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What does the Bible teach about meditation?

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How we use our minds is certainly important in learning God's will and following it (Romans 12:1-2 Romans 12:1-2 1 I beseech you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
American King James Version×

Meditation can be a helpful tool in spiritual overcoming and growth. It involves concentrating one's thoughts on the Word of God (Psalms 119:99 Psalms 119:99I have more understanding than all my teachers: for your testimonies are my meditation.
American King James Version×
). A person might focus on a biblical principle or doctrine for the sake of seeking understanding. Or, to overcome sinful behavior or a weakness, meditating on how pertinent biblical guidelines apply to the specific need helps draw upon and direct God's Spirit. Picturing oneself making the right choices and taking the proper actions is also reinforcing. Through this directed thinking, a Christian learns new information or renews his knowledge and focus on spiritual truths.

The apostle Paul gives additional advice about things to focus our minds on, encouraging us to meditate on things that are true, pure and positive (Philippians 4:8 Philippians 4:8Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
American King James Version×

Achieving relaxation through meditation itself has no religious overtones and is a principle of good health. All one needs to do is concentrate his thinking on a pleasant scene or a pleasant memory, shutting out all distractions.

We should not confuse the meditation spoken of in the Bible with so-called transcendental meditation (such as yoga). The latter is a relaxation technique based on ancient customs of the Hindu religion and usually involves the chanting of a mantra. Because of that connection, we caution a Christian against engaging in it. Putting oneself into a trancelike state in order to achieve a goal or to overcome a problem is not the way the Bible reveals a Christian should approach these matters.

The way that God would have us overcome is by learning good judgment from His Word, making wise choices and then consistently acting on those choices—not trying to overcome through the quasi-hypnosis achieved through chanting a mantra.

For more information, please read our booklet Transforming Your Life: The Process of Conversion .

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  • matt2105

    Amen, Amen, Amen! Thank you for this article that separate Biblical meditation from the relaxation techniques from the middle east that opposes Christianity. Christians are often moved to do yoga and TM not understanding GOD’S View of these involvements. I am in a class at a Bible College where we are tested on the points and facts about these relaxation methods. I want to cry out “STOP” as they feed young minds with permissions that are ungodly and unhealthy for Believer’s faith in GOD
    Thank you for your light …
    Matthew M James.

  • gabemiller
    meditation is about stilling the mind to discover the essence of the mind. what the mind is made out of is no different than what anything else is made out of. even today scienctist are shouting everything is just one energy finding manifesting itself in different ways. remember e=mc^2. to say that meditation is ungodly is to say that there is a part of you god doesn’t want you to see, i feel that is ungodly. people who think God can be found thru dogamtic belief systems are the ones whove been decieved. and not those who embark on a very painful path of destroying what is not true- the mental limitations we place on ourselves and god. surely those whose feet touch the ground through meditation are the only ones who will see his face
  • Malachi 3_16-18
    Hi Gabe, The article isn’t against meditation. And the Bible endorses meditation of the right kind (Psalms 19:14 Psalms 19:14Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.
    American King James Version×
    ). Yes, we do need to be in a quiet place, away from the distractions so common to our cluttered and fast-paced world. One of the best times for me to meditate is at night before falling asleep, or if I wake up in the night. We can and should pray and meditate as we study God’s Word (Psalms 1:2 Psalms 1:2But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law does he meditate day and night.
    American King James Version×
    , Psalms 63:6 Psalms 63:6When I remember you on my bed, and meditate on you in the night watches.
    American King James Version×
    , Psalms 119:97 Psalms 119:97O how I love your law! it is my meditation all the day.
    American King James Version×
    ). To me, that means thinking about what I read there, and asking God to talk to me - to help, encourage, direct, and yes, correct me at times - through the pages of His Word. But I would not agree that meditation is about discovering the essence of the human mind. It would perhaps be more accurate to say that it is about seeking God and finding out more about Him. Then we can examine our own thoughts against the yardstick of His Word, which reflects His mind. As with everything, balance is important. Meditation is just one key, and can’t be used alone to draw closer to our Maker. Some believe that our minds need to be “emptied” in order to draw close to God, but we must always replace the bad with good, not with nothing. Trying to get a blank mind opens ourselves up to the danger of possession by Satan the Devil (Mt 12:43, Lk 11:25).

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