The Life of a Disciple: Meditating on the Word of God

Psalm 77:12 I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds.

Psalm 119:15 I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.

If you ever need some Bible motivation, read Psalm 119. It is the longest psalm by far, and is all about loving God’s Word. I gave you this next verse before, but there’s phrase in it I want to point out.

Joshua 1:8 (NIV) Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

It says to keep it “on your lips.” Why did I want to point that out? Technically that is what meditating is: talking or muttering to yourself.

“Meditate” in the verse from Psalm 77 and Joshua 1:8 literally means “to moan, growl, utter, speak, muse.” It is translated most often as meditate, next as utter or moan, and then also several times as mutter.

By the way, here’s a disciple tip. I look up word meanings and translations using Type in the reference, the Bible verse address, and search it on their site. Find the menu across the top where it says Parallel, Sermons, Audio, Visuals, Comment, Interlin. That “Interlin” is interlinear. That’s the one you want. Click on that. Find the English word you are wanting to see in the original language, and click on the number above it. The old-fashioned way is to use a huge book called Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.

A great way to mutter God’s word is to do Scripture memory. Choose a verse you love and say it over and over. I think it’s more important to know the words and what they mean to you than the reference, but there are times you are going to wish you knew the reference, so it’s good to try to say the reference along with the verse. Throughout the day, repeat the verse. Keep it on your lips.

When I memorize whole chapters of the Bible, I don’t try to memorize a lot at once. I like to do just a verse or two a day and keep adding them on. When I have the whole thing, I practice it for a couple of weeks before I move onto a new chapter. Why? I want to meditate on God’s word. My goal isn’t just to have it memorized and check it off a list. My goal is to spend time dwelling on God’s word, thinking on it, letting it teach me and change me. When I do it slowly like that, I will be in a chapter for at least a month, sometimes a couple of months or more. Once I started memorizing psalms, I couldn’t get enough and started doing multiple ones at a time. That way I could memorize a lot, while still taking my time with each one. I have also learned other chapters of the Old and New Testament. I’ve also strung chapters together and learned whole books. There are a lot of short books in the New Testament.

Why memorize? You can learn about the brain science of its good effect on you, but how about this Bible truth?

Psalm 119:11 I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

Learning God’s word is learning about God and His ways, so that you know how to walk in His ways, live rightly and not sin. Hopefully you are fully settled about not wanting to sin! We want to walk closely with Jesus and don’t want anything to come between us. If putting God’s word in my heart will help me do that, that’s what I want!

In other translations of Psalm 119:11, that “stored” is the word “hidden.” That’s why people will talk about hiding God’s word in your heart.

Memorizing scripture is a way to tuck it away, to keep it with you.

You can also meditate on Scripture without memorizing. You can hang up verses and read them out loud every time you pass by and be thinking about it throughout the day. The one verse I shared was about meditating on God’s mighty deeds. You can be thinking about God and what He’s done.

In our home we have a “miracle wall.” It’s four cork boards that stretch across a wall in our dining room. We have tokens of miracles and amazing answers to prayer up on the corkboard. Some are just index cards with the location, date, and “name” of the miracle. Others have a picture, hospital report, or some symbol representing the miracle along with the label of what it is and when and where it happened. It is a daily reminder of His miracle-working, always caring, powerful and loving hand in our lives. We can remind ourselves of His great deeds, and the wall makes it easy to share with others about what great things He has done.

And of course, we have story after story in the Bible of great things He has done. Remember! The Israelites kept forgetting. The Bible says they weren’t “mindful” of God’s mighty deeds. They didn’t keep them in mind. Keep God in mind.

One last way my family remembers and meditates without memorizing is by telling Bible stories. This is something we’re currently doing at the time of writing this. I will read a short Bible story after dinner and the kids will try to repeat it as closely as they can, but also making it their own. We just do one or two new stories a week, sometimes repeating a story for more practice. Some days each week we do “review,” and they can tell any story we’ve done. They get rewarded with a cookie after they’ve told their story. 😊

Lesson Point: Speak God’s Word to put it in your heart.

Challenge Question: Is meditating on God’s word part of your regular devotional time with the Lord? How can you add it in if it’s not there yet?