7th Feb 2016
Meditating On The Bible
By Andy Jarvis
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Most people have friends from the past that they've let go and some friendships which have lasted many years, often despite distance and changing circumstances. The difference between relationships that drift and those that last is communication. When communication stops, friendships do too. Meditating on the Bible is one of the most important ways of communicating with God, of hearing what He has to say to us and responding to whatever it is. I hope today's sermon is like 'Friends Reunited'. God wants to speak to us. Are we ready, like young Samuel with Eli in the temple, to listen to God?
Meditate on God's Mercy Romans 5:6-8 God's love and mercy for us
John 10:11, 15:13
1 Corinthians 2:9
Meditate on God's Forgiveness 2 Corinthians 5:21
How God sees us
Meditate on the Lord's Being with You Genesis 39:20-21 God's provision for us
1 John 5:14-15
Meditate on our Security John 10:28-29
Who we are in Christ
2 Corinthians 5:17
FIVE WAYS TO MEDITATE ON A VERSE:
- Picture it - Visualize the scene in your mind.
- Pronounce it - Say the verse aloud, each time emphasizing a different word.
- Paraphrase it - Rewrite the verse in your own words.
- Personalize it - Replace pronouns or people in the verse with your own name.
- Pray it - Turn the verse into a prayer and say it back to God.
Meditating on the Word of God
"Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, 2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. 3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither - whatever they do prospers." Psalm 1:1
- Settle Down
Be quiet, and allow yourself to be still in the Lord's presence. This is most important to hear what God has to say to you through his Word. Reduce external distractions to a minimum, and relax your body by taking some deep breaths. Above all, try to be quiet within as well as without, by putting any pressing concerns aside, committing anxieties which are troubling you to the Lord(1 Pet 5:7) and confessing sins which he brings to mind(1 Jn 1:8-9) before continuing.
Thank God for his Word, and ask him to open it to you in a new way, by showing you the things he wants to teach you.
- Read & Write
Firstly, read the passage you have chosen a number of times. Read it slowly, so you can appreciate its particular "flavour". Then, write it down, If at all possible, learn the passage off by heart, memorising every word so that you can easily and quickly bring it back to mind later.
Seek to understand the meaning of your chosen passage in its context. Nothing is worse than misunderstanding a single verse (or even part of a verse) simply because it has been taken out of context. We may sometimes need to refer to a commentary or dictionary to get to the true meaning of the passage, especially if we have chosen a passage we have not read before. All we need is the general sense of what the passage means within its immediate context, in order to prevent us from misunderstanding what the Holy Spirit intended to convey when the text was first written down.
This is the very heart of the process. Turn each verse - even individual phrases - over and over in your mind, allowing God to show you the different shades of meaning in each one. You may wish to underline some key words in your transcript and note down any thoughts which seem especially significant. Is God perhaps showing you something you need to do, or even something you ought to stop doing?
- Pray Turn the thoughts and intimations you have received during your meditation into prayer. Use them as talking points with God - to thank him, praise him, confess to him - as you are moved. This will greatly strengthen your prayer life, by making you more aware of the extent of God's grace, as well enhance your appreciation of the richness of God's Word.
If God has shown you anything you need to do - or stop doing - as a result of your meditation, then do not put off taking action. After all, as the apostle James says, it is no use just listening to God's Word if all we do is then go away and forget all about it. We not only need to listen to God, but also do what he says if we are to receive the full benefit of looking into his Word (see James 1:22-25).
- Recall In one sense a Bible meditation is never finished! In a quiet moment later the same day, or the next, bring the passage you have meditated upon back into your mind and allow it to remain there. A good time to do this is last thing at night, just before you go to sleep.