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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 Bible study aid booklet Transforming Your Life: The Process of Conversion .

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