I urge you to study the Bible for yourself to discern how the Lord’s definition opposes the rising trend of “relaxation” meditation, which comes from eastern spiritual traditions. I used Strong’s Concordance to study the Biblical definition by looking up every time the words “meditate” and “meditation” appeared in the King James Version of the Bible. I thought it may be helpful to you in your own hunt for truth, so below you will find listed the results of that study.
Listed first under each word is a comprehensive list of each original Hebrew or Greek word, the Strong’s Concordance number assigned to each word, the respective definition, and its synonyms (including how often the synonymous words are used in the Bible). Next listed is each of the respective verses found in the Bible. I found it interesting to also compare the NIV version. I encourage you to look up each of these verses for yourself. It is in reading the context of the surrounding verses and chapters that we are better able to deduce the Lord’s intended definition and usage of these terms.
SUAH: (7742) to meditate, meditate (1)
-Genesis 24:63, 7742
KJV: And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming.
NIV: He went out to the field one evening to meditate*, and as he looked up, he saw camels approaching
(*note in NIV study Bible: “The meaning of the Hebrew word for this is uncertain”).
HAGA: (1897) to utter a sound, moan, meditate, to mutter, from the base meaning of uttering a sound of any kind comes figure of meditation, the act of thoughtful deliberation with the implication of speaking to oneself- meditate (6), mourn (3), speak(3), imagine(2), mourn sore (1897) (2), studieth (2), muttered(1), mutter(1), roaring(1), speaketh(1), talk(1), uttering(1), utter(1)
-Joshua 1:8, 1897
KJV: 7 Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest. 8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. NIV: 7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
-Psalms 1:2, 1897
KJV: 1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
NIV: 1 Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, 2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.
-Psalms 63:6, 1897
KJV: 5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: 6 When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. 7Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy winds will I rejoice.
NIV: 5 I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. 6 On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. 7 Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.
-Psalms 77:12, 1897
KJV: 10 And I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High. 11 I will remember the works of the Lord: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. 12 I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.
NIV: 10 Then I thought, “To this I will appeal: the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand.” 11 I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. 12 I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.
-Psalms 143:5, 1897
KJV: I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands.
NIV: I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done.
-Isaiah 33:18, 1897
KJV: Thine heart shall meditate terror. Where is the scribe? Where is the receiver? Where is he that counted the towers?
NIV: In your thoughts you will ponder the former terror: “Where is that chief officer? Where is the one who took the revenue? Where is the officer in charge of the towers?”
SIAH: (7878) to meditate, muse on, consider, think on:- meditate (5), talk (5), speak (4), commune (1), complained (1), complain (1), declare (1), muse (1), pray (1)
-Psalms 119:15, 7878
KJV: 11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. 12 Blessed art thou, O Lord: teach me thy statutes. 13 With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth. 14 I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches. 15 I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways. 16 I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.
NIV: 11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. 12 Praise be to you, Lord; teach me your decrees. 13 With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth. 14 I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. 15 I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. 16 I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.
-Psalms 119:23, 7878
KJV: 21 Thou hast rebuked the proud that are cursed, which do err from thy commandments. 22Remove from me reproach and contempt; for I have kept thy testimonies. 23 Princes also did sit and speak against me: but thy servant did meditate in thy statutes. 24 Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counselors. 25 My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word. 26 I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statutes. 27 Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works.
NIV: 21 You rebuke the arrogant, who are accursed, those who stray from your commands. 22 Remove from me their scorn and contempt, for I keep your statutes. 23 Though rulers sit together and slander me, your servant will meditate on your decrees. 24 Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors. Daleth 25 I am laid low in the dust; preserve my life according to your word. 26 I gave an account of my ways and you answered me; teach me your decrees. 27 Cause me to understand the way of your precepts, that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds.
-Psalms 119:48, 7878
KJV: 46 I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed. 47 And I will delight myself in they commandments, which I have loved. 48 My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes.
NIV: 46 I will speak of your statutes before kings and will not be put to shame, 47 for I delight in your commands because I love them. 48 I reach out for your commands, which I love, that I may meditate on your decrees.
-Psalms 119:78, 7878
KJV: 77 Let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for thy law is my delight. 78 Let the proud be ashamed; for they dealt perversely with me without a cause: but I will meditate in thy precepts.
NIV: 77 Let your compassion come to me that I may live, for your law is my delight. 78 May the arrogant be put to shame for wronging me without cause; but I will meditate on your precepts.
–Psalms 119:148, 7878
KJV: 146 I cried unto thee; save me, and I shall keep thy testimonies. 147 I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried: I hoped in thy word. 148 Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word.
NIV: 146 I call out to you; save me and I will keep your statutes. 147 I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in your word. 148 My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises.
PROMELETAO: (4304) to worry beforehand; some translate “to plan ahead;” meditate before (1)
-Luke 21:14, 4304
KJV: 12 But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake. 13And it shall turn to you for a testimony. 14 Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: 15 For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.
NIV: 12 But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. 13 And so you will bear testimony to me. 14 But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15 For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.
MELETAO: (3191) to plot, think about, meditate on; to give oneself wholly to, practice, cultivate; — imagine (1), meditate upon (1), premeditate (1)
-1 Timothy 4:15, 3191
KJV: 13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. 15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. 16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
NIV: 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you. 15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
HAGIG: (1901) sighing, meditation;— meditation (1), musing (1)
-Psalms 5:1, 1901
KJV: Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my meditation.
NIV: Listen to my words, Lord, consider my lament.
HIGGAYON: (1902) muttering (sounds spoken to no one in particular), meditation; Higgalon, melody:— higgaion (1), device (1), meditation (1), solemn sound (1)
-Psalms 19:14, 1902
KJV: Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.
NIV: May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
HAGUT: (1900) utterance, meditation, which can include thinking and planning:- meditation (1)
-Psalms 49:3, 1900
KJV: 3 My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding. 4 I will incline mine ear to a parable: I will open my dark saying upon the harp.
NIV: 3 My mouth will speak words of wisdom; the meditation of my heart will give you understanding. 4 I will turn my ear to proverb; with the harp I will expound my riddle.
SIAH: (7879) complaint, lament, babbling, communication, meditation, prayer, talking
-Psalms 104:34, 7879
KJV: 33 I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. 34 My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the Lord.
NIV: 33 I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. 34 May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the Lord.
SIHA: (7881) meditation:- meditation (2), prayer (1)
-Psalms 119:97, 7881 & 119:99, 7881
KJV: 97 O how love I thy law! It is thy meditation all the day. 98 Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me. 99 I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.
NIV: 97 Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long. 98 Your commands are always with me and make me wiser than my enemies. 99 I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13