What Does It Mean to Meditate?

James 3:17–18

Do you ever stop to meditate on the Bible? Do you even know what it means to meditate? If we’re ever going to get the most out of our Bible reading, we have to learn to slow down and really think while we read. In this lab, Pastor John models one technique for meditation.

Principle for Bible Reading

Negative/Positive — This principle seeks to emphasize what something is by stating what it is not. There is usually one idea being communicated by two different statements — one denies, and the other affirms. A negative/positive relationship is often introduced by words such as “not,” “but,” or sometimes with no connecting word at all.

Read more about negative/positive relationships.

An Example:

I am telling the truth, I am not lying!” The child with cookie crumbs around his face may protest that he has not been in the cookie jar. He may tell his mother this and then assure her that he is telling the truth (positively put) restating the same idea by stating that he is not lying (negatively put).

In this Lab:

Pastor John uses this principle in a unique and creative way. He meditates on a positive statement in James 3:18 by creating his own negative statement.

Positively, the verse reads,

“And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”

Pastor John rewrites it negatively as,

“Sowing in strife will not produce a harvest of righteousness.”

By stating verse 18 in its negative form, Pastor John sees the verse afresh, leading him to connect it with James 1:20.

Study Questions

  1. Read James 3:17–18, and try to restate the positive statement in verse 18 in negative terms. That is, write the opposite of James 3:18 in your own words.
  2. Now, compare James 3:18 with James 1:20. What conclusions can you draw by seeing the parallels between the two verses (Pastor John sees at least four)?
  3. What are some specific ways you have meditated on Scripture in the past? What ways does Pastor John model in this lab?