after the Pauline Letters and was almost not included in the official “canon”, the official books making up the New Testament. Years of Patriarchal tradition have also shaped how we read the Bible. We think of Jesus as a He and as the incarnation of the Perfect Triune. For those who are familiar with geometry, Jesus can be described as a Triangle-Based Pyramid, a four-fold human relationship, consisting of a Father, a Mother, a son and a daughter or as the Prophet Isaiah said, Christ the Everlasting Father, the Wonderful Counsellor, the Prince of Peace and the El Shaddai, the Almighty (Isaiah 9:6). In other words, Jesus is the Gardener firmly fixed to the True Vine (THE BRANCH) who clings to the Gardener and lets go of the Rabboni (the Prince of Peace) who also loved Martha the Almighty housewife. It does take years to figure all this out and FAITH in the Incarnation of Jesus as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, the Pauline Letters, and the 4 Gospels. Figuring all this out to see just how and where all this came to be and where we are all going is worth the JOURNEY and your books Peter DeHaan’s are a place to start. Thank you Peter DeHaan for carefully connecting all the dots and providing your readers (beginners and seasoned readers alike) with tips to slow down and read carefully and make reading the Bible a daily habit.
Thanks, Linda. May we excel at mediating on God’s word.