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MEDITATION: A List of Verses Used in this Study

 

Note that nearly every verse is from the Psalms. This is because the Psalms were originally the words to songs, and singing is a form of meditation! Every time you sing a song (especially if you sing it repeatedly) your mind is "meditating" on what it says - even when you claim you aren't listening to the words! (This is one of the reasons that the world - and the devil - uses music to promote its sinful values.)




MEDITATION: How We Got this List of Verses

(Or: why you might get a slightly different list!)

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Comparing the Old Testament Hebrew words with English translations.

There are several Old Testament Hebrew words that can be translated as "meditation." Yet in this study, our focus is primarily on passages in which the English word "meditation" (and the related verb forms) occurs in one translation or another. You can do this study by simply looking up the English words (meditate, meditation, etc.) in a Bible concordance. (Note that some translations may use the word "think," instead.) I chose to examine the Old Testament Hebrew words - but that was just my personal preference. And so, I looked at the Hebrew words and examined the different verses where they occurred, to decide which I thought was appropriate for this study.

The same Hebrew word will be translated different ways in different contexts. The reason for this is that, just like with English words, the Hebrew words can have different meanings and uses. The same word might be used in a "positive" sense of thinking about God, or in a "negative" sense of complaining about something (perhaps a legitimate complaint). It might also be used in reference to whispering or murmuring. Some of the Hebrew words occasionally translated as "meditation" are also used as musical terms, perhaps describing the manner in which some musical instrument was to be played, or the way a tune was supposed to be sung.

This can be illustrated by looking at the word translated, "meditation" in Psalm 19:14. This Hebrew word occurs in four different verses. Once or twice is it translated as "meditation" (depending on translation), but only once is it applicable to this study. Strong's Concordance defines this word as: "a murmuring sound, i.e. a musical notation (probably similar to the modern affettuoso to indicate solemnity of movement); by implication a machination." The King James Version translates this word in these ways: device, Higgaion, meditation, solemn sound.

Here are the four places this specific word occurs, along with the way it is translated:

 


VERSES BASED ON THE NOUN: "MEDITATION"

The number of verses you found would vary, depending on which translation you used. Most of the following would be present in at least some of the "literal" translations (explained below). These are grouped according to the Hebrew words they come from.

 


VERSES BASED ON THE VERB: "MEDITATE" (and any related verb forms)

This list is based on the English verb "meditate," as used in various translations. Some of these verses may have also been listed in the "noun" list, because of the way the passage was translated into English. The message, of course, is still the same, even though the different translators performed their duties in slightly different ways. The following is just one example of this, using Psalm 119:97. (In the Hebrew, it is a noun; but in English, it can be translated as a verb, and still accurately communicate the message.)

As before, references will be grouped according to the Hebrew words. Those used in this study are designated.

 


How often various translations use the words: MEDITATE, MEDITATION, etc.

Some translations use these words more than others. Those which seem to be more "literal" (translating "word for word" instead of "concept for concept"), or more patterned after the King James Version, seem to use these words more often - 20 to 30 times. Others use these words less than 10 times, or not at all. (This is not necessarily bad. Today, many people misunderstand the word "meditation," because of the influences that various false religions have had on the definition of that concept. These translations will use other acceptable words or phrases, instead.)

The following list shows how often these words are found in various translations of the Old and New Testaments. (Nearly all instances occur in the Old Testament.)


A TECHNICAL NOTE ABOUT: Psalm 145:5

There is a small textual variation at the beginning of this verse. The New Living Translation reads:

Psalm 145:5

In a footnote it says:

*Some manuscripts read They will speak.

The issue is whether the first line connects with the word "they" in the previous verse, or the word "I" in the second half of verse 5 (implied in this translation). There is no serious problem with interpreting it either way, for it is obvious that both "they" (of verse 4) and the psalmist would be eager to speak about the glorious splendor of God's majesty! It's just a technical detail of trying to decide (if we think we need to) which idea the psalmist had in mind at this specific time. Either way, it will not have a negative impact on our study.

It is nice to know that almost every "variation" among manuscripts is as insignificant as this. And among the few variations that are more significant, no serious doctrinal issue is involved. God has made sure that, even through centuries of hand-copying of Bible manuscripts, no significant problems exist in the text. Though there may be some question as to the specific wording in some places, there is no question as to the message!!

Dennis Hinks © 1996, 2004
Scripture quotation is taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996.
Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
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