Looking at a book with a magifying glass

Word Study Meditation


A word study can be part of  Bible study (using specialised books and resources) BUT by using basic resources (like a dictionary or thesaurus)  you can meditate on scriptures.

This will help you gain a deeper understanding, as well as improve your Bible memorisation.

In the Word Emphasis Meditation technique, individual words were looked at and thought about. Synonyms to words were explored. This takes that one step further.

  • Using a dictionary and/or thesaurus lookup meanings for the word you are thinking about or that appear in the scripture you are looking at.
  • Do they extend your understanding of the word or passage?
  • What would happen of a word meaning the opposite (an antonym) was put into part of the scripture?


I am the good shepherd.

  • What is a shepherd?
  • What does a good shepherd do?
  • What would a bad shepherd do?
  • Why doesn’t God act like a bad shepherd?

Jesus used negative pictures to contrast positive examples of God. In the example below the positive is in green and the negative in blue:  John 10:11-13  Feel free to print out bits of scripture and high light them – it really helps meditation.

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.


He also used multiple pictures to compare and contrast

1“Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” 6Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.

7Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. a They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.


Using a dictionary and the images given we can summarise:

Good shepherd
The Gate
Hired Hand
Sheep listen
Sheep know him
They hear his voice
Sheep follow
Sheep are fed
Sheep run away
Sheep are abandoned
Sheep are destroyed
Killed and robbed
Gives not takes
Protects not runs
Lays down his life, not a coward
Known, not a stranger
Cares, not indifferent like a hired hand
Goes ahead to prepare the way, doesn't leave them alone to be scattered
Values own life above the sheep lives
Cowardly, runs and lets wolves destroy instead of defending with his life
Steals - is not known
Sneaks in rather than comes boldly through the gate, Illegitimate not the proper owner
Kills, robs and destroys rather than giving life

Return to Meditation Techniques Overview

Meditate – Old Testament References


hâgâh, daw-gaw’; a primitive root (compare H1901); to murmur (in pleasure or anger); by implication, to ponder:—imagine, meditate, mourn, mutter, roar, × sore, speak, study, talk, utter.

Translated as:

  1. to moan, growl, utter, muse, mutter, meditate, devise, plot, speak
    1.  (Qal)
      1. to roar, growl, groan
      2. to utter, speak
      3. to meditate, devise, muse, imagine
    2. (Poal) to utter
    3. (Hiphil) to mutter

Uses of meditate in the OT.

Joshua 1:8

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.

Psalm 1:2

but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.

Psalm 39:3

my heart grew hot within me. While I meditated, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue:

Psalm 48:9

Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love.

Psalm 77:3

I remembered you, God, and I groaned; I meditated, and my spirit grew faint.

Psalm 77:6

I remembered my songs in the night. My heart meditated and my spirit asked:

Psalm 77:12

I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”

Psalm 119:15

I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.

Psalm 119:23

Though rulers sit together and slander me, your servant will meditate on your decrees.

Psalm 119:27

Cause me to understand the way of your precepts, that I may meditate on your wonderful deeds.

Psalm 119:48

I reach out for your commands, which I love, that I may meditate on your decrees.

Psalm 119:78

May the arrogant be put to shame for wronging me without cause; but I will meditate on your precepts.

Psalm 119:97

[ מ Mem ] Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.

Psalm 119:99

I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes.

Psalm 119:148

My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises.

Psalm 143:5

I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done.

Psalm 145:5

They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty— and I will meditate on your wonderful works.