The Khasi folks of northeastern India dwell in a area the place journey is hard. Their land is minimize by steep gorges and unpredictable rivers. It’s additionally one of many wettest locations on this planet, making trendy development tough. Their logistical resolution is nothing lower than a miracle of bioengineering: they develop bridges from living trees.
They first plant rubber fig timber on reverse sides of a canyon. Utilizing bamboo scaffolding, builders information the timber’ roots to satisfy till they are often tied collectively. The roots then fuse and turn into one system. Root reinforces root; tree nourishes tree. The result’s a bridge sturdy sufficient to stroll throughout.
Biblical meditation is usually described as a bridge between Bible research and prayer. One in every of my seminary professors used to say the longest distance on this planet is the foot or so between the mind and the center. Certainly, we will let these two “timber” of research and prayer develop independently, such that they’re in our life however not related in a mutually fruitful method. Meditation, although, creates a bridge for “touring” between Scripture and prayer—with our research enriching our prayer life and our prayer life enlivening our research.
Connecting the Goal and Private
Bible research is extra goal: it seeks to find a passage’s author-intended that means. These meanings are in the textual content, not invented in line with “what it means to me.” The objective of Bible research is to grasp the empirical realities of a passage.
Prayer, then again, is extra private: it brings the contents of my coronary heart into the presence of God. It’s about my ideas, my emotions, my reflections—all carried to God in gratitude or lament or cries for assist. In prayer, we search to expertise God.
Meditation bridges the target and the non-public.
But when these “timber” are stored separate, we received’t know the best way to make them inform each other. We’d have a head filled with truths in regards to the Bible, however ravenous or hypocritical hearts. Or our prayer life is perhaps emotionally vivid, however not formed by goal biblical reality. We find yourself both just like the Pharisees, who memorized the legislation however hated their neighbors, or like Eat-Pray-Lovers, who suppose their interior voice is the same as the voice of God.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer mirrored on the function of meditation in Life Together:
In our meditation we ponder the chosen textual content on the energy of the promise that it has one thing totally private to say to us for at the present time and for our Christian life, that it isn’t solely God’s Phrase for the church, but additionally God’s Phrase for us individually. We expose ourselves to the particular phrase till it addresses us personally. And once we do that, we’re doing not more than the only, untutored Christian does each day; we learn God’s Phrase as God’s Phrase for us.
Meditation bridges the target and the non-public. We take the meanings we discover in Scripture and ask the Holy Spirit to make them “totally private” to us—to use them to our particular lives. And it brings the “totally private” feelings and needs of our hearts into contact with God’s Phrase—to not validate them, however to let God converse to them.
Connecting the Rational and Relational
Bible research, narrowly outlined, is rational. I wish to perceive the argument Paul is tracing by way of Romans; I wish to perceive why Genesis repeats “these are the generations of” within the first chapters. Prayer, then again, is relational. I pray to deepen my relationship with God. I wish to hear from him and rejoice in his presence.
Meditation connects these timber by absorbing the rational fruit of my research into my relationship with God, and by feeding my relationship with God with the mental truths of Scripture. Simply as my relationship with my spouse is strengthened by spending time attending to know her—quite than simply imagining what she is perhaps like—our relationship with God grows deeper once we use our motive to see, from his Phrase, who he’s and what he desires for us.
George Müller (1805–1898), who spent most of his grownup life caring for orphans in England, skilled a metamorphosis in his relationship with God years into being a Christian. The core of that transformation was studying to meditate on Scripture. In his autobiography, Müller mirrored:
The very first thing I did, after having requested in just a few phrases the Lord’s blessing upon his valuable Phrase, was to start to meditate on the Phrase of God; looking, because it had been, into each verse, to get blessing out of it; not for the sake of the general public ministry of the Phrase; not for the sake of preaching on what I had meditated upon; however for the sake of acquiring meals for my very own soul. The consequence I’ve discovered to be nearly invariably this, that after a only a few minutes my soul has been led to confession, or to thanksgiving, or to intercession, or to supplication; in order that although I didn’t, because it had been, give myself to prayer, however to meditation, but it turned nearly instantly kind of into prayer.
Müller had been studying Scripture and praying for years, however the two timber had been rising individually and had been weaker for it. The dwelling fusion of the 2 remodeled his non secular life. Because of this we’d like meditation.