Meditation has a bad rap in Christian circles more often than not. We think of Buddhists, orange robes, and sitting in the lotus position, but there is a lot more to the word than these initial thoughts.
Just look at Google’s graph above of how frequently the word “meditation” has been used (or not used) since the year 1600.
In the Christian church, we’ve definitely strayed away from this word “meditate” because of what we think other people mean. We prefer to say that we should memorize Scripture. To that response, I present the next graph:
That little red line is the frequency of the word memorize over the same time period as the blue line, meditate. The little word that couldn’t is now gaining speed with its predecessor.
But the words mean the same thing, right? We’re just differentiating our recitation of Scripture from the rest of the world, so that’s okay.
Or maybe it’s not.
Maybe we should go back to meditating on God’s word, not just memorizing it.
Hear me out.
mem·o·rize, verb, 1. commit to memory; learn by heart.med·i·tate, verb 1. think deeply or focus one’s mind for a period of time, in silence or with the aid of chanting, for religious or spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation.
As much as we want to say and believe memorizing Scripture is enough, it really isn’t the same as meditating.
It wouldn’t take long to assemble a list of super-fast Bible-drill Sunday School kids who aren’t on fire about their faith a decade later. (There are some sticky tangents here I’ll cover some other day.)
Suffice it to say that memorizing some Bible verses isn’t going to make a believer out of you.
Let’s take a new tactic: let’s teach people how to meditate.
Let’s teach kids the hard stories. Let’s encourage them to ask questions and not give them pat answers. Let’s struggle with our lives and faith by beginning to really think about what we’re thinking and reading in the Holy Book.
I’m not suggesting a life-long devotion to memorizing the entire Bible, but neither am I discouraging it. Meditating goes beyond stuffing Scripture in your head.
It means it lives and breathes and speaks to you as you think about each verse, each word, and each thought. It means knowing your Bible – not just what the words are and where to find them, but really what it means and why you should care.
I suppose you could relabel this a “Petition for Biblical Literacy” but that doesn’t grab attention. Literacy means reading. Meditation requires attention and focus.
So let’s start somewhere. Let’s start in the Psalms.
Read a Psalm – any Psalm will do. I’ve put an image above and a poster below so you don’t have an excuse.
Write it down. Print it out. Think about it.
What did the Psalmist think? What are they conveying? How does this help you today?
If you want Scripture to permeate your life, see more Scripture posters on this page.