Combining meditation with Bible study can help make God's Word a more useful tool in your life.
The most powerful weapon of all in the Christian's arsenal IS the Bible! God's Word contains more power than all the nuclear weapons in the world! Look at the mighty capabilities of this supreme weapon: "The word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow [bone chilling power], and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart [pinpoint accuracy]" (Hebrews 4:12). Power, a cutting edge and accuracy — everything you need to win. But are you using this super sword effectively to surmount your spiritual battles? Are you studying more but overcoming less? You need to learn how to use the Bible more effectively – how to wield this powerful weapon more potently in your life. Read this article and make the power of God's Word part of your very being. You can actually write the Word of God on your mind!
The purpose of Bible study
Why do you study the Bible anyway? To feel spiritual? Because you have heard you're supposed to? Let's examine the right reasons to study the Bible. The Bible says to study so "that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (II Timothy 3:17). Bible study should arm and equip you with the principles of God's Word. These principles, actively working in your mind, imbue you with the power to successfully live God's way of life. And the method of Bible study we'll examine equips your mind like no other form of Bible study. So just what is this method? It actually combines meditation and Bible study in one powerful spiritual weapon. We might call it "medistudy" — it packs an awesome one-two punch guaranteed to help you knock sin out.
Bible study is the act of carefully and earnestly reading, rereading and comparing passages in the inspired Word of God. But how do we comprehend what we read? God's Holy Spirit guides us in understanding (John 14:26). Sitting down to study the Bible is like eating a meal. The apostle Paul, in Hebrews 5:12-14, compared God's Word to milk and meat. Jesus Christ said that God's Word is the meat that produces eternal life (John 6:63). But it is not enough just to eat. Eating only brings the food in. For the food to give us lasting strength, it must be digested. Many of us hurriedly eat — skim or rush through our Bible study — but do not stop and digest God's nutritious Word. This leads us to the second needed element: meditation. Spiritual meditation is detailed concentration on a Bible principle and its application to our lives. When you immediately meditate after studying the Bible, you allow the acids and enzymes of God's Spirit to digest and assimilate the meat of God's Word. Paul explained the powers of God's Spirit this way: "For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God" (I Corinthians 2:10). Through meditation, the principles of God's Word become a part of you. This is why David was able to say, "I have more understanding than all my teachers, for Your testimonies are my meditation" (Psalm 119:99). The powerful weapon of God's Word will not just be between the covers of your Bible, but implanted in your mind. God promises, "I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people" (Jeremiah 31:33). Your part in this miraculous process is Bible study and meditation. Now let's look at three ways in which to "medistudy." Notice II Timothy 3:16: "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." In this verse Paul defined three major areas relating to Bible study and meditation: doctrine, reproof and correction (these two are similar) and instruction in righteousness (Christian living principles). Let's examine each of these areas.
What is doctrine? The word doctrine means a belief or teaching. A man once asked me if I had a book that contained all of the doctrines of the Worldwide Church of God. To his surprise, I handed him the Bible. Yes, the Bible contains all the teachings of almighty God and of the Church of God. You need a thorough understanding of the doctrinal truths of God. Satan corrupts and enslaves the minds of billions with his false doctrines (Revelation 12:9). Through doctrinal study and meditation, the truth will become part of you. The truth will break the chains of error and free you from deception (John 17:17). Since the truth is the opposite of error, it is logical to use a comparison- contrast technique in your doctrinal study. First choose a doctrine — for example, the soul. The lie about the soul is one of the biggest Satan has told. Think about everything your church, family and society have taught you about the soul. Write down your past concepts, such as the idea that the soul is immortal or that the soul and body separate at death, and the soul goes to heaven, hell or some other place. Bring all these false ideas out into the light. Next, study God's Word on the soul. Get out your concordance and Bible helps. Look up all of the scriptures on the soul and write them down. You will find scriptures proving that the soul is mortal (Genesis 2:7). You will see that the soul dies (Ezekiel 18:4, 20). You will learn that the dead soul doesn't know anything — that there is no consciousness in death (Ecclesiastes 9:5). Then contrast the truth you have just studied with the error of your former beliefs about the soul. The mortal soul is the person, whereas Satan's lie would have you believe that the soul is immortal and is captive inside the body, struggling to be free. The mortal soul dies at death; it does not waft off somewhere to its "eternal reward." Contrasting ideas through meditation tends to solidify the truth and wash the error from your mind. When your hands are dirty, you put them under water and rub them against one another. Through this contrasting action the dirt is washed away and your hands are cleaned. In the same way, contrasting truth with error washes away the error from your mind "with the washing of water by the word" (Ephesians 5:26). Now, impress the truth about the soul deep into your mind by comparing truth with truth. Meditate on the doctrine of the soul by comparing it to other doctrinal truths, "comparing spiritual things with spiritual" (I Corinthians 2:13). Think about how the truth about the soul supports the truth about the resurrection of the dead (John 5:28-29). That eternal life is God's gift to humanity, not something we already have (Romans 6:23), makes sense only in light of the fact that the soul is mortal. How can God mercifully destroy the wicked (Malachi 4:1, 3) instead of burning them forever, as Satan's falsehood about hell states, unless the soul is mortal? The facets of God's truth fit with each other like pieces of a puzzle, together forming one beautiful picture. The clearer you see the whole picture the deeper the truth will be engraved in your mind. Combining meditation with Bible study will equip your mind with doctrinal truth.
Paul also said that Scripture is profitable for reproof and correction (II Timothy 3:16). To reprove means to make right that which is wrong. The Word of God contains the power to reprove and correct you of your most difficult problems. Being creatures of habit, we are prone to repeat the same spiritual mistakes again and again. But applying God's Word to the past and to the future unlocks the Bible's power to correct, refine and improve our character. The past is the key to the future — and the key to change. So think about and pray about a problem in your life that needs to be corrected. Let's take, for example, revenge. In the past, perhaps, when someone wronged you, you tried to get even. But now you know, from the Bible, that getting revenge yourself is wrong. Apply the sword of God's Word (Hebrews 4:12) to destroy this problem. Search for scriptures like Romans 12:17-21, which says: "Repay no one evil for evil... Do not avenge yourselves ... 'Vengeance is Mine; I will repay,' says the Lord. 'Therefore if your enemy hungers, feed him; if he thirsts, give him a drink.' " Repent of returning evil for evil. Determine to stop taking your own vengeance and leave judgment and retaliation to God. Now meditate on the future. Picture a realistic situation that tests your correction. See someone hurting you – mistreating you — your emotions coming to a boil. But instead of giving in to your vengeful nature, see yourself asking God for strength to do what is right. See yourself forgiving the offender. Watch yourself doing good toward the one who hurt you. Feel the rage of vengeance turn to the peace of love. By studying, you learn the correct way to act. Through meditation, you, in a sense, experience the correct way to act. Now you can say with David, "Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You" (Psalm 119:11).
We not only need to correct our past weaknesses, we also need to learn God's positive principles that produce the fruits of righteousness in our everyday lives. Paul tells us that the Word of God is profitable for "instruction in righteousness" (II Timothy 3:16). God's laws and principles are righteousness (Psalm 119:172). They instruct us in how to live the abundant life. The Bible reveals the causes that will bring about the happiness and joy we all want in our lives. Therefore, a useful relationship to consider in instructional "medistudy" is that of cause and effect. Understanding the relationships between the causes and effects of a situation helps us tremendously to learn and live the ways of righteousness. First, think of one area of your life that needs improving, in which you need instruction in righteousness. What about your marriage? Could it be happier? Study God's Word for instructions on what causes happiness in marriage. Scriptures such as Ephesians 5:22-28 and Titus 2:4 teach husbands and wives to love one another. The effect of love — of giving — is a happy, sound marriage. Next, meditate on the direct cause-and-effect relationship between giving love and a happy marriage. Deeply reflect on the effect of giving to your mate. Picture in detail specific acts of giving that will cause your mate to be happy. See yourself sacrificing your wants to satisfy his or her needs and desires, giving the affection, the flowers, the notes, the little loving gestures of marriage that mean so much. Now, with your mind's eye, watch the fruits — the effects — of your efforts blossom before you. Happiness and joy burst out all over your marriage. Your mind is now equipped to do the things that will cause your marriage to be happier. Through meditation on God's Bible instructions, you equip your mind with the principles of righteousness. Applying these principles will produce the fruits of righteousness in your life. As we have seen, "medistudy" arms and equips you with the mighty sword of the Word of God. But what gives you the ability and power to use this weapon? Is it the power of your mind alone? No! We do our part through studying and thinking reflectively, but we must depend on God.
The final factor
God's Holy Spirit gives us the power to use His Word in spiritual battle. Without God's Spirit, "medistudy" is in vain. The Holy Spirit is the key to understanding and using God's Word. Paul described the relationship between God's Word and the Holy Spirit in an interesting way. In analogy, he says the sword belongs to the Spirit, referring to "the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Ephesians 6:17). The Spirit activates and deploys the mighty sword of God's Word for our use. This super sophisticated spiritual guidance system brings the sword out of the silo of the mind, where it was put through meditation and study. Speaking of the Holy Spirit's deployment, Jesus said that the Spirit would "bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you" (John 14:26). Jesus Christ speaks to us today through the Bible. Then the Holy Spirit guides the sword to the target. Jesus explained, "However, when it, the Spirit of truth, has come, it will guide you into all truth" (John 16:13). (God's people understand that the Holy Spirit is not a person but, contrary to popular belief, the power of God. For more information, write for our free article entitled "Just What Is the Holy Spirit?") God has given you this powerful spiritual weapon – His Word. Now you know how to "medistudy" — how to arm yourself with the Word, making it a part of your very being. You have access to the Holy Spirit to help you use the Word in battle. But you must decide to put forth the effort and time to study God's Word and write it on your mind through meditation. You must use the sword of the Word to fight and win. It's up to you now. The sword is in your hands!