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What is meditation?

October 8, 2008

One of the methods of Bible study that I use weekly is homiletics. This is a specific method of reading a Bible passage and analyzing the verses through the use of listed content, division sentences, a subject sentence, an aim and applications.

I keep thinking that I will write about this more specifically and instead become derailed. Yesterday’s regret.

Anyway, I like homiletics because it is an orderly method of studying the Bible. It deals in facts (what the verses say) and what I am supposed to do with those facts (aim and application). The first three steps involve getting the information into your head, and the last two steps deal with the response of heart and will to the information.

I can deal with that.

Meditation though with its new age candle incense burning chanting mantra expanding inner consciousness impressions, I do not like. Even more downright troublesome is when any practice of this sort abandons any sense regarding the foundations of Biblical truth and God focused thoughts and actions to instead wrongly extol man and his or her depraved will.

So this year when I was challenged through some training to leave behind the distortions that paganism has brought into meditation and return to a Biblical definition of it, I agreed to investigate. Providentially, I had also decided to read J.I. Packer’s book Knowing God. Imagine my delight when I read Packer’s definition of Biblical meditation.

Meditation is the activity of calling to mind, and thinking over, and dwelling on, and applying to oneself, the various things that one knows about the works and ways and purposes and promises of God. It is an activity of holy thought, consciously performed in the presence of God, under the eye of God, by the help of God, as a means of communion with God. Its purpose is to clear one’s mental and spiritual vision of God, and to let His truth make its full and proper impact on one’s mind and heart. It is a matter of talking to oneself about God and oneself; it is, indeed, often a matter of arguing with oneself, reasoning oneself out of moods of doubt and unbelief into a clear apprehension of God’s power and grace. Its effect is ever to humble us, as we contemplate God’s greatness and glory, and our own littleness and sinfulness, and to encourage and reassure us–“comfort” us, in the old, strong, Bible sense of the word–as we contemplate the unsearchable riches of divine mercy displayed in the Lord Jesus Christ. (Knowing God, p.18-19)

This definition rightly fits with my purpose in doing homiletics, to have God’s Word directly impact and conform my thinking to the transformed thinking that Romans 12:2 describes, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–His good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Adding this type of meditative reasoning to my use of homiletics has been a significant blessing in this year’s Bible study. To God be the glory, for His Word and His Name!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 8, 2008 9:17 pm

    So many are afraid of the word meditation. I’m glad for your clarification here. Blessings on you elle….

  2. October 9, 2008 6:29 am

    If I could only put one book (other than the Bible, of course!!) into a Christian’s hands it would be Knowing God by J I Packer, followed closely by Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God.

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