Have you ever read something and found that you could not recall what you had just read? Have you ever walked away from a portion of the Bible only to discover that you retained little if any of what you just read?
The spiritual discipline of meditation will help us with this problem. Joshua (1:8) and the Psalmist (1:2) furnish examples of Biblical meditation, which fills the heart and mind with the Word of God. James 1:22-24 warns against those who forget what they see in the Word. Meditation helps us absorb, analyze, and apply the Scripture. So, how can we do it?
There are a number of helps to meditation, but here I would like to highlight “the Joseph Hall questions” from Hall’s 17th century work, The Art of Divine Meditation. As we ponder a theme in a passage, these are helpful questions to ask. (You can read the whole text of his book — pages 46 to 79 in this free online Google Books edition of his works, which can be downloaded as a free pdf file.)
1. What is it (define and/or describe what it is)?
2. What are its divisions or parts?
3. What causes it?
4. What does it cause, i.e., its fruits and effects?
5. What is its place, location, or use?
6. What are its qualities and attachments?
7. What is contrary, contradictory, or different to it?
8. What compares to it?
9. What are its titles or names?
10. What are the testimonies or examples of Scripture about it?
Bookmark/Overheads/Handouts from BiblicalSpirituality.org (Dr. Donald S. Whitney)
If you would like to share these questions with a class, these files might come in handy:
- The Joseph Hall questions (bookmark, pdf file)
- The Joseph Hall questions (color overhead, ppt file)
- The Joseph Hall questions (color overhead, pdf file)
- The Joseph Hall questions (black & white handout, ppt file)
- The Joseph Hall questions (black & white handout, pdf file)