Monday, February 3, 2014


How many times have you listened to the sermon and forgot what is was about later on that day?  It's not uncommon for us to forget a lot of what we hear.  I remembering seeing a statistic about learning that went something like this: we retain about 15% of what we hear; about 60% of what we see; about 70% of what we discuss; about 75% of what we experience; and about 95% of what we teach.

In studying the Bible, I have learned that a way to learn what God wants to teach me is to meditate on His Word.  The Psalmist says, "But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night," (Psalm 1:2); meditation on God's Word brings our lives meaning: "Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer," (Psalm 19:13-14); and that meditating on God's Word is like a man rejoicing in his riches: "I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word," (Psalm 119:14-16).  Meditating on God's Word brings God glory, "May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the LORD," (Psalm 104:34). So if our goal is to be closer to God, why should we not meditate on His teachings?  Here are 5 steps that are helpful to me, and can be helpful to you:

  1. Picture the Meaning - Ask this question first: what does this mean?  Ask God to help you understand the meaning of the passage.  Ask Him to show you what was going on when the words were first spoken.  Ask Him to help you find the answers He intends.  Visualize its meaning; example: "Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be," (Psalm 139:16);  This means: God knew what my life would be before my life ever started; He knew me before I was born; I was created by Him with a purpose.
  2. Pronounce It - Repeat the verse or passage a few times aloud.  Each time, try emphasizing a different word.  What impact does each word have on you, and your understanding?  What is God's intended purpose for each word? Example: "YOUR eyes saw my unformed body..." "Your EYES saw my unformed body...", "Your eyes SAW my unformed body...", "Your eyes saw MY unformed body...", "Your eyes saw my UNFORMED body...", "Your eyes saw my unformed BODY..." (Psalm 139:16).
  3. Paraphrase It - Write the verse or passage down in your own words.  How are you verbally interpreting what you are reading?  Understand that you should not interpret a verse or passage to fit your worldview, you should seek to understand the appropriate interpretation that is intended by God.  Remembering this, paraphrase what the verse or passage says.  Example: "God saw me develop into a human being and saw the potential my body had to be in His image; before I ever existed and my days on earth began, He knew exactly who I was going to be, and what part I was to play in His plan for eternity."
  4. Personalize It - Wherever there is a pronoun or name listed, replace it with your name; example: "Your eyes saw [Jessica's] unformed body; all the days ordained for [Jessica] were written in your book before one of them came to be," (Psalm 139:16).  What is God speaking to you through this?
  5. Pray It - After you have thought about its intended meaning, say the verse or passage as a prayer; example: "God, Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.  Thank you for knitting me together and giving my life purpose.  Amen."  Say it earnestly, not repeating it back to God, but meaning what you are saying.
This week's challenge:
Pick a verse that you want to memorize, understand and apply.  Follow the five steps listed above every day this week, and memorize the verse.  Pray every time for God to reveal to you His meaning, and ask that it become your meaning, too.  Keep a journal, written or typed, that records what you learn each time, how the verse or passage has impacted your day, and how God has changed you because of it by the end of the week. *Remember, not all all verses are meant for reflective meditation (Matthew 27:5) unless your reason for meditating is to understand what was happening at the time it was written that made it so important to be in the Bible.*

Here's a song I enjoy that helps me prepare for meditation.  Our goal in meditation is to forget what the world tells us what the Bible means, and discover the meaning intended for us by God.  Try starting off your time in meditation singing these words as a prayer:

"Holy Spirit, come and fill this house up.
Let Your love fall like a fire; consume us, Lord.
Come, Lord Jesus, let Your rain fall on us;
In Your presence, come and change our hearts to Yours.
We've come to bring glory, we've come to bring praise,
We've come to bring honor to Your Holy Name.
We've come to dance, we've come to sing,
We've come to encounter Jesus, Our King.
Living Fire, come and overflow;
It's my desire: You, and You alone."

Asking the right questions while you study the Word?  Find out here.

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