“Ponder over these things; be absorbed in them, so that your advancement may be plainly seen by all people.”—1 TIMOTHY 4:15.
1, 2. What makes humans different from animals?
THE human brain is unique. For example, humans have the ability to learn a language. And language allows us to read, write, speak, and understand what we hear. It also gives us the ability to pray and sing praises to Jehovah. All of this makes us different from animals. Scientists cannot fully understand just how our brain is able to do these amazing things.
2 Our ability to use language is a gift from Jehovah. (Psalm 139:14; Revelation 4:11) He has also given us another gift that makes us different from animals. Humans were created “in God’s image.” We have free will, that is, the freedom to make our own choices. And we can choose to use language to serve and praise Jehovah.—Genesis 1:27.
3. What has Jehovah given us to make us wise?
3 Jehovah has shown us how to serve and praise him by giving us the Bible. The entire Bible or parts of it are available in more than 2,800 languages. When we meditate on what the Bible says, we can begin to think the way God thinks. (Psalm 40:5; 92:5; 139:17) And Jehovah’s thoughts make us wise and lead us to everlasting life.—Read 2 Timothy 3:14-17.
4. What does it mean to meditate, and what questions will we discuss?
4 To meditate means to concentrate on something and think deeply and carefully about it. (Psalm 77:12; Proverbs 24:1, 2) We benefit the most when we meditate on what we learn about Jehovah and Jesus. (John 17:3) In this article we will answer the following questions: How can we read in a way that makes it easier to meditate? What can we meditate on? And what can help us to meditate regularly and to enjoy it?
MAKE SURE THAT YOU BENEFIT FROM YOUR STUDY
5, 6. What can help you to remember and better understand what you read?
5 Have you ever noticed that there are some things you can do without even thinking about them, such as breathing, walking, or riding a bicycle? Unfortunately, you might at times even read without thinking. Perhaps you may even start thinking about other things while you are reading. What can you do to prevent this? It is important to concentrate on what you are reading and think about what it means. Then, when you get to the end of a paragraph or subheading in a publication, pause and meditate on what you just read. Think about what you learned, and make sure that you really understood it.
Reading the Bible aloud will help you to concentrate better and to remember more
6 Scientists have discovered that it is easier to remember something when we read it aloud. Our Creator knows this, and that is why he told Joshua to read the book of the Law “in an undertone,” that is, to read it softly to himself. (Read Joshua 1:8.) Reading the Bible aloud will also help you to concentrate better and to remember more.
7. When is the best time to meditate on the Bible? (See opening picture.)
7 It requires a lot of effort to meditate and concentrate on what we study. That is why it is best to meditate at a time when you are not tired and in a place that is quiet, where not many things will distract you. The psalmist David meditated while he was awake in bed during the night. (Psalm 63:6) Jesus, who was perfect, chose quiet places to meditate and pray.—Luke 6:12.
GOOD THINGS TO MEDITATE ON
8. (a) What can we meditate on? (b) How does Jehovah feel when we talk about him to others?
8 In addition to what you read in the Bible, there are other things you can meditate on. For example, when you see one of Jehovah’s marvelous creations, pause and ask yourself, ‘What does this teach me about Jehovah?’ Such thoughts will surely move you to thank Jehovah in prayer. And if you are with others, you will want to share your feelings with them. (Psalm 104:24; Acts 14:17) Jehovah pays attention and is pleased when we meditate, pray, and talk about him to one another. The Bible assures us: “A book of remembrance was written before him for those fearing Jehovah and for those meditating on his name.”—Malachi 3:16.
9. (a) What did Paul tell Timothy to meditate on? (b) What can we meditate on when we prepare for our ministry?
9 The apostle Paul told Timothy to meditate on how his speech, his conduct, and his teaching affected others. (Read 1 Timothy 4:12-16.) You too can meditate on these things. For example, you need time to meditate when you prepare for a Bible study. Think of your student, and try to find a question or an illustration that will help him to make progress. When you prepare for your Bible studies in this way, your own faith is strengthened and you become a better and more enthusiastic teacher of the Bible. You will also benefit when you meditate before going out in field service. (Read Ezra 7:10.) Perhaps you can read a chapter from the book of Acts to help you become more zealous for the ministry. You can also meditate on Bible verses you plan to use that day and the publications you plan to offer. (2 Timothy 1:6) Think about the people in the territory and what you can say that will interest them. When you prepare in this way, you will be able to use the Bible effectively to witness to others.—1 Corinthians 2:4.
Allow what you read to reach your heart, and thank Jehovah for the good things you are learning
10. What other good things can we meditate on?
10 What else can you meditate on? If you take notes during public talks, assemblies, and conventions, take the time to review them. As you do, ask yourself, ‘What have I learned from God’s Word and from his organization?’ You can also meditate on the information in each month’s issues of the Watchtower and Awake! magazines and in the latest convention releases. When you read the Yearbook, pause after reading an experience, think about it, and let it touch your heart. When you read our publications, you may want to underline the main thoughts or make notes in the margin. This will help you when you are preparing for a return visit, a shepherding call, or a talk. Most important, when you stop and meditate on what you read, you allow time for the material to reach your heart and time for prayer to thank Jehovah for the good things you are learning.
MEDITATE ON GOD’S WORD EVERY DAY
11. What is the most important publication we should meditate on, and how will doing this help us? (See also footnote.)
11 Of course, the Bible is the most important publication we should meditate on. But what if one day you are not allowed to have a Bible?* (See footnote.) No one can prevent you from meditating on the things you have memorized, such as your favorite scriptures or Kingdom songs. (Acts 16:25) And God’s spirit will help you remember the things you have learned, which will help you remain faithful.—John 14:26.
12. What is one way you can plan your daily Bible reading?
12 What is one way you can plan your daily Bible reading? Some days of the week, perhaps you can read and meditate on the weekly Bible reading for the Theocratic Ministry School. Other days you can read from the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and meditate on what Jesus said and did. (Romans 10:17; Hebrews 12:2; 1 Peter 2:21) We also have a publication that describes the events of Jesus’ life in the order that they happened. This publication can help you to benefit more fully from your reading of the Gospels.—John 14:6.
WHY IS MEDITATION SO IMPORTANT?
13, 14. Why is it so important for us to keep meditating on Jehovah and Jesus, and what will this motivate us to do?
13 Meditating on Jehovah and Jesus can help a person become a mature Christian and maintain strong faith. (Hebrews 5:14; 6:1) A person who spends little time thinking about God will gradually lose his relationship with Jehovah or even end up rejecting him. (Hebrews 2:1; 3:12) Jesus warned that if we do not hear, or accept, God’s Word “with a fine and good heart,” we will not “retain” it. Instead, we could easily be “carried away by anxieties, riches, and pleasures of this life.”—Luke 8:14, 15.
14 So let us continue to meditate on the Bible and come to know Jehovah better. This will motivate us to imitate his qualities and personality more fully. (2 Corinthians 3:18) We can continue to learn more about our heavenly Father and imitate him forever. There is no greater honor!—Ecclesiastes 3:11.
Meditating on Jehovah and Jesus helps you remain zealous for the truth
15, 16. (a) How have you benefited from meditating on Jehovah and Jesus? (b) Why may it sometimes be difficult to meditate, but why should we keep trying?
15 Meditating on Jehovah and Jesus helps you remain zealous for the truth. Your zeal will encourage your brothers and the people you meet in field service. And when you meditate on what Jehovah did for you by providing the ransom sacrifice of Jesus, you will continue to value your close relationship with God. (Romans 3:24; James 4:8) Mark, a brother from South Africa who spent three years in prison because of his faith, said: “Meditation can be compared to an exciting adventure. The more we meditate on spiritual things, the more we discover new things about our God, Jehovah. At times when I’m feeling a little discouraged or anxious about the future, I pick up the Bible and meditate on a passage of Scripture. I feel that it really calms me down.”
16 Life in this world is so full of distractions that it is difficult to find the time to meditate on the Bible. Patrick, a brother from Africa, said: “My mind is like a mailbox filled with a variety of information, both wanted and unwanted, that needs to be sorted every day. As I search the contents of my mind, I often find ‘disquieting thoughts,’ and I have to pray to Jehovah about them before I can meditate with a clear mind. Although doing this might take a little time before I can start to meditate on spiritual subjects, I feel closer to Jehovah. This opens my mind to understanding the truth better.” (Psalm 94:19, footnote) Yes, we benefit in so many ways when we read and meditate on the Bible every day.—Acts 17:11.
HOW DO YOU FIND THE TIME?
17. How do you find the time to meditate?
17 Some get up early in the morning to read, meditate, and pray. Others do so during their lunch break. Perhaps for you, the best time to read the Bible is in the evening or before you go to bed. Some like to read the Bible in the morning and again before going to sleep. (Joshua 1:8) The important thing is to make “the best use of your time,” that is, to take time from less important things so that you can meditate on God’s Word daily.—Ephesians 5:15, 16.
18. What does the Bible promise to those who meditate on God’s Word daily and who apply what they learn?
18 The Bible promises that Jehovah will bless all those who meditate on his Word and who try hard to apply what they learn. (Read Psalm 1:1-3.) Jesus said: “Happy are those hearing the word of God and keeping it!” (Luke 11:28) But most important, meditating on Jehovah’s Word every day will help us to act in a way that brings him honor. When we do this, Jehovah will reward us with happiness now and everlasting life in his new world.—James 1:25; Revelation 1:3.
See the article “Our Fight to Stay Spiritually Strong” in The Watchtower, December 1, 2006.