Christians Meditate?

The short answer is that yes Christians do meditate. However, what is it composed of? What is biblically accurate Christian meditation?

Various meditation methods around the world will have you spend time using controlled breathing methods, repeated phrases, clearing the mind, particular exercise and so on during meditation. They often fixate on achieving an altered state of mind &/or relaxation.

Christian meditation is a much more flexible action than those.

Christian meditation is a time of reflection.

The book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.

Joshua 1:8 (NASB)

Another example . . .

But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.

Psalm 1:2 (NASB)

The words used to describe this action aren’t always “meditate.” For example:

The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer,
But the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.

Proverbs 15:28 (NASB)

Christian meditation is a time to reflect on God’s truth. This includes His Law but it also includes any part of His Word, the Scriptures.

As you may already be imagining, this is a highly adaptable activity. You could be meditating on Proverbs 15:1 as you drive your car or perhaps you spend time thinking on a passage you finished in Romans 9 as you sit reclined in a rocking chair.

I find the best times to meditate on the Lord and His precepts is when I can put the most focus on the topic while maintaining as few distractions as possible. This is why favorites of mine are to simply lie down and stare at the ceiling as I think. I find it similarly helpful to do the same outdoors but instead looking up at the sky.

Meditation is not necessarily always and specifically on Scripture as it can include reflecting on a past action but considering it light of God’s direction. I will do this by reflecting on a past conversation that I had with someone as we discussed the Gospel. I will reflect on what was said, what could have been said, and what I should say the next I meet them. Of course, my thoughts are considering all this in light of God’s Word. You could call this a practical application meditation. The thing you have to be careful about here is to keep your mind God-focused as without Him included in the reflecting time, it would likely then devolve into a time of fretting and worry.

The verses I provided above are simply the tip of the iceberg. Here are a more:

Psalm 4:4, 19:14, 39:3, 49:3, 63:5, 73:12-22, 77:10-12, 104:34, 139:5

Psalm 119:11, 16, 23, 48, 55, 59, 78, 97-99, 148

1 Timothy 4:13-15

As you look through the above verses, many use the English word “meditate” but they do not all do so. Nevertheless, they deal with the same topic. Reading each verse in context makes this apparent.

For more formal definitions of meditation, here are the following:

Act of calling to mind some supposition, pondering upon it, and correlating it to one’s own life. A wicked individual meditates upon violence (Prov. 24:2). The meditation of a righteous person contemplates God or His great spiritual truths (Psalm 63:6; 77:12; 119:15, 23, 27, 48, 78, 97, 148; 143:5) He hopes to please God by meditation (Ps. 19:14). Thus meditation by God’s people is a reverent act of worship. Through it they commune with God and are thereby renewed spiritually.

Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary p. 1096

Spending time in quietness and usually alone, drawing close to God and listening to Him, pondering on His word, His creation, His mighty works or other aspects of His self-revelation.

Dictionary of Bible Themes

For further reading/sources, see the following:

  • Brand, Chad, Charles Draper, Archie England, Steve Bond, E. Ray Clendenen, Trent C. Butler, and Bill Latta, ed. Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary. Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003.
  • Carpenter, Eugene E., and Philip W. Comfort. Holman Treasury of Key Bible Words: 200 Greek and 200 Hebrew Words Defined and Explained. Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000.
  • Manser, Martin H. Dictionary of Bible Themes: The Accessible and Comprehensive Tool for Topical Studies. London: Martin Manser, 2009.
  • New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update. La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995.
  • Swanson, James, and Orville Nave. New Nave’s Topical Bible. Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, 1994.

On Worship

If you don’t know, this is a post that helps you the reader to become more acquainted with where I – the author of this site – stand on various topics and theological points. Keep reading to see where I stand on today’s topic.


Worship Regulation

Church worship time is to be guided and directed by the regulative principle.

I could end it right there as I think that should explain my position enough but let’s unpack that.

The regulative principle deals with church government and worship. In it, we find the direction to worship using those components commanded by God. We are not to go outside of His commands found in Scripture for worship.

This worship includes each item done together which includes singing, Scripture reading, prayer, sacraments (Baptism & Communion), responsive readings, etc. Notice I did not limit this to singing only.

What Does This Mean for Lord’s Day Worship?

There is a time and place for everything.

Church worship time is first and foremost for believers and for their edification. This is not to say that non-believers are not welcome but it does mean that the entire meeting time should be fixated on God and His worship. The focus is upon God and not man. Believers are strengthened by this time spent together as we reflect on God and His importance in and for our lives.

With these things in mind, singing should be God-glorifying (not man glorifying). The music should be theologically sound. A great place to be safe in singing in worship is to sing the Psalms. This is not to say hymns or other created songs are wrong to sing in corporate worship but they must be theologically sound.

The principle also has implications for the sacraments. We should be turning to the Scriptures in how we approach and practice both Baptism and Communion (Eucharist).

Liturgy is therefore another element impacted. The very way we order our worship time should point to God.

Church worship is a corporate worship and what is included within it should reflect this corporate nature. This is why I would put special music or performance out of the regular Sabbath worship. These things should be for concerts/events held at a separate time.

Concluding Comments

As usual, I do not intend this to be a deep and comprehensive address but this should suffice to show you where I stand.

To clarify a few items as this article closes . . .

I do not spurn contemporary style music in worship time. I do, however, require it to be theologically sound. There’s no place for a song that sounds like it could be singing about a lover or God at the same time. Such music is shallow at best and ultimately fails to be edifying. We are called to be bold in Christ in the truth we proclaim, not lukewarm (Rev. 3:16) and this should apply toward our singing too.

Our Sabbath worship time should always be distinctly God-focused and God-honoring. It is not about generating personal “feel-good” experiences through mood manipulation and the like.

Church assemblies would be better served today if they consistently everywhere entrenched themselves in the Scriptures and promoted the preaching of His awesomeness in every element.


Note: I do these posts not because I think I’m somehow superior in my views or anything absurd like that but out of a desire to be up-front and honest with my readers as to where I stand. Otherwise, you’d be left to figure things out by reading between the lines and/or guessing.

For more posts along these topics, use the above navigation to go to Simple Me . . . or click here.

On Free Will

This is a post that helps you the reader to become more acquainted with where I – the author of this site – stand on various topics and theological points. Keep reading to see where I stand on today’s topic.


Redundancy & Absolute

I will start this topic off by saying that I think, and have long thought, that the term “free will” to be rather redundant. To have a will by nature means to have an ability to make choices. Adding “free” to the beginning of this does not make one suddenly more able to make choices.

However, I have found one group that proposed such an idea that one could have absolute freedom and they taught that free will meant that man had the ability to choose absolutely free from all constraints. This flies in the face of not only natural experience but Scripture.

Why do I say this? Simple. Natural experience tells us that our choices are always constrained by our circumstances. Our circumstances present us our options. Certainly, we could always choose to act according to some other option and thereby refuse to deal with our given situation but that too is bound by the reality we find ourselves in. I may wish to choose to fly out of this reality, but as a mortal man, I have no such empowerment to do so and is therefore not a viable choice. I thereby spend my time not dealing with the situation at hand (effectively ignoring it) by whiling my time away dreaming of a reality that does not exist.

Also, we are bound by God’s will and that means bound according to His overarching plan as we have expressly been told in His Scripture. Therefore, our wills are always subject to or circumscribed by God’s will.

So, yes, we have a will. However, it is never absolutely free as there are always constraints beyond our control. We do the best we can with what we have. We are never outside God’s governing will and His will operates always according to His own character.

God’s Will & Fatalism

With what’s been already said, this likely raises some questions. I do not intend this article to be any sort of extensive treatise but let me try to briefly address some of those points in the following question.

How does fatalism relate?

For starters, God’s will is not the same as fatalism.

There is much mystery involved in the topic when it comes to how exactly our wills work in regards to God’s. Even so, it is clear that God’s plan and will rules over all. However, it is also clear that we as humans make and are responsible for our own choices. Another tidbit for thought is the fact that none of us are here by accident. We are each here according to His greater plan. We can infer from this that we have a part to play then as part of this plan.

As I mentioned earlier, our wills are circumscribed by God’s will. If you think of God’s will and plan as a big circle. Mankind is contained within the circle and can only exercise their wills within the bounds of that circle. This makes all the more sense when you consider everything about creation was ultimately created according to His purposes and plan. At the very least, this is how I picture the scenario of God’s will in my mind’s eye.

Now, back to fatalism. Fatalism tries to make this much more simplistic. It, to over-simplify the topic as there exists a variety of nuanced beliefs, simply makes everyone out to have their own script for their lives that they must follow and there’s no breaking out of it. Who wrote the script? This is where the different belief systems vary the greatest on the topic. Nevertheless, fate and fatalism are not concepts or beliefs that are part of Christianity. We are each part of God’s plan but we are not each on rails following a script.


Note: I do these posts not because I think I’m somehow superior in my views or anything absurd like that but out of a desire to be up-front and honest with my readers as to where I stand. Otherwise, you’d be left to figure things out by reading between the lines and/or guessing.

For more posts along these topics, use the above navigation to go to Simple Me . . . or click here.

Sharing a Message from Ligonier Ministres

Ligonier Ministries is the Christian ministry tied to the late Dr. R.C. Sproul. Today, I want to share with you a message sent to me via e-mail from them in light of these times.


Now is the time for fervent prayer, urgent action, and bold proclamation. 
You and I have seen how the COVID-19 pandemic has swiftly brought the fragility and brevity of life into focus for the seven billion souls on our planet. Families, communities, and nations have had their world upended. We mourn with everyone who has experienced loss and we marvel at the courage of those in the medical community. May the Lord have mercy. Christians everywhere are praying.

Since we know the Lord answers prayer, and many of us have been praying for a global awakening to God’s holiness, do we not think that we might be witnessing an answer unfolding before us? Many of us have not seen such openness to matters of eternal consequence in our lifetime. The fields are white for harvest, and the Lord of the harvest is on the move (John 4:35).

There is much work for the church during and after this worldwide upheaval. So we must rebuild on the authoritative, unchanging, and sufficient Word of God. Let people everywhere call out to the only Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ, because “there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Therefore, in order to serve growing Christians around the world and to bring the relief of God’s Word to anxious souls in a time of need, we have made our ministry’s deep library of hundreds of teaching series free to stream. In addition, we have compiled a list of many other resources that Ligonier has made freely available to further support God’s people at such a time as this. Please help spread the word so that, together, we can serve many more people who desperately need to hear the truth in a troubling time. You are more than welcome to forward this email to others in your family, church, and community.

Be encouraged to know that hundreds of thousands of people are being newly exposed to the trusted teaching of Dr. R.C. Sproul and other gifted teachers through the global outreach many of you enable by your steadfast prayers and faithful financial support. Certainly, this is no time for us to pause ministry. The truth of Jesus Christ must move forward unhindered. It is God’s gospel, and it can never be quarantined.

In ways we are only beginning to understand, it seems that the Lord has prepared Ligonier for this challenging moment to bring needed reinforcements to God’s people. Dr. Sproul fixed our purpose as a ministry to awaken as many people as possible to the holiness of God by proclaiming, teaching, and defending His holiness in all its fullness. We have been doing that since 1971, and it is a kindness from the Lord that He is allowing us to do that now in these turbulent times.

Please continue to pray with us for global awakening. May the fears of the moment give way to a steadfast fear of the Lord. May you be strengthened by the Spirit’s work through His Word. And may Jesus Christ be praised in our witness to a watching world. 
 YOUR SERVANT IN CHRIST,  
 
Chris Larson
President & CEO   
Ways to Give 

ONLINE
Give using your credit card through our secure online form. 

PHONE
Call us 800-435-4343 

MAIL
Ligonier Ministries, PO Box 863595
Orlando, FL 32886-3595

MATCHING
Your employer may also be able to double your gift. Learn more.

OTHER WAYS TO GIVE
We also provide other convenient ways to support our global outreach. Learn more.
Contributions are tax-deductible as allowed by law. Thank you for your support.

Covenantal Theology & Dispensational Theology

For Starters

In short, these two theologies are “big picture” theologies. Each focuses on the overall story of the Scriptures as it unfolds with their differences being in how each approach views Scripture’s narrative with different angles &/or foci.

It is often stated that Covenant Theology focuses on the continuity of all Scripture whereas Dispensational focuses on the discontinuity of the unfolding of all Scripture.

These statements are true but they do not give you much detail. The truly difficult part is where to go from that description, however, as neither theology has been static over the years. Dispensational theology use to be broken down into far more periods of time or “dispensations” than what most would do today.

In addition to the above, there are additional hurdles like forks in theology and flat out divergences such as between reformed baptist (who are typically credo-baptist like the dispensational types – so now you have cross-over) and the Presbyterians who are paedo-baptist (infant baptizers). I bring this up because this is an example of one of those “forks” as it is a difference in their covenant theology that brings them to different conclusions about baptism.

Dispensationalists would include many baptist congregations as well as those that consider themselves nondenominational but it also includes many Pentecostals as well. They would agree with much of the overarching story of Scripture and of eschatology but diverge on the topic of Pentecost and the cessation of gifts.

I think you begin to get at least a glimpse of some of the challenges in trying to decipher out what is purely covenantal theology and what is purely dispensational theology simply by this description but there do remain certain trends – namely in eschatology.

Eschatology

I have already mentioned the continuity versus discontinuity difference but another common element of difference tends to be eschatology. Now, I know I mentioned it in an example only a moment ago but this is going to get more specific.

Historically speaking, I have come across examples of individuals and groups who held to many of the various eschatological views held in history while still being under the Covenant Theology umbrella. With that being said, it is much more common (I find) for the typical member under this umbrella to be some form of amillennialist. There continue to be prominent leaders who may take a different form of premillennialism from that of the Dispensationalist and there are also those who continue to be postmillennial. Even so, amillennial certainly would appear to be most prominent.

Again, even with that said there can be quite a bit of variety still as being amillennialist merely means there is agreement in that there is to be no millennial kingdom on Earth before the end of all things.

The biggest component to the Covenant Theology camp is to the development and progression of covenants in the Scriptures and how they are part of God’s overall plan of redemption. Dispensationalism does not necessarily ignore the existence of the covenants, in fact it recognizes their existence, but it is far more focused on God’s seemingly changing interaction with His people in redemptive history. Covenants were often a marker of this change and Israel central in it all.

Getting back to particular end times views, the Dispensational Theology umbrella is pretty well exclusively a futurist eschatology and, thereby, is premillennial with a millennial kingdom reign on Earth by Christ (though the belief did not always have Christ ruling over this kingdom) in the future. There are differences among them as to the timing of the rapture (pre-tribulation, mid-tribulation, post-tribulation) but they are rather convinced of a complete removal of all true believers from this world before Christ returns. Much of everything will be centered around Jerusalem in Israel and include the Israeli people. It is this theological umbrella in particular that makes the strongest claims for supporting the Jews and Israel to this day.

I realize this may all seem a bit vague but at other times more specific. As I have suggested, these theologies are frameworks that incorporate the entirety of Scripture and have developed over time. As such, not everyone in a given approach has even held the exact same view throughout its respective history. There continues to be variations to this day. In addition, some emphasize certain texts over others which leads to further differences in interpretation. This article was never meant to explain it all but to stand as a sort of introduction to some of the differences between the two theologies. At different points in my life, I have held to some form of each which you can find out more about that in the links below.


If all of this gets you to wondering what I may think or where I may stand, you can see for yourself on my “Simply Me” page where I’ve got multiple articles linked on various topics includes ones such as eschatology.

On Politics

This is a post that helps you the reader to become more acquainted with where I – the author of this site – stand on various topics and theological points. Keep reading to see where I stand on today’s topic.


Keeping Things Simple

I have agonized over this one as there is so much I could say and so much ground I could cover but I have instead opted to keep this as simple and to the point as possible.

Let me be clear about a few things:

  1. I am not a Democrat (US).
  2. I am not a Republican (US).
  3. I believe loyalty to a political party contributes to factionalism and thereby division in the country – especially as of late in the US.
  4. I regularly participate in elections despite what you may think after reading 1 – 3.

I may lean one way or another as commonly described to one party or another on an individual issue or another but this can truly be said of anyone.

Even with all that said, I do not place any of my ultimate hope or trust in governmental systems as they have so often erred and followed the ways of personal glorification, power, and general worldliness.

My ultimate hope is in Christ and Him alone!

It is through Christ, through studying God’s Word, through being continually transformed to be more and more like the Son that we can be more like the God-reflecting people we ought to be and thereby the sort of citizens we ultimately ought to be. It all starts with our relationship with God! It all starts with Christ!

I could go on and on about a need for limited government or explain how the separation of church and state is supposed to work (such as through discussing what’s called sphere sovereignty) or even where I am at on the current political climate – but all these things are part of a system that will one day pass away. Our relationship with the one true God does not pass away whether we are in this life, heaven, or the new world with Christ as king.

I choose to focus on the eternal and simply do the best that I can with the rest, the temporal, knowing full well that God is in control and working all things according to His purposes.


Note: I do these posts not because I think I’m somehow superior in my views or anything absurd like that but out of a desire to be up-front and honest with my readers as to where I stand. Otherwise, you’d be left to figure things out by reading between the lines and/or guessing.

Updated – 10.27.2020

On Scripture

This is a post that helps you the reader to become more acquainted with where I – the author of this site – stand on various topics and theological points. Keep reading to see where I stand on today’s topic.


Sola Scriptura . . . enough said!

Ok, ok. That probably needs clarification but I have to admit I am very tempted to leave it right there.

One of the key doctrines that came out of the Reformation that created Protestantism was Sola Scriptura. It was alongside 4 others of what are known as the 5 Solas.

Sola Scriptura means scripture alone. It means in matters of the Christian faith we turn to the Scriptures, the Bible as the ultimate authority. We do not turn to a pope, a council, or any human authority but the Word of God.

This automatically means some things.

  • The Scriptures are authoritative.
  • The Scriptures are from God.
  • It automatically says something about the Scripture’s inspiration – that it is from God. This thereby also says something about each writer involved in the creation of the Scriptures – namely that they were believers divinely made use of by God.

Of the 5 Solas, this is the one that is most important in my mind. Why is that? Simple. Through studying the Scriptures and holding it as the place to go for all things of the faith, you will inevitably find the other 4 solas and everything important to being a follower of Christ.


Note: I do these posts not because I think I’m somehow superior in my views or anything absurd like that but out of a desire to be up-front and honest with my readers as to where I stand. Otherwise, you’d be left to figure things out by reading between the lines and/or guessing.