This study will attempt to take a look at
the biblical concept of meditation. In doing so we will
be observing the use of the word in its context and try to
ascertain the use of the original words in
their hebrew and greek settings.
This study was undertaken as a response
to a so called "biblical" teaching that one had to
"listen with the mind" to be able to hear if the Lord had anything
to say. This "listening with the
mind" was a cessation of thought very similar to eastern
mysticism, with potentially dangerous
consequences for the believer.
THE SCRIPTURES BELOW ARE CODED TO STRONG'S #1897, AND TWOT #467.
PSALMS 1:2 NKJV
But his delight is in the law of the
Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night.
PSALMS 63:6 NKJV
When I remember You on my bed, I meditate
on You in the night watches.
PSALMS 77:12 NKJV
I will also meditate on all Your work,
And talk of Your deeds.
JOSHUA 1:8 NKJV
"This Book of the Law shall not depart
from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and
night, that you may observe to do according to all that is
written in it. For then you will make
your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
ISAIAH 33:18 NKJV
Your heart will meditate on terror:
hagah, haw-gaw'; a prim. root [comp. 1901]; to murmur (in pleasure
or anger); by impl. to
ponder:-imagine, meditate, mourn, mutter, roar, soar, speak,
study, talk,, utter.
YOUNGS ANALYTICAL CONCORDANCE: HAGAH
GESENIUS HEBREW LEXICON
(1)to murmur, to mutter, to growl. (2)poetically - to speak. (3)to
meditate ( prop. to speak with
oneself, murmuring and in a low voice, as is often done by those
who are musing,
THEOLOGICAL WORD BOOK OF THE OLD TESTAMENT:
I, utter, mutter, moan(mourn KJV),
meditate, devise, plot. In PS 19:14 "the meditation of my
heart" is parallel to "the words of my mouth" as the psalmist
compares his own speech with what
God communicates in nature and in scripture. Another positive use
relates to meditating upon the
Word of God, which, like the plots of the wicked (PS 38:12) goes
on day and night (Josh 1:8, PS
38:12). Perhaps the scripture was read half out loud in the
process of meditation. The psalmist
also speaks about meditating upon God and his works (PS 63:6;
All indicate an ACTIVE use of the
mind on contemplating the word of God etc. There is no
indication of an emptying of the mind and cessation of thought to
allow the Lord to talk to us. Or
any indication of silencing ones thoughts to "listen" and see if
the Lord has anything to say.
STRONGS #1900, TWOT #467 b
PSALM 49:3 NKJV
My mouth shall speak wisdom, And the
meditation of my heart shall bring understanding.
GESENIUS: thought, meditation
ACTIVE use of the mind!
STRONGS #1901, TWOT #466a
PSALM 5:1-2 NKJV
1 Give ear to my words, O Lord, Consider my
2 Give heed to the voice of my cry, My King and
my God, For to You I will pray.
GESENIUS:heat, fervour of mind.
TWOT:"hagig"; murmuring, whisper, musing.
ACTIVE use of mind!
STRONGS #1902, TWOT #467c.
PSALM 19:14 NKJV
Let the words of my mouth and the
meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O
Lord, my strength and my redeemer.
solemn sound 1
GESENIUS:a meditation, device, plot, Lam 3:62 ( compare Ps 2:1)
ACTIVE use of the mind!
STRONGS #7878, TWOT #2255.
PSALM 119:15,23,48,78,148 NKJV
15 I will meditate on Your precepts,
23 Princes also sit and speak against me, But Your
servant meditates on Your statutes.
48 My hands also I will lift up to Your commandments,
Which I love, And I will meditate on
78 Let the proud be ashamed, For they treated me
wrongfully with falsehood; But I will meditate
on Your precepts.
148 My eyes are awake through the night watches, That I may
meditate on Your word.
talk with 1
GESENIUS: (1) to produce, to bring forth. (2) to speak, to utter
with the mouth. (3) to sing, to
lament or complain. (4) to talk to oneself i.e. to meditate,
especially on divine things.
TWOT:"siach", I, meditate, muse, commune, speak, complain.
Basic meaning of this verb seems to be "rehearse", "repent", or
"go over a matter in one's mind."
This meditation or contemplation may be done either inwardly or
outwardly. Since English
differentiates these two notions, the word is usually rendered
"meditate," or "talk". In the first
instance it is used of silent reflection on God's works (Ps 77:8;
9:12) and God's word (Ps
119:15,23,27,48,78,148). In the second instance it is used of
rehearsing aloud God's works (1 Chr
16:9; Ps 105:2; 145:15). If the subject, however, is painful, it
is translated "to complain" (Ps
53:17; Job 7:11) one can "talk disparagingly" (Ps 69:12) The word
functions as the "Key word" in
Ps 77. Here the Psalmist transfers his complaint based on a
contemplation (v.6) of God's absence
in contrast to his past deeds precisely by meditating or talking
of God's deeds.
ACTIVE use of mind!
STRONGS #7879, TWOT #2255a.
PSALM 104:34 NKJV
May my meditation be sweet to Him; I will
be glad in the Lord.
be talking 1
GESENIUS: (2) speech, discourse, (3) quarrel, (4) meditation.
TWOT: "siah", mediation, complaint, communication, talking,
prayer, babbling. babbling--
troublesome meditations or "cause for continual outward
ACTIVE use of the mind!
STRONGS #7881, TWOT #2255b.
PSALM 119:97,99 NKJV
97 Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all
99 I have more understanding than all my teachers, For
Your testimonies are my meditation.
GESENIUS: meditation, especially pious, relating to divine things,
Ps 19:97,99; Job 15:4.
"meditation before God"
TWOT:"siha", meditation, prayer devotion, pious meditation. Ps
119:97, love for God's law.
1 TIMOTHY 4:15 NKJV
Meditate on these things; give yourself
entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to
meditate upon 1
THAYERS: "meletao", used by the Greeks of the meditative pondering
and the practice of
orators and rhetoricians.
LUKE 21:14 NKJV
"Therefore settle it in your hearts not
to meditate beforehand on what you will answer;
meditate before 1
THAYERS: "promeletao", to meditate beforehand.
The concept that getting closer to the
Lord and listening to His word can be achieved by the
cessation of active thought so as to "listen" and thereby "hear"
what the "Lord" may say to us
does not stand on a scriptural foundation. It is clearly shown by
this study that the scriptural usage
of the word "meditation" meant ACTIVE THOUGHT not cessation of
active thought. There is
little "redemptive" value in ceasing to think. If the Lord wishes
to speak to us He does not require
any special assistance from the person that He wishes to speak to,
for if He wished he could blow
their eardrums out to get their attention. The only entities that
require a preset mental attitude to
be able to communicate to believers are deceiving spirits who have
just that idea in mind. While
the zealous desires of believers to establish intimate personal
contact with the Lord including
personal communication, on the surface would seem commendible, one
must not forget that it
was "an evil and adulterous nation that seeks after signs" in the
time of Christs sojourn on earth.
Consider Joseph Smith (Mormonism), Mary Baker Eddy
(Christian Science), Jim Jones
(Jonestown), Joanna Michaelson (The Beautiful Side of Evil), and a
host of others who were
deceived and led others into deception. These all listened for,
heard audible voices, and were led
by those voices.
Consider the likes of Martin Luther, Jonathan
Edwards, John Wesley, Charles Wesley, George
Whitfield, Charles Finney, D.L. Moody, and a host of others who
relied upon the written Word of
God for their guidance.
Again, I must reiterate that there is no
indication in scripture that the Lord requires or even
wants a believer to cease thought to allow the believer to listen
in case the Lord wishes to speak.
This is a condition that is ripe for evil deception from deceiving
spirits and "angels of light".
Let us not neglect the obvious benefits
from true biblical meditation on the word of God, on
His mighty works, in the glory of His magnificent creation, and
most of all in the grace of God
bestowed upon us through the blood of Jesus Christ, shed in the
agony of the cross, to purchase
our redemption from our sin.
What to do?