Effective Bible Study Method #3: Meditate On One Verse
In today’s blog post, we are closing out the Effective Bible Study Method series with the least-practiced, but truly most life-changing of them all: Meditating On One Verse.
If you haven’t read the previous 2 posts in this series, check them out! These aren’t sequential, so no need to do it now…unless you really want to! Here they are:
Let’s dive into today’s topic — I’m excited about this!
MEDITATE ON ONE BIBLE VERSE
Meditating is so hot right now…ya know? I mean, everyone’s doing it…
However, biblical meditation is different from trendy yoga meditation.
Using the movie analogy, meditating on one verse or passage in the Bible is like studying one particular day of someone’s life. It could be you’re studying the day that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his most famous speech, “I Have A Dream” at the Lincoln Memorial. You could watch to see how he woke up, what he ate, how he prayed, his interactions at home and with his team before the march. You could learn a lot about Martin’s daily habits in just studying this one day, right?
Similarly, you can meditate on just one verse or a short passage in the Bible to reveal ideas and themes deeper than the initial read-through will show you.
Last year, I was struggling in a few areas of life. I felt burdened in juggling this blog and a full-time job and all the things. I felt like I was the only person who saw my writing as a real ministry to people. I felt burdened by ministry, and I sensed burn-out fast approaching. So I spent 8 MONTHS meditating on the book of John, verse by verse — and I only got 12 CHAPTERS in! I read and re-read the same verses over and over, praying diligently that God would renew my focus on Jesus. John was the “disciple whom Jesus loved”, so I thought his gospel could reveal the most personal, profound details of Jesus’ life and ministry.
Those 8 months were so deeply renewing and refreshing, but I remember telling a lady at church about my slow progression and meditation practice, and she was less than supportive. That’s the thing about following God — even and especially in reading the Bible. DO WHAT GOD IS TELLING YOU! Run with fervor in the mission He’s given you. I needed to slowly meditate on Jesus — just Him, nothing more. Looking back, I’m so glad I took that time away from studying as much of the Bible as possible. It was the right decision, and maybe it is for you, too! Either now, or sometime in the future. Take this method & tuck it into your pocket for a future date! Maybe you need a few days reading the same passage of Scripture — or a week, or 8 months. FOLLOW THE LORD’S VOICE, and you’ll receive exactly what your spirit needs exactly when you need it.
Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 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.
We are instructed throughout the Old and New Testament to continually keep God’s Word in our minds. Before the Bible was so easily accessible, meditation was a way to do that. But even now, in the hectic pace of our lives, it’s so important to keep our minds feasting on the Word of God through meditation.
Meditation has gotten a “mystical” vibe since the popularity of yoga in America, but it really started a long time before that. The earliest mention of meditation in the Bible is in Genesis 24. That’s some reeeal ancient practice!
I practice yoga at least weekly, and I have for years. In yoga, meditation is the focusing of the mind on one idea or ideal in order to bring calmness to your emotions and clarity to that idea/ideal. In my yoga practice, I often focus on peacefulness or mindfulness.
In biblical meditation, rather than focusing on an ideal, we focus on the Word of God. Although meditation is communicated in the Bible many times, you will never see it discussed as focusing on anything but God’s Word — see the example above.
Meditation helps us to remove our wild thoughts from the activity of the day — whether positive or negative — and remember God’s eternal word which will outlast our feelings, activities, even the little castles we spend our lives building. We are reminding our eternal soul that the eternal living God can lead us every moment of every day, if we allow Him to. We are remembering the relevancy of the Bible in our daily lives, no matter how the culture changes or what specific situations we are in. The truth of the Bible is relevant and eternal.
If you haven’t meditated before, try it now. Follow these steps:
Begin with a goal of 60 seconds of meditation. Before you begin, silence any distractions (AHEM! *your phone*). If you need to close your eyes, do it. Don’t let your mind wander to what you’ll eat for dinner, oh gotta pick up flowers, oh and I should have texted that person back… STOP! Everything can wait.
Pick a verse to meditate on, like this one:
”The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters,
He refreshes my soul.”
Think about this verse, and only this verse. If you need to peep your eyes open to remember the verse, do so, but don’t keep reading. Stick to that one verse/passage.
Breathe slowly and deeply in and out. (This isn’t a Biblical tactic, but I find this helps me to quiet the other thoughts in my mind and not count the seconds…)
Lastly, I want you to write down any new insights or revelations from the Holy Spirit you received during this meditation practice. How did you feel? Did you see the spiritual battle more clearly? Did you feel the peace of God in an almost-palpable way? Did your mind change during this practice?
Writing it down will help you to remember the changes made, and will give you a hard reminder of “that one time you meditated and you felt better” …ya know, in case you go a few days/weeks without doing this again. ;)
If you have any other tips for meditating on God’s Word, leave them in the comments section! This is just one example, and there are many ways to do it. I’d love to hear more tips on how-to!
3 Effective Bible Study Methods
I hope you’ve gained insight into these methods for studying the Word of God:
(If you missed either of the other two posts, scroll to the top of this page for the links to each!)
The main point of learning the Word is this:
Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
As you study, do it with your heart focused on the Lord. Lean into His grace for wisdom, direction and comfort. Create new spiritual habits to increase your discipline and further glorify God in your life.
Through it all — the studying, the questions and the answers — may it all be because His grace.