What Does It Mean to Meditate on Scripture?

meditating on Scripture

This post is from Morris Proctor, certified and authorized trainer for Logos Bible Software. Morris, who has trained thousands of Logos users at his two-day Camp Logos seminars, provides many training materials.

As we begin the New Year with, hopefully, a determination to be students of Scripture, I want to share one of my favorite verses with you:

This 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 good success.
—Joshua 1:8 (ESV)

When I memorized this verse years ago as a new Christian I focused on the word meditate, which I naturally assumed meant “get in a quiet place and think about the Word.” So I set out to apply this text to my life by pondering a little of the Bible every day. Certainly that’s a worthy and rewarding habit, but is that precisely what the Hebrew word translated meditate means?

Let’s use Logos’ Bible Word Study Guide to answer the question.

  • Open an English Bible containing the reverse interlinear option such as the ESV, NASB, LEB, or NKJV (A)
  • Navigate to Joshua 1:8 (B)

meditating on Scripture

  • Right click on the word meditate (C)
  • Select the lemma from the right side of the Context menu (D)
  • Select Bible Word Study from the left side of the Context menu (E)

meditating on Scripture

  • Look in the Lemma section at some of the glosses for the word from Hebrew dictionaries: moan, utter, speak, murmur, mutter, etc. (F)
  • Notice in the Translation section various ways the lemma is translated in the ESV: utter, moan, mutter, tell, talk, etc. (G)

meditating on Scripture

    • Reread Joshua 1:8 carefully noticing the apparent contrast with a negative admonition followed by a positive one: (H)

Don’t let the Book of the Law (cease, stop, discontinue, etc.) departing from your MOUTH, but meditate (mutter, talk, utter) on it.

    • Open The Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) to Joshua 1:8, taking note of how the Hebrew word is translated there: (I)

This book of instruction must not depart from your mouth; you are to recite it day and night so that you may carefully observe everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do.

meditating on Scripture

Using various sections in Bible Word Study to investigate the Hebrew lemma carefully and seeing how other Bibles translate the word, we now ask ourselves, Did the Lord instruct Joshua to think about the Word or talk about the Word?

Testifying for myself, I’ve discovered if I mutter the Word to myself throughout the day, I’m more apt to remember it and, more importantly, obey it as the Lord originally instructed Joshua to do.


For additional training on Bible Word Study and Logos’ many other features, consider attending Camp Logos in 2016. See our current 2016 schedule.

Written by
Morris Proctor

Morris Proctor (1961–2023) was a certified trainer for Logos Bible Software and founder of MP Seminars. Morris trained thousands of Logos users at his two-day Camp Logos seminars, and his team continues to provide many training materials.

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Written by Morris Proctor
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