Philippians 4:8, 9 ‘Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.’
The Greek word used in the above passage for ‘meditate’ has the meaning: to think about, turn over in the mind and to seriously ponder the subjects of meditation. The writer of Philippians, Paul the Apostle, in chapter 4, verse 9 of his letter, wanted his readers to also take into account, ‘The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me.’ He wanted them to meditate on all of these things.
If they did, the ‘God of peace’ would be with them (v 9). The way forward for them (Philippians 3:13) would be as for Paul. He wanted them to look to the future, and to press on with their heavenly calling (Philippians 3:13, 14, 20). They were not to dwell on the sufferings and difficulties of living in the world, a world that persecuted them for their beliefs and practices (Philippians 1:28, 29). They were to be,‘as lights in the world (Philippians 2:15).’
Part of the process of pressing on, ‘till the day of Christ’ (Philippians 1:10), was this business of meditation – focussing on the goodness, the loveliness, and the purity of Christ, and they would find peace by being in Him (Philippians 4:9). They were to rejoice in Him (Philippians 4:4), because He had freed them from the law of circumcision (Philippians 3:2, 3). They were to ‘stand fast in the Lord’ (Philippians 4:1). He would complete the work He had begun in them (Philippians 1:6).
They were to meditate upon all of these things.
Both in the Old and the New Testaments we see frequent mention of meditation. The Psalms have numerous passages reflecting on the benefits of meditation. Even in the very first Psalm, and verse 2, we read, the psalmist’s ‘delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night.’
There is great delight and satisfaction in meditating on the Word of the Lord (Psalm 1:2; 104:34; 119:48, 97). There is instruction and understanding through meditating on the Scriptures (Joshua 1:8; Psalm 49:3; 119:27, 99). There are benefits from focussing on the Lord through meditation (Psalm 104:34; 143:5; 145:5; 1 Timothy 4:15).
Unlike other forms of meditation practised by the world in their religions, Christian meditation focusses on the Word of God (Joshua 1:8), and particularly on Christ who is ‘all ‘to them (Colossians 3:11). God can be very pleased with those who meditate upon Him (Psalm 104:34).
A collection of biblical texts on the subject of meditation
Genesis 24:63 ‘And Isaac went out to meditate in the field in the evening; and he lifted his eyes and looked, and there, the camels were coming.’
Joshua 1:8 ‘This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it.’
Psalm 1:2 ‘But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night.’
Psalm 4:4 ‘Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still.’
Psalm 19:14 ‘Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to Your sight.’
Psalm 49:3 ‘My mouth shall speak wisdom, and the meditation of my heart shall give understanding.’
Psalm 63:6 ‘When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches.’
Psalm 64:1 ‘Hear my voice, O God, in my meditation; preserve my life from fear of the enemy.’
Psalm 77:12 ‘I will also meditate on all Your work, and talk of Your deeds.’
Psalm 104:34 ‘May my meditation be sweet to Him; I will be glad in the Lord.’
Psalm 119:15 ‘I will meditate on your precepts, and contemplate Your ways.’
Psalm 119:27 ‘Make me understand the way of Your precepts; so shall I meditate on your wonderful works.’
Psalm 119:48 ‘My hands also I will lift up to Your commandments; which I love, and I will meditate on Your statutes.’
Psalm 119:97 ‘O, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all day.’
Psalm 119:99 ‘I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation.’
Psalm 119:148 ‘My eyes are awake through the night watches, that I may meditate on Your word.’
Psalm 143:5 ‘I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your works; I muse on the work of Your hands.’
Psalm 145:5 ‘I will meditate on the glorious splendour of Your majesty, and on Your wondrous works.’
1 Timothy 4:15 ‘Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress will be evident to all.’