In the book, A Puritan Theology, Joel Beeke explains the Puritans plan for Scripture reading and meditation. There is a significant amount of wisdom in this approach and it’s worth of consideration for your Bible study time.
“The Puritans advocated setting a time in your daily schedule when you will meet with the Lord for the reading of the Scriptures, meditation, prayer, and perhaps reading other solid devotional material. Be disciplined; do it every day. Find a quiet, private location. Follow a plan to read the Scriptures. The Puritans abounded in practical directions on how to meditate on the Word…Reading and study discover truths in the Bible. Meditation preaches those truths to your own soul to warm your heart, stir your affections, and lift up your will to love God and hate sin.
- Pray for the Holy Spirit to help you. You might use Psalm 119:18, “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.”
- Read a portion of the Scriptures. Don’t read so much that you have no time to meditate.
- Focus on one verse or doctrine, something easy and applicable to your life. Repeat the verse or doctrine to yourself several times to memorize it.
- Analyze it in your mind by its various names, properties, causes, and effects, together with illustrations, comparisons, and opposites. Be careful not to speculate further than what God has spoken.
- Preach the truth to your soul to stir up your faith, love, desire, hope, courage, grief, gratitude, and joy in the presence of God. Examine your life and make detailed application.
- Resolve with prayer to grow in grace.
- Praise the Lord with thanksgiving. So to meditate is to pray, read, focus, analyze, preach to yourself, resolve with prayer, and praise God in a manner that revolves around a single truth of Scripture. By regular times of meditation, you will practice personal devotion to the Lord and experience John 15:5: “He that abides in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit.”