Ready to see the three-step process of meditation applied to a passage?
Let’s dig in to Hebrews 11:24-27.
Three Steps for Meditation:
1. Sort Out the Text
2. Zero in on Key Concepts
3. Connect Concepts with Other Concepts and Life
Step #1: Sort Out the Text
Start sorting out the text. The more sorting you do, the more learning you’ll retain later.
Pinpoint Key Words
Read Hebrews 11:24-27 in context (because you know to never read a single Bible verse). The word “faith” stands out like a steeple above countryside pines. Every mention of faith in the chapter ties back in as an illustration of Hebrews 11:1, the key verse. It’s a good idea to working through the chapter and mark the word “faith” with a colored pencil, highlighter, or pen so that it stands out visually.
Ask Questions in Meditation
Now ask a few questions to help you digest the text as you meditate. Take time to mull it over. Why did it take faith for Moses to refuse to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter? Or, to use the words of the key verse, the definition of faith: In what way did Moses show an assurance of of things hoped for, the conviction of things unseen?
Because Egypt was in his face and in his grasp. To reject such tangible, immediate pleasure took a rock-solid conviction that the future reward in Christ was a greater hope than the fleeting pleasures of sin in Egypt.
Step #2: Zero in on Key Concepts
As you meditate, distill Hebrews 11:24-27 into a statement that embodies the concept of the passage. A concept is a clear, concise statement of a truth from a text.
You might come up with a concept from the text that looks something like this:
“Faith in the realness and value of the eternal allows us to overcome sinful pleasure on earth, which is fleeting and of lesser value.”
The Reason Your Brain Needs Concepts [Patterns]
Dr. Washburn, who holds a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership, writes:
“The term conceptual blending aptly describes elaboration [elaboration: connecting concepts/patterns]. The brain receives and sorts sensory data causing patterns to emerge. The patterns direct the brain to search its long-term memory stores for previous experiences that illustrate similar patterns…Once recalled, the previous experience provides a reference point for further thinking about the newly received data. Understanding develops as a student recognizes relevant connections between the reference point and the new data, and ‘blends’ these ideas.”
Word of Caution on Concepts and the 3-Step Method
Concepts must be grounded in truth from the text. You want to find what is in the text instead of interpreting the text to match what you want to find. This meditation method takes into account the way the brain best learns and remembers, but there are many varied ways to meditate and accomplish the same thing (and many kinds of people with different needs).
Step #3: Connect the Concept with Other Concepts and Life
The last step is to start making connections between different Scriptures (cross references), and then your life. Each connection you make links more concepts together so that they can blend and shed light on each other. The Biblical cross references pop to mind and/or you may dig for them.
1. Connect Scripture with Scripture and Blend the Concepts
We can link what we learned in Hebrews about Moses’ faith to what we see in Daniel 3:12.
- Moses was able to turn down earthly pleasures because he confidently hoped in more valuable eternal things.
- Daniel’s three friends would not bow down to worship another god and accepted earthly pain as a consequence (1 Peter 3:14-16 teaches this concept as well). The three men evidently had the same value system as Moses, but with a subtle difference in application.
That subtle difference leads us to an important insight…
2. Blend the Two Connected Concepts
Valuing eternal things allows us to not only reject seemingly positive earthly things like the pleasures of Egypt (Moses), but also to accept seemingly negative earthly things like the persecution of Babylon’s fiery furnace (as with Daniel’s three friends).
The concepts from those two passage blend quite well and offer additional insight. (Actually, Hebrews 11:25 embodies the same concept as Daniel 3:12, but I did not see it until just now while connecting the two passages and writing this post).
3. Connect Scripture with Life
Be both intentional and specific in finding and connecting concepts from Scripture to your life. How does this concept specifically connect to what you’ve seen in the past in your own life? If this concept is applied to your life now, what specifically would change?
My Personal Application of the Concepts
If truly believed, the truth of these Scriptures banishes the fear I may have to verbally share my faith. The source of that fear: I value the earthly pleasure of man’s approval and risk losing that if I open my mouth, and I am afraid I might be ridiculed for my faith. The concept illustrated by Moses and Daniel shows that if I value eternal things, I will not fear losing earthly pleasure or enduring earthly pain.
Did you see how that all happened?
The two concepts link together across Hebrews 11:24-27 and Daniel 3:12 and blended, offering additional insight you might have never gotten had you looked at a single passage. Then the Word broke uncomfortably into life and brought conviction. As a result, insight – not just information – is gained and the Bible’s cohesive message is increasingly visualized by additional connections.
The last post in this series will deal with the Holy Spirit’s role in bringing heart-level change once the truth has taken hold in our minds.
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