In the Scriptures, the concept of “meditation” refers to “the act of considering or pondering spiritual things for the purpose of experiencing a closer communion with God.” The word “meditation,” which means “to consider or ponder something closely,” is related to the word “rumination,” which refers to a cow chewing its cud. In much the same way as a resting cow chews its food over and over again, we should ponder and reflect upon the greatness and goodness and salvation and justice of God.

The practice of Christian meditation is vital to the spiritual well-being of believers. When God instructed Joshua concerning his new job as leader of Israel, the Lord told him to meditate upon the book of the law “day and night” (Joshua 1:8). Isaac preferred to practice meditation in the solemnity of the evening (Genesis 24:63). David liked to meditate at night while others slept (Psalm 63:6), or in the calmness of the morning (Psalm 5:1-3). Each of us should choose the most favorable time of day, a time when we can get alone with God in a relaxed atmosphere of worship, for the purpose of meditation. And then too our thoughts should be aimed toward God many times throughout the day.

A biblical Christian view of meditation is very different from the New Age meditation techniques taught by advocates of Transcendental Meditation, Yoga, Zen Buddhism, and other varieties of the Eastern religions. For the Christian, meditation is a conscious activity of the mind upon revealed truth in an attempt to know God, but for the Eastern mystic, meditation consciously tries to block out any awareness of objective truth in an attempt to know self. The Scriptures explicitly tell us to fill our minds by meditating upon the Lord (Psalm 104:34), upon the Scriptures (Joshua 1:8), and on things that will build us up (Philippians 4:8).

The practice of meditation helps us to concentrate better, and it sharpens our understanding (Psalm 49:3). It produces a greater love for God’s Word (Psalm 119:97). Meditation along with obedience to God’s Word brings God’s blessing of success (Joshua 1:8). By meditating upon God’s Word and hiding it in our hearts, we can experience power over sinful habits (Psalm 119:9,11). The ultimate goal of meditation is to grow spiritually so that the words of our mouths and the thoughts of our hearts might be acceptable to God (Psalm 19:14).

–Kenneth G. Leininger
January/February 1991