Reading the Bible is an essential discipline for us to grow and thrive in our walk with God. But beyond simply reading the scriptures, the Bible instructs us to meditate on the Word. For example, God gave this command to Joshua when he was to take over leading the people of Israel after Moses died:
Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. (Joshua 1:8 NLT)
Later in the Old Testament, King David discussed and demonstrated his habit of meditating throughout the Psalms. Consider Psalm 119:148- “My eyes are awake through the [night] watches, That I may meditate on Your word.” So, then, what exactly is meditation? Well, let’s start with a technical answer: the Hebrew word “hagah” is defined in the Strong’s Concordance this way:
to murmur (in pleasure or anger); by implication, to ponder:--imagine, meditate, mourn, mutter… speak, study, talk, utter
If we apply this to our reading of the scriptures, as we now know the Bible tells us to do, that means we should be spending time thinking about what the scriptures say and what they mean; talking about them outloud- to ourselves and to others; imagining ourselves putting into practice what we are reading.
A helpful way of understanding the concept of meditation and why it is so important is by comparing the Bible to food… After all, it is our spiritual nourishment! In this analogy, reading the Bible is like eating- it’s how we initially take in our sustenance. But that’s not enough- we need something more to extract the nutrients we need.
“Meditating on the Word of God is like digesting food,” according to Dr. Chester C. Pipkin Jr. (from Fellowshipping With the Holy Spirit pt.3.)
It’s how we break down what we’ve read so that it really gets into our spirit, and becomes a part of how we live our lives and how we see the world. It’s how we get revelation and the kind of understanding that brings forth life in us. And meditating on God’s Word is absolutely necessary for proper spiritual health and nutrition.