Thursday, January 8, 2015

Christian Meditation

We are told we should meditate on Scripture (Psalms 1:2; 19:14; Joshua 1:8). Meditation is simply thinking about Scripture. But there are hurdles.

To meditate on Scripture we need to be familiar with it, and to do this we need to read it (listening can be a possible substitute, though there are disadvantages). This is, of course, work, but I would make a few suggestions. Get a Bible translation you can understand. Unless you are already familiar with Elizabethan English, an older translation is probably not the place to start. Now some translations are more paraphrasic and therefore easier to understand. These also have more interpretation involved in the translation, and you should compare it with other translations if you want to be sure you have the meaning of a particular text. You want to start in the easier places of Scripture, such as the gospel of John. Choose a length of passage you can deal with. It is good to challenge yourself, but remember, the one chapter you do read is better than the four you do not.  Also, it is good to learn to ask questions about what the passage means and how it applies to our lives.. This is the first step toward meditation.

But the biggest hurdle is often not one of technique.  Many see knowing the Bible as just one more duty to be checked off a list. Rather than seeing it as an opportunity to know God  and hear what He has to say to us (Jeremiah 9:23,24; Philippians 3:7-11; John 17:3). Or we can see the Bible as merely a book of rules to show what we need to do. But Scripture is not about a new and better set of rules, but forgiveness for the rules we have already broken (Ephesians 1:7; Romans 4:4-8; Titus 3:5,6). Also, about God giving power to begin to transform us into the people He wants us to be (2 Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 2:10; Colossians 1:29). Now it does seek to show us the correct moral standard so we will know what the real goal is (Matthew 22:36-40; Romans 13:8-10; Galatians 5:13,14) and to show us we cannot begin to pursue that goal without God's forgiveness and power (John 15:5; Romans 3:19,20; 7:14). And it strongly criticizes the superficial self-righteous that is characterized by the outward observance of rules (Matthew 23:1-7; 9:9-13; Luke 7:36-50). Now you will have to decide how you will deal with difficult questions like the command to kill the Canaanites in the Old Testament (see any of the long threads on the subject between my blogger buddy Kansas City Bob and me in earlier posts.) But I am in favor of facing difficulties rather than hiding from them . And I believe that it is worth it to understand the God who loved us so much that He sent His Son to save us (John 3:14-18; Romans 5:6-8; 1 John 4:9,10). 

1 comment: