...but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night
One of my favorite puritans to study is John Owen. He has often been identified as one of the greatest theologians among the puritans. That is a major accomplishment when you consider the ranks of men like Jonathan Edwards.
J.I Packer wrote these words about Owen. “In his early twenties, conviction of sin threw him into such turmoil that for three months he could scarcely utter a coherent word on anything; but slowly he learned to trust Christ, and so found peace. In 1637 he became a pastor; in the 1640s he was chaplain to Oliver Cromwell, and in 1651 he was made Dean of Christ Church, Oxford’s largest college. In 1652 he was given the additional post of Vice-Chancellor of the University, which he then reorganized with conspicuous success. After 1660 he led the Independents through the bitter years of persecution till his death in 1683.”
Obviously he was a man of great influence and his writings continue to serve the Christian community in our world. As I have studied the life of Owen I am particularly dawn to his work on biblical meditation. The practice of meditation is popular today however many Christians are either confused about meditation or completely avoid this spiritual discipline. To practice biblical meditation simply means filling your mind with God’s word. Unlike the secular examples of meditation, biblical meditation does not seek to empty the mind of rational
This is the subject where I feel Owen provides tremendous help. He gives 3 simple stages of biblical meditation:
Stage 1 - Engage your mind in God’s word. At this stage you simply take time to think about God’s word by placing emphasis on specific words or thoughts throughout the text.
Stage 2 - Incline your heart to God’s word. This is the stage where you focus on how God’s truth should affect you and all of your relationships. I like to think of this stage as “preaching” God’s truth to your soul.
Stage 3 - Enjoying or Crying out. If there is no joyful worship of God that comes from the text because of distraction, burdens of life, sin needing to be confessed, awareness of suffering and evil in the world, conclude by crying out to God from your heart about what you need from him. This includes his mercy, strength, peace, patience, for Him to transform your lazy and disinterested heart.
We could say then that biblical meditation before prayer consists of thinking, then inclining, and, finally, either enjoying the presence or admitting the absence and asking for God’s mercy and help.
As you make a commitment to meditate on God’s Word regularly, I am confident that His Word will become the delight of your heart. You will discover that it has tremendous value in your life throughout your day.
Here are some additional Bible passages that come to mind when I think of
“I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.” -Psalm 119:15
“I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands.” -Psalm 143:5
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in you.” -Isaiah 26:3
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
Our Pastor writes most of the blog posts we publish, however, occasionally some of our other church leadership (some staff, some volunteer) who also contribute to the New Life blog.