How Do I Meditate? 10 Tips for Soaking in Scripture

It’s no secret that we are called to meditate on Scripture. . . . 

This book of instruction must not depart from your mouth; you are to meditate on it day and night so that you may carefully observe everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do. (Joshua 1:8)

Instead, his delight is in the LORD’s instruction, and he meditates on it day and night. (Psalm 1:2)

I will meditate on your precepts and think about your ways. (Psalm 119:15)

The Lord says we should reflect on it, mull it over, chew on it (unglamorous as it sounds) the way a cow does its cud. However, perhaps you’re like me and find this spiritual discipline to be a struggle.

“I want to meditate,” you say. “But I’m just not sure how.” I get it. As I stopped to meditate on this answer (sorry, I had to), I came up with ten ways that we can make meditation happen in our everyday lives. Not every strategy will work for you. In fact, maybe most of them won’t be a good fit for you. But perhaps two or three of them will be doable. Or maybe my list will help you create your own. My thoughts are hardly original, but hopefully they’ll at least get you thinking. 

Tip #1: Write It

Take some time to write out a passage or verse that you want to think about or journal your thoughts about it. The act of putting a pen to paper will trigger your memory as multiple senses get involved in the activity. Writing something out longhand (as opposed to typing) will also help you slow down. Many of my own meditation problems stem from a brain that simply works too fast and wants to move on before it really should. Taking the time to write out what I want to think about prevents me from skipping rocks over the verse and sprinting ahead to the next thing.

Tip #2: Pray It

Take a few minutes to reflect on a passage of Scripture by turning it into a prayer. If you’re unfamiliar with this discipline, it will probably feel awkward and clunky at first. You’ll wonder what in the world you’re supposed to be saying. Start by finding attributes or works of God that you can thank Him for. Of course, some passages will be easier than others in this regard, but God’s character is on every page of His Word. Next, consider how the gospel shows up in the passage. What lines can you draw to Christ? How does this passage stoke your passion for the work of redemption? You can also look for promises of God to claim or sin you need to confess. Don’t worry if you feel a little clumsy doing this at first. While it’s important to be true to the meaning of the text, meditation is all about a thought process. 

Tip #3: Create with It

For some of you, this one may seem a little bit “out there.” Believe me, I am not an artistic person! However, as left-brained as I tend to be, I have still benefited from some “creative” meditation. Sometimes drawing a sketch of a passage can really help you visualize and understand it as you slow down and examine the details. Your picture may not be fit for public display, but that’s not the point anyway. Or maybe you could try setting a verse to music or writing song lyrics based on the verse. In order to do this and remain true to the interpretation of the passage, some serious meditation will be required. 

Tip #4: Memorize It

I believe that memorizing the Word may be the single most effective way to meditate on a verse or passage. You have no choice but to ponder the words as you go through the process of memorization. And then they’re hidden in your heart. The Holy Spirit may bring them back to mind to help you fight sin and temptation, to renew your thoughts, to encourage your soul, or to inform the content of your prayers. Each time you review what you have stored in your heart, you meditate on the passage again. You can mull over it in bed, while folding laundry, on the treadmill, or in the car. 

Tip #5: Teach It

I was an education major in college, and one of my professors once told our class, “If you can’t explain it, you don’t really understand it.” She, of course, was talking about formal teaching in a classroom setting, but the same applies to a dinnertime conversation or family devotions. You don’t have to stand before a class to teach something that you’ve been meditating on. Just take a few minutes to verbalize what’s been rolling around in your head. The act of putting your thoughts into words will once again cause your brain to meditate. 

Tip #6: Read It in Different Versions 

Another simple method of meditation is to read the passage you want to think about in several versions of the Bible. Doing so will help you notice slightly different shades of meaning for a particular word and help you think about even the most familiar verse in a new way. Thankfully, we live in an era in which access to myriad versions is available with the swipe of a finger. 

Tip #7: Paraphrase It 

After you’ve studied a passage or verse, close your Bible and try to put the main idea into your own words. As with some of the other of these tips, this may feel awkward at first and you may hesitate to share your paraphrase with anyone else. That’s okay. Like teaching, paraphrasing requires you to understand and makes you put your thoughts into words. This will once again lead to meditation. For longer passages, you might try summarizing. Try to pull out the key points and write a brief paragraph to give a synopsis of a chapter or two. Doing this will help with both comprehension and meditation. 

Tip #8: Take It with You 

My single biggest problem with meditating is simply forgetfulness. I can spend time in Scripture while the house is quiet and everyone else is asleep, but once they’re up, what I’ve read often flies out of my brain. Sound familiar? Maybe what we need is to take the Word with us. Write out the verse you want to ponder on a sticky note, and put that note in your pocket. Every time you put your hand in your pocket or pull out the note, you’ll be reminded of the verse. Or, you could go digital and take a picture of your sticky note and set it as the wallpaper of your phone’s lock screen. Then, every time you check your phone, you’ll see the verse. 

Tip #9: Listen to It 

Bible apps have made listening to Scripture easier and more accessible than ever. Many have settings to allow you to listen to a verse or chapter on repeat so that you can chew on it over and over. You can also listen to many different versions of the Bible with different narrators—and great accents. You can listen and meditate while you’re doing something else that doesn’t require too much brainpower: driving, cooking dinner, weeding the garden, folding clothes, or exercising. 

Tip #10: Learn It

Another great way to meditate on a passage is to become a student. Find a sermon or sermon series from a trusted pastor, listen to a podcast, or read a book, commentary, or blog that dives into the book or passage that you’re studying. Benefiting from the scholars with whom God has blessed the Church wisely stewards this gift of common grace. Of course, not every blog or sermon is worth meditating on—and reading a book about Scripture is not the same as meditating on Scripture. However, studying at the feet of other teachers may help you meditate on the verse even more effectively.

So, there you go. Ten practical ways that you can abide in the Word and let the Word abide in you (John 15:7). 

Scripture meditation and memorization go hand in hand. Want to know more of God and His Word, but can’t seem to find the time? Janet Pope advocates memorizing whole chapters and books of the Bible—not just scattered verses—while you’re showering, folding laundry, vacuuming, waiting in traffic, or at the doctor’s office in His Word in My Heart by Janet Pope. Get your copy in the Revive Our Hearts store, then listen to the accompanying podcast series

About the Author

Cindy Matson

Cindy Matson

Cindy Matson lives in a small Minnesota town with her husband, son and daughter, and ridiculous black dog. She enjoys reading books, drinking coffee, and coaching basketball. You can read more of her musings about God's Word at

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