The Difference Between Reading the Bible and Meditating on God’s Word

To those now deep into biblical scripture you are probably aware of the difference between reading the bible and meditating on the world. Naturally, like many young Christians, I had assumed that once you read the bible, and you knew God’s words and it was enough. But I kept hearing about ‘meditating on the word’ and never understood what it meant. Until over a decade later when I began meditating on God’s word. 

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and, training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work,” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

2 Timothy 3:16-17

Reading the Bible

I’ve read the bible twice, decades ago, and still can’t quote a single lick of scripture. I read it just like I did with any storybook. Enough to know all the main characters and get a clear gist of the story. 

There was no real interest apart from simply wanting to know what all the hoopla was about and why people were so hyped up about it. There was no aim of gaining biblical knowledge or understanding what happened. I just read it. And dismissed everything I read within seconds of reading it. 

There are others who studied the bible with the aim of casting out bible verses on the fly or needed to do it for a class. Whatever their reason was, it wasn’t mine. I just wanted to read the thing and sorta get it over with.  Like it was something I needed to check off on my to-do list. 

Either way, in no way shape, or form, did reading the Bible had anything to do with God. Getting closer to God or learning the ways of a disciple never crossed my mind. And Though my reason for reading the bible was empty, (and at the time I didn’t know better) I wasn’t alone in my interest in the bible and why people read the bible.

Reading the bible.
That coffee is way too close! White sheets? That’s faith!
Photo by Tara Winstead on Pexels.com

Why Do People Read the Bible

The bible is said to contain the Word of God and for that reason, alone many people are interested in its contents. Though, that is not always the motivating reason behind reading the bible. Like I said, a lot of people around me were also reading the bible and from what I’ve noticed and Googled, some of the reasons weren’t particularly holy. 

Understand Why

This is why I eventually came back and re-read the bible. Too many bad things were happening and I wanted to know why. A lot of people who are atheists read the bible for this same reason. Why does the outcome for this differ? You’ll see it later on.

Bible Brownie Points

Some readers read the bible because they wanted to be able to quote scripture and look ‘extra Christian’. Whether it was to be the top performer in bible study or to simply appear holy, they thought knowing who said what was important. Or maybe they believed knowing scripture brought them closer to God.

Sheer Curiosity

As someone who has peeked into the books of other religions, I can attest to the fact they read the bible as well. Sometimes, it’s done out of curiosity as my friends in school did for religious studies and other times it’s for understanding the religion better. Either way, I highly recommend learning about other religions as it helps a lot with understanding the timeframe of the bible (The Quran is based around a similar time period) and the mindset of the believers. 

To Debunk the Faith

Yeah, some atheists and other religions do this to debunk the bible. Even among Christan religions, they use part of the bible to show why other Christian religions are wrong. Mainly, they point out all the ungodly things in the bible so you won’t believe it.

It was Requirement

It’s no secret I’m Roman Catholic Christened. I also have family and friends that are Independent Baptist, Protestant, Open Bible, and others. In all of these churches at some point, you will be required to either read the bible, attend some bible study or it is a requirement for baptism or confirmation. 

To Get Closer to God

The only true reason you should be reading the bible is to understand how God fits into your life and world and to get closer to God. If you ask any Christian this is the answer they will tell you. Which may or may not be the truth unless their actions match. 

Bible Quote: Hebrews 4:12
A familiar Bible Quote: Hebrews 4:12

Meditating on God’s Word

Many people read the bible, but how the bible affects those people differs even if the reason they initially started reading wasn’t godly. Some people who were on the fence either ended up hating God or becoming full believers. Speaking from experience, when I read the bible (the first out of obligation) the second time, I did so filled with hate for everything in my life. After I was done, nothing changed and I didn’t feel any way about God.

Before I started this blog, things were life or death and I decided if God wanted me here, He better show me a good reason to stay. So I started reading the bible again, and this time with change and an actual interest in finding the why and meaning, I paid closer attention to words. I don’t even know if I was meditating on God’s Word at that point in time. But all I knew is that I started to feel different and think differently about what I was reading.

I started to notice a lot of things I never paid attention to in the bible, like the evolution of the world and the Christian faith. Suddenly, I had a vested interest in the bloodlines of Jesus and the signs of Revelation. Even the missing books were suddenly something I needed to read (and you should too!).

After I read the bible, I decided to truly put my faith in God to the test and as the saying goes, ‘Let Jesus take the wheel’. No longer would I worry about things that were beyond my control. By meditating on the Word of God, I learned a lot of what went wrong in my life was because God was trying to steer me right and I kept going left.

TESTIMONY TIME!

At that time, I was also struggling with job loss and after I made that decision, money began flowing into my hands. Mind you, I never prayed for money. I just wanted a job. But the money kept coming in various ways to keep me fed while I built my business and landed my first contracted client. For that reason alone, if God told me to jump, I wouldn’t even ask how high, I would just jump until He said stop.

Leave your testimony for bible change in the comments.

Through immersion into bible study, I’ve realized reading the bible once will never do! Reading it without seeking God is also a no-no. Reading it with hate will only show you more things to hate about God. Only reading the bible with an open mind geared towards spiritual growth and change will have any sort of impact on your life.

Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

George Santayana

The Importance of Meditating on God’s Word

We all know that God didn’t write the bible. After all, the time He walked the earth stone was the paper of choice. Jokes aside, He may not have written it, but it was certainly inspired by Him. For that alone and the fact that some of the things written in the bible have been revealed as true and more is yet to come, we can’t outright dismiss the power of this book.  

The bible has been known to transform lives, even though at its core, it is a journal of historical events long forgotten. But as the infamous quote says; “those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it”. And if you are a bible reader, you would notice several instances where the Israelites forgot their own history and ended up as slaves in another country.  

“My little children, let us not love in word, neither with the tongue; but in deed and truth.” – 1 John 3:18 

Similarly, we too need to learn from the mistakes of the Israelites who stopped believing and listening to God. We need to keep meditating on God’s word so that we don’t forget why we were created and what purpose we are meant to serve. Love one another is Jesus’s only commandment because loving and helping one another is what we all need to be doing. 

Meditating on God’s word does more than bring us closer to God. It also provides wisdom and brings us closer to our purpose and one another. It can also shine the light on the negative things and people you need to remove from your life. Basically, meditating on God’s word is supposed to bring about change. Change in you and the world around you.

5 Replies to “The Difference Between Reading the Bible and Meditating on God’s Word”

  1. I don’t mind preaching outside of church doctrine as long as it falls within the words of the Bible. There is a very thin line between castigating the church and castigating the bible. Churches’ doctrines change, but the foundation of the Word does not.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Stepping Toes and commented:
    There always has to be a good reason to read the Bible. Even “simply wanting to know what all the hoopla was about and why people were so hyped up on it” could already be a good reason to start reading the Bible. From that point of view it could give some good idea what others are saying what would or would not be in Scripture.

    Best is to read the Bible to study it and to gain more knowledge of what is written inside it. Then it will give also a good idea of what others, like clergy, are insinuating what would be standing there in those 66 books of the Book of books, the Bible, and coming to see what is really written in it.

    When “in no way shape or form, did reading the Bible had anything to do with God.” then it would be a very difficult start, already closing some gates to receiving knowledge or to coming into conversation with God. Reading the Bible is namely like being present by someone, listening to what He has to say. Reading the Bible also gives an opportunity to come into conversation with the Divine Creator of heaven and earth, the God of gods. When starting to read what He has to say there has to be a willingness to listen to Him.

    For sure, several people coming to read the Bible, “some of their reasons aren’t particularly holy. ” Several people want to find reasons and words to attack those lovers of God, who find those words in the Bible sacred.

    Sometimes, as the article writer mentions, coming to read the Bible is “done out of curiosity” as his friends in school did for religious studies “and other times it’s for understanding the religion better.” And that is a very good reason, more people should consider why reading that book is as important as reading other basic scriptures of certain religious groups.

    All people should learn about the different religions and have to go through their basic scriptures. When the reason to read the Bible is to debunk the bible, like some atheists and other (religious) people do they would often be surprised where they end up. More than once, an atheist or even a Christian or other religious person came to see the truth and came to look for a church which is living according those Words of God.
    That “they use part of the bible to show why other Christian religions are wrong” is not such a bad idea, when they do it with the right intention and lovingly, to bring people closer to the One and Only Real God, the God of Israel, the Elohim Hashem Jehovah, Who is One and not two or three.

    Too often, people who call themselves Christian, do not dare to open their ear fully to those words of God, but prefer to be chained to the doctrinal teachings of their church, be it a Catholic or Trinitarian Protestant Church, instead of trying to read and understand the words like they are written black on white.

    When there is a willingness to listen carefully to God’s Word as presented in the Bible, the reader shall be surprised how a whole new world might open up before him or her. But then it becomes most important also to accept those Words from God and to act to the received new insight. And that last bit is one of the very difficult parts when one has lived for several years in a certain Christian denomination. Often it is easier for an atheist to become a true Christian than for a Christian to become a real follower and believer in the son of God, Jeshua or Jesus Christ. Most people coming from a certain denomination have difficulties to change their lives and to change church, after they discovered that there are differences in the teachings of their familiar church and the contents of the Bible.

    The difficulty for reading the Bible is that it has to be done with an open mind geared towards spiritual growth and with a willingness to change.
    The writer of this article still has to go a long way, because she writes “After all, the time He walked the earth stone was the paper of choice” giving an indication that she still considers Jesus to be God instead of him being the son of God. God never walked this earth. God is an eternal Spirit Being (meaning having no beginning or birth and no end = no death) no man can see. Clearly, the writer of this article is still confusing and mixing two different Biblical characters. This comes perhaps because she is so clinched or stuck by her Catholic upbringing, where they worship a Trinity and other gods and saints.

    We can only hope that those who read the Bible also one moment come to listen more carefully to the Words of God and start meditating on them as well, giving a two-way communication platform to the Author of the Book of books, so that more insight and wisdom will come to them.

    The writer of this article (Marita) ends very nicely but also hits the nail when she writes “Basically, meditating on God’s word is supposed to bring about change. Change in you and the world around you.” And changing direction and adapting their belief unto what is really written in Scriptures is one of the most difficult tasks for people who grew up in a Christian church tradition and who have come to read the Bible more thoroughly.
    And the Bible deserves a thorough reading and study to be moulded by God and filled with biblical clarity rather than church indoctrination.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Firstly, thank you… but wow! What a comment! And yes, I still have a ways to go and that’s the thing about learning and growing with God.
      You can’t be indoctrinated, but be a willing pupil, no matter how discovered the Word. If you are reading the bible and you don’t feel to make some changes in your life then something is wrong. You are not ready for what the bible has to say.

      Like

      1. Very true. But being ready to make changes in the way of the personal religious life is for many not as easy as it looks like. Too many people are too afraid of what others would say when they start proclaiming other visions than their church is preaching.

        Liked by 1 person

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