Meditation in the 1647 Westminster Larger CatechismWhat the Bible says about Godly Meditation through the Word
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Question 157: How is the word of God to be read?
Answer: The holy scriptures are to be read with an high and reverent esteem of them;[a] with a firm persuasion that they are the very word of God,[b] and that he only can enable us to understand them;[c] with desire to know, believe, and obey the will of God revealed in them;[d] with diligence,[e] and attention to the matter and scope of them;[f] with meditation,[g] application,[h] self-denial,[i] and prayer.[j]
a. Psa. 19:10, “More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.” Neh. 8:3-10, “And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law. 4 And Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood, which they had made for the purpose; and beside him stood Mattithiah, and Shema, and Anaiah, and Urijah, and Hilkiah, and Maaseiah, on his right hand; and on his left hand, Pedaiah, and Mishael, and Malchiah, and Hashum, and Hashbadana, Zechariah, and Meshullam. 5 And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up: 6 And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with their faces to the ground. 7 Also Jeshua, and Bani, and Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodijah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place. 8 So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading. 9 And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha, and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the LORD your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law. 10 Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Exod. 24:7, “And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient.” 2 Chr. 34:27, “Because thine heart was tender, and thou didst humble thyself before God, when thou heardest his words against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, and humbledst thyself before me, and didst rend thy clothes, and weep before me; I have even heard thee also, saith the LORD.” Isa. 66:2, “For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.”
b. 2 Pet. 1:19-21, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: 20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
c. Luke 24:45, “Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures.” 2 Cor. 3:13-16, “And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: 14 But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. 15 But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. 16 Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.”
d. Deut. 17:10, 20, “And thou shalt do according to the sentence, which they of that place which the LORD shall choose shall shew thee; and thou shalt observe to do according to all that they inform thee…20 That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.”
e. Acts 17:11, “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”
f. Acts 8:30, 34, “And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?…34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?” Luke 10:26-28, “He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? 27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. 28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.”
g. Psa. 1:2, “But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” Psa. 119:97, “O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.”
h. 2 Chr. 24:21, “And they conspired against him, and stoned him with stones at the commandment of the king in the court of the house of the LORD.”
i. Prov. 3:5, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” Deut. 33:3, “Yea, he loved the people; all his saints are in thy hand: and they sat down at thy feet; every one shall receive of thy words.”
j. Prov. 2:1-6, “My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; 2 So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; 3 Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; 4 If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; 5 Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. 6 For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.” Psa. 119:18, “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.” Neh. 7:6, 8, “These are the children of the province, that went up out of the captivity, of those that had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away, and came again to Jerusalem and to Judah, every one unto his city…8 The children of Parosh, two thousand an hundred seventy and two.”
Assembly, W. (n.d.). 1647 Westminster Confession of Faith.