By Emmanuel Egbunu
If there is one way to get the most from the Bible, it is through study and meditation. Studying the Word means taking the time to explore the shades of meanings associated with the passage of study. For sure, the Holy Spirit is the great Teacher, who unveils the meaning of the Word He inspired; yet we have a responsibility to key into His role. We have to study and meditate on the Word.
Meditation on the Bible means fixing our thoughts for a prolonged time on the keywords in the passage read so that we can turn it round in our minds to grasp, not only the full meaning but also its application. Meditation requires quietness, focus and quality attention. It is such a contrast to some of our hurried religious ritual in approaching our Bible most times. When we read the Bible thoughtlessly, we miss the treasures hidden in it. A miner keeps digging into the ground because he is hopeful that there is a treasure to be found beyond the rubble. Of course, the Bible is not rubble. Rather, it is our mundane concerns that take us away from meditation that become the rubble that robs us of the treasures of the Bible. Edwin Hodder wrote in 1863, “Thy Word is like a deep, deep mine; and jewels rich and rare/ Are hidden in its mighty depths/ for every searcher there.”
Joshua was told to meditate on God’s law day and night (Joshua 1:8), the Psalms opens with the words of Psalm 1 which include v2: “his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law, he meditates day and night.” The entire book of Psalms is filled with allusions to meditations, but we will take just one more: “Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day.” (Psalm 119:97).
In this holy season of Lent, we must go beyond the hurried reading of the Word to serious study and meditation. Almost every gadget or medication comes with material for the users’ close attention. It may be called manual or directions for use, with advice about proper use. Whoever wants maximum benefit takes this seriously. At this point, we must repeat a passage we had used earlier in this series: “The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the LORD are firm, and all of them are righteous. They are more precious than gold than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey from the honeycomb.” (Psalm 19:8–10, NIV). Only those who take time to study and meditate on God’s Word can give such testimony. With that approach, the Bible becomes more than a mere book, but instead the living Word of God.
In a world of many distractions, discipline is required for this to be more than a mere wish. For full concentration, choose a time that is not likely to bring in many phone calls or visitors (or else, switch off the phone and reschedule visits). Read the passage very slowly.
Pause and think over the keywords. Keep a notebook handy to jot down wandering thoughts for attention later. Think of a song (or compose one from the passage you are reading) to hold it to memory. Use a study Bible or a Bible dictionary to make the meaning clearer. Record your insights. Pray Psalm 19:14.