The past few days, I’ve been feeding my soul from Encouragement for Today’s Pastors: Help from the Puritans, by Joel Beeke and Terry Slachter. These short essays are given as a gift to those who need soul refreshment. After quoting a definition of meditation, from Thomas Hooker (1586-1647), the writers provide the following directives for meditating on Scripture.
- Pray for the power to harness your mind. Focus by faith on the task of meditation. For example, use Psalm 119:18, 36-37 as a prayer.
- Read a passage of Scripture, then select a verse or two or a particular doctrine upon which to meditate.
- Memorize these verses to facilitate meditation, to strengthen faith, to help you witness to and counsel others, and to serve as a means of divine guidance.
- Think on what you know about these verses or subject and how you have experienced their truths by probing the book of Scripture, the book of conscience, and the book of nature [E.g. the testimony of creation as mentioned in Psalm 19:1-6]. Develop particular applications to your own life. As Thomas Watson said, “Take every word as spoken to yourselves.”
- Stir up affections such as love, desire, hope, zeal, and joy to glorify God. Preach the truth to your own soul (Ps 42:5; 103:1).
- Rouse your mind to some specific duty and a holy resolve to do it by God’s grace.
- Conclude with prayer, thanksgiving, and psalm-singing.
“In meditation you may choose to focus on one verse of God’s Word or a key word in a verse….Bible study should be mingled with meditation and prayer.” Let’s remember the assurance of the first Psalm.
How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.
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