If prayer is breathing, then meditating on Godâ€™s word is eating. Meditating on God’s Word is very different than the “New Age/Eastern Thinking” mindset. The goal of most New Age/Eastern Thinking is to EMPTY your mind so that enlightenment can come. When we meditate on Godâ€™s word, we want to FILL our minds.
Thatâ€™s why I love using the word marinate. Let it soak – just like a steak (sorry, vegetarians, itâ€™s an illustrationâ€¦just go with it). When we put a steak in marinade, eventually the steak assumes the flavor of that marinade. The longer the steak soaks, the more it tastes like the marinade. This is the same effect the Word of God has on us.
How To Marinateâ€¦Beginnerâ€™s Guide
If you already have a system in place, use it. This is just to get us started.
1. Start big, not small
I would start with chapters, not verses. Why? I want stories and big picture ideas that I can chew on. I want to know the whole arch of the story Iâ€™m dealing with. If I have the story in my head, I can muse and ponder the details during the day. If Iâ€™m unsure, I do a quick re-read of the story to make sure I have my facts straight.
Iâ€™ll stay in the same spot for a week or more, reading it over and over again. Does it get boring? Maybeâ€¦ thatâ€™s why I also use a distraction pad/journal!
2. Have a distraction pad.
Just like we had one in prayer! Any question â€“ whether it seems germane to the topic or not, I write down. Iâ€™ll refer back to it throughout the week. If I move on to another passage, I still have my notes & thoughts jotted down. When I come back, I donâ€™t have to start all over again. I also try to answer theses questions for every passage I read:
What word or phrase “shimmered” or stuck out.
What did you like best about the passage?
What did you like least?
What did you learn about God?
What did you not understand or find puzzling?
If you were to choose a sentence or phrase to meditate on this week, which would it be? And why?
3. Work in, not out.
Try not to start your time in the Word with figuring out how it applies to your life. Figure out how it worked IN the context your reading. Why is it in this location? What are the major themes and issues being dealt with?
Free yourself from having to find an application for every single thing you read in Scripture.
4. Read more, not less.
Scripture memory is key. But I also want to know the larger context of that verse I am quoting. Quoting it and applying it in a way that it was never meant to be applied is just as dangerous as not knowing it at all.
That is why I read more, not less. If the story or issue is covered in other areas of scripture, I read it in those settings. Iâ€™ll read the passage in multiple versions of the Bible. In order to marinate, I want more information floating around, not less.
5. Donâ€™t go alone
Try to take a Life Group Leader, friend, Coach, or somebody on the journey with you. They will have different takes on the passage. God could use you to speak to them and vice versa. We are less likely to miss stuff if we take someone else with us.